Ask an Expert Spring 2024

My father was my business mentor. He had many powerful sayings he would share with me at just the right time in my event career. One adage that I will always remember is “If you want to be a winner, you can’t be a quitter”. Not winning doesn’t signify failure. Instead, it presents an opportunity for growth. Learning from my mistakes and drawing inspiration from the situation has allowed me to continue to succeed.

Now let’s get down to some event questions:

Q: I am working with a new client and am planning their first event. How can I impress them and “WOW” their guests?

A:  First of all listen, listen and listen some more. What will impress a new client more than anything is that you incorporate their vision to a tee, while achieving their event goals and objectives. A guaranteed way to WOW guests is to have an unfolding agenda, where surprise entertainment, activities and food activations are revealed throughout the duration of the event.

Q:  When bidding on a recent RFP, I was told that I was not the successful candidate because I didn’t share my creative vision in detail. Do you think we have to give away our ideas to win business?

A:  A big NO. This has been going on for my whole career and it is so wrong! You should not have to work for free just to “potentially” win a piece of business. Design your proposals to include case studies, event examples, testimonials, accolades, etc. If you have a solid client roster and have won any awards in your career, this is proof of your capability and skills. I never recommend giving away your creative ideas for free – EVER!

Q:      How can creative themes enhance an event experience?

A: Effective theme experiences for your guests are the essence of an unforgettable event. Experiential events cultivate a distinctive ambience, stirring guests’ curiosity and encouraging them to immerse themselves in the event, making it more interactive and memorable. Before we plan the décor or draw the floor plan, we dig deep to define the guest experience at our events first.

Q: I have been at events where things are going wrong, and the Event Producer is visibly shaken. How do you handle it when something goes sideways at your events?

A:  I have event nightmares where all sorts of horrible things are happening. Thank goodness they are just nightmares! The first thing is that you should never let it known if something is falling apart at your event. If you are not good at crisis control, stay in the background and differ the front-facing management of the problem to your Event Supervisors. This is why having a Risk Management Procedures Manual is so important for each event.

I hope these event planning tips have been helpful for you. Remember, listening to your clients, being creative, and staying calm under pressure are all important skills to have in this industry. Until next time, happy planning!

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