As an event professional it is part of my job to anticipate and be ready for many of the challenges that could potentially happen throughout the course of the event. I have emergency preparedness plans that cover what to do in case of fire, bad weather, and even running out of Sun Chips for participant snacks. There are contingency plans in place, appropriate supplies sourced and alternate locations mapped out just in case. The one thing that I have yet to master is mind-reading. My resume does not list this talent; computer skills: check, team-player: check, mind-reader: nope.
Perhaps I should take it as a compliment that people think I have this super hero skill. Since I was little I did want to grow up and take over from Wonder Woman when she needed to retire. I wish that there was a super-human power at work instead it is just a lot of tedious spreadsheets and check lists that make me look so efficient and heroic.
Please do not assume that because of my calmness and what is referred to by a current client as my zen-making skill, that I know a client’s every desire before they realize they need it. Even if you have a planner working for you it is still important to read over order sheets and contracts. Just because a conversion has happened (at times I have to remind myself if I actually talked through the situation with the client or if it was just in my head) does not mean action has been taken. Make sure things are in writing and there is a paper trail. We recently had a client who had done multiple revisions to their order which is not a problem things change and we expect that to some degree. On one of the revisions they decided to remove the coffee percolators for the brunch. They had sourced them from a friend. We get there and deliver everything and she is asking where the coffee percolators are. Our poor driver didn’t know what to say. Nowhere on any packing sheet or confirmed order is there a listing for the item. Turns out she had forgotten to tell us that she did in fact need them and assumed we would have known. Always ask for a final confirmation before your event just to be sure there are no last minute surprises.
Changing your mind about your event is not a bad thing, we understand that change is part of the process. Maybe you no longer want to host a cocktail party but want to host a BBQ sit down dinner instead, or your small intimate gathering has grown to a large scale family affair. Whatever type of event you want to create is possible; but the key thing to remember is to give yourself time to make these changes and not forget to advise your suppliers to make sure you’re all on the same page.
With that being said, there are always moments that make me put my head on my desk and probably contribute to my grey hairs. We have an 8000 square foot warehouse now, but by no means do we own unlimited amounts of everything in every color and in every size. But when you tell us you are not serving a meal at your event, and with less than 30 hours to go before everything needs to be delivered you casually mention that things have changed and now it’s a dinner party for about a hundred guests and you need everything from dishware, tables, chairs and linens – you can only imagine our reaction (and that of the caterers no less). In the end, we managed to pull it all off without showing the clients our last minute scramble.
I never want to pressure clients in booking supplies for their event when they are not sure about what they want. I want them to be happy and not feel rushed with their decision making. I can only imagine the stress our clients feel when they see the clock ticking down and they don’t have all the pieces in place. I always say we will do our best to make it happen, but the key thing to remember is I’m only able to work more magic if I have a little extra time to play with. oh, and one more thing, I’m a planner not a mind-reader 😉