There is that most famous of sayings, “The Wolff in sheep’s clothing”……I happen to know a Wolff, although she isn’t overly fluffy, but that is a whole other story…
For now, I refer more to the way in which we find ourselves in situations that require us to dress up, or to be something we are not comfortable being, and even worse on occasion – when working with people who profess to be one thing, and then turn out to be something completely different.
Clients trust us with a great deal. Of course, there is the monetary aspect of an event – but they also look to us to guide them as to what will work best for so many other elements, and make sure that above all else (and whilst the venue too will look good as a result) they and their guests can experience a one-off occasion that will stay at the forefront of guest thought long after the event itself is over.
But where do you find the balance, to avoid the pitfall of promising something that you don’t know for sure that you can make good on (whether it is because the client is pushing you or otherwise), how can you be certain that you have done all you can, what do you do if you are placed in a difficult situation that calls in to question a key element of the responsibilities that you have, and when it comes to needing to own up to something, do you do so with your head held high or just try to pass the blame off to someone else?
No question, there will be times when things don’t go 100% according to plan and some unforeseen ingredient pops up that then requires some explaining. When this happens my only advice is to be open and honest, and to not make excuses where none will make a difference. Rarely do I answer a lengthy email from a client with the kind of response that could possibly be viewed as tit for tat – preferring to meet face to face and really take the time to listen to what they have to say, with the opportunity to really learn about what we can do in order to better our service and product.
You are your own worst enemy if you make promises you can’t keep. The damage that will, at some point be caused – whether you have said 250 guests will fit when clearly they won’t, or promised a type of food service that is only possible if pigs really could fly…..sales teams may haven been notorious in the past for promising what event management then need to make happen – but not so now, in a market where these kind of bridges can never be fixed if broken…..as for compromising on a key responsibility – you tell me, is it really worth taking that risk?
As for the Wolff…..I have learnt over time that every individual needs to be managed individually. There is no point in thinking that every event is the same as there is always something to consider, and there is little point making an assumption about the type of people we work with, better to deal with each situation as and when it arises. It may sound somewhat of a kop out, or obvious – but that is just the way it is, and maybe the biggest lesson we can learn is to recognize this from the outset.