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Drawing a line – Clients expecting the world

So, how do you manage the expectation on your time, as one client and event, to which you have dedicated countless hours – suddenly turns around and accuses you of “not caring”?!

The facts are simple. In the events world we work with a lot of people, all of whom at one time or another will need their ego’s massaged. It doesn’t matter who they are, and certainly not who they work for, at one point in the lead up to, or on the night of, their event – you are going to need to pull back in some way, as you come up against their altar “Dr Hyde” ego – and you find yourself wanting to punch a hole in the wall where you imagine their face to be.

Sometimes I think that people I represent, do not understand that their event is not the only thing I have to work on within any given day, week, month or year.

In some obvious ways I see things from the client point of view. The best example of course is a wedding. In everyone’s ideal world, these things only come round once. They are thought of by the bride as her “Fairy Princess” moment, and by mother of the bride as their “surpassing the Jones” moment – and of course, both of these take a large amount of time to orchestrate. What has to be managed however, and this would not change if you are a stand alone event organiser or an event manager within a venue – is client expectation when it comes to how much time you dedicate to them and them alone.

As an event manager, you know that everything takes more time than you initially thought it might. Quotes take time, sourcing creative solutions takes time, meetings and tastings take time, countless site visits take time – and those are only a couple of the obvious ones. Most event manager would not get away with charging a per hour rate, because most clients could not afford it. A crazy skewed sense of time – as, having worked countless hours on something (and don’t even get me started on pre or post contract) you then get told that you are not doing enough.

How then can you manage, as I have had to recently, clients who want continued hours of your time, to go over the same details, prior to even having signed a contract – as they call your dedication and that of the venue you represent in to question because you are unable to dedicate yet another afternoon to them?

How often in my posts do I speak of balance. Most recently, I pushed back. I know that I have given a large amount of my time to this event, and to be fair, I have little to show for it. I don’t believe that in doing so I call my dedication in to question, and if anything, I am saying that in order to give you the time you need as a client, I have to manage my time as an event manager, and break things down in such a way that allows both you, and my other clients to benefit from the hours I can give.

You know as well as I do though, that more often than not, things are rosy only when someone needs something from you – and in the event that you are suddenly needing to chase for something you need, people tend to hold off returning a call or paying a deposit. The world of events is sometimes a little one sided, and it is part and parcel of the responsibility we face. I guess I am just saying that managed correctly, it is ok to stand your ground – just don’t expect to side step an angry email or two from Dr Hyde, or the need on occasion to move some things around in order to spend more time than you first thought you would have to revisiting the same timetable and seating plan over and over.

Next week I am going to write about a couple of additional points;

The balance of pre and post contract work, and how best to put that initial and final estimate of charges together. In the meantime, I would love to hear from, you and how you split your valuable time when the demands are so high

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