The one that got away, don’t give up

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I was reminded recently about a post I wrote some time ago, that seemed a little relevant now – although for both good and not so good reasons. A post therefore, for anyone in the industry who has had an event fall away from their grasp and has come away from the experience feeling a little deflated. Don’t – you just never know…..

…….There you are, sitting in your chair, a little uncomfortable and trying desperately not to make an obvious glance at your watch. Its been two hours, and even by your own reckoning, at least one question has been asked more than three times – the answer of course having been the same on each occasion…..is the client testing you?, trying to see if you can squeeze thirty more people in to the room on the third time of asking?…..

it’s late, the sun was shining when there was still sunlight outside, and you try to remind yourself that closing this event will be worth it in the end, if not just the start of many more months of late nights – the mood board, the Powerpoint presentation, the afternoon tea and “WOW” site visits for visiting relatives…..all helping to secure a piece of business for the hotel, and a personal win for you having had indication of just who the competition is for the same event…..this is after all part of the excitement of being in events – that buzz you often hear about from those working in the industry….

Tick tock, tick tock….a week has passed, a couple of emails, phone call, “smiling” follow up and back and forth quotation…..and then, in one line

“Thank you for your help, but we have decided to hold the event in our back garden” / “out of London” / in the local business centre…..

Really?

I mean “REALLY!”???

You sit at your desk and question the “why” – the “what could I have done” and a sprinkling of “what if”…..none of which matters at this time, and there is no escaping the feeling that you’ve been a little fleeced of information and advice, now in the hands of someone else who will benefit accordingly. The fact is, you don’t win them all – but nothing sucks like thinking with hindsight, that it was never really there for the taking in the first place.

Has the above happened to you?, the story may seem a little far fetched to those not working in the events world (although the example resonates through all types of business), but the wider challenges are there in the current climate, and when so many venues and event managers are fighting for the same business. Time is spent really exploring how we can make an initial experience extraordinary for our clients and build a relationship in the short space of time that a “lunch hour” site visit allows.

Whilst it is hard to avoid taking things to heart, after all, there can be times when everything seems to fall in to place bar one major element of the event, there is little choice but to get back on the horse and keep riding. What is clear I feel, is that you never know the possible butterfly effect of your actions, and although this time around the event may not have panned out as you hoped it would, I have equally been in a number of situations where how the client was treated on that first meeting, has left them doing everything they can to come back on a future occasion to work with the hotel, often to the point that you find certain compromises are made where numbers or layout are concerned – the client already knowing that they will be treated with the 5* service your venue represents.

Sunny days may be few and far between “a’ Londres”, but there is no telling just how much influence we have had over a client through the effort we have put in  – even having not won the event – and next time around, we know that every effort will be made to impress all over again.

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There are shoes, and then there are SHOES

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I met a friend this week, who informed me that she has in her closet, over 120 pairs of shoes! Now, I am fully aware that there can never be enough shoes – or handbags – for those most discerning women for whom style means everything – but what about the boys? Well, I can report that I have 30 pairs – maybe, of shoes and sneakers, something for every occasion and piled in a way that ensures Sarah is constantly reminding me that I need to go through them and chuck those I don’t wear much anymore (unlikely given their sentimental value alone!).

Still, I do love shoes and what to do then when it comes to the most special day of the year and a pair of “going to be in them for hours” killer heels? I avoided this problem – yellow converse – comfy, and matched with a lovely deep blue 2 piece suit and vintage tie – I blended in well with both Sarah in her 1930’s dress and to our Afternoon Tea Chic themed day.

Some advice then, for those brides out there wondering what needs to be considered when shopping for the Cinderella fabled Glass Slippers;
  1. Pick shoes that will work well based on where you will be getting married and in part, the time of year. Think grass over cobbles, puddles, sand and distance.
  2. Don’t wait. Shoes follows dress and ensure that you take the time to bed the shoes in rather than wearing them for the first time on the day itself.
  3. Think heel height. Think walking. Think back up pair – matched and ballet pump for dancing. Think 6ft in heels and your 5.8 hubbie to be. Think “do they have to be this high?”. Think chic over trashy. Ensure you take your shoes with you to any bridal fittings.
  4. You want white?. Have a “Dulux moment” and remember there are different shades of white. In fact, why not go colourful – a splash of yellow, green or blue? And be careful of those extra special touches – bling is good, most of the time.
  5. Pedicure – do I really need to say anymore?
  6. Like most things – what works for you. louboutin, Choo or Blanik – M and S, Dune and ASOS. Your day, your shoe

Don’t Look back…..or to the side

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The past six months have been somewhat of a thrill ride for me – the “shut your eyes and jump” moment that is going it alone and the daily struggle of a different kind – to balance the where you are with the where you want to be.

One thing though has become clear – and maybe an important lesson for anyone, not just those who stand alone as planners.

Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing – and in a different way and as a famous man once said “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”

I know, it may be obvious to say but I hadn’t given it the right amount of thought until I really found it playing just a little too much on my mind.

No two people are the same – no two planners are the same. By that I mean that whilst we are all working in a creative environment, just how we work – how we deal with our clients and the relationships we build will all differ in any number of different ways. The fact is though, that for every second you give thought to what the other guy is doing, it is one less moment you are concentrating on what “you” could be doing.

I do my best to always give time to people that feel I am someone they want to talk to – you simply never know where it might lead now, or in the future. Twitter, Facebook – so dangerous for fooling you in to thinking that you are one step behind everyone else…..and yet – once you are at the top there is only one way to go and there is something for always having a goal in sight and striving to be the best you can be – rather than simply the best.

Impatient as I am, the last six months have brought me multiple opportunities, all of which I have done my best to seize with both hands. Concentrating on the here and now is good – but time has to be given to the what next – and it isn’t always easy to do that. Stick to the plan, don’t forget those that were there for you in the beginning, and always make time for people who are where you were.