If you’re reading this, you are most likely in the event industry and are blessed to have a job. You have worked hard to create lasting impressions for hundreds, if not thousands, of people each year, and your career is focused on making memories. You are a master at logistics and have right-brain thinking skills that work overtime to design events that surprise and delight time and again.
With all of that going for you, why, then, at a time in our history when unemployment is at an all-time high and so many people are clinging to the hope that next year will and must be better, do we find it acceptable to complain about our clients, get upset with their decisions and nit-pick the little things that ultimately do not affect the outcome of a well-planned meeting or event?
The answer is, unfortunately, alarmingly simple: we think we can, we think no one will hear us and we think no one will find out.
I am here to tell you that in 2012 we simply cannot and most likely they will. You cannot afford to ruin a relationship, break a connection and lose a client’s trust. It is all we have and leads right into my mantra: “All you have is your name.” When you tarnish that internally, eventually it creeps out externally and we all know what goes around comes around.
For many, 2011 was a year filled with hope and potential in the event-planning world. Clients started to come back with the mindset that experience matters and events need to motivate, intrigue and excite. Our confidence levels increased and we all walked with a little swagger in our step. Many of us rose to the challenge of doing what our clients wanted on smaller budgets while focusing on the details that would leave the greatest memories with their guests.
Truly talented event planners scaled back a bit on décor (while still providing solid business to their creative partners) and created more entertainment-based events that engaged the attendees and left them with memories that kept them talking. Those are the memories that can get you hired again and again. Those are the memories that pay you back more than any print ad, radio commercial or direct-mail piece you may send. The memories matter.
In 2011, we also connected with our clients differently. We listened to them on a level many have not tried before. We connected with them, not just as clients, but as people who have lives outside of their event: hobbies, favorite movies and favorite foods—all of the things that actually play a role in their event (if a social one) and make them who they are. We started to weave their true selves into the story of their event. We created a relationship with them and we developed a sense of trust.
Helping a client to trust you can go well beyond asking them, “trust me.” It means standing behind your word, having true conviction and maintaining your integrity in every decision you make on their behalf. As our world became even more interconnected through social media, the relationships and trust did, too.
Even if you put your client first, trust is a two-way street and they need to trust that you have their best interest at heart throughout every step of the process. You also need to trust that if you deliver a positive outcome for them they will tell others and you will reap the reward of a job well done by getting more business. Their confidence and trust in you sells that trust to their circles of influence.
We are truly blessed to have careers in an industry that is responsible for memories and experiences. It is not something I take for granted, and I am sure many of you don’t take it lightly either. With that responsibility, however, comes an even greater one: To honor your profession and represent it with pride; to look back on your accomplishments of the past year and appreciate the here and now; and to live in the moment and know how truly lucky you are to have clients coming to you, events to design and plan, and memories to make. We are blessed.
Looking back on 2011, try to find some of the highlights that will stick with you forever and forego the low points that didn’t matter anyway. It’s a lot more fun and the positive energy will create a great start to 2012.
About Amy Zaroff: As a former television producer and restaurateur, everything Amy Zaroff has done in her career has been focused on producing incredible experiences and making memories.
The team at Amy Zaroff Events + Design is in the business of creating life’s most memorable celebrations through a distinct process that captures your vision and brings your dreams to reality. Every event detail is handled with care and nothing is overlooked, from party etiquette to thank you notes, and everything in between.