The success of any event or meeting is dependent on every member of your team. It’s crucial that everyone, from the event planner to the front line staff, all be on the same page. The knowledge that everyone has a single goal, to ensure the success of the event, will go a long way.
We’ve spoken about the importance of front line staff before. You can plan the most amazing event, creative, fun and informative. But if your front line staff are bored, lackadaisical and just don’t give a damn, it doesn’t matter how much planning has gone into it. Generally, your on site staff spend the most time with your attendees. So they can truly make, or break, your event.
Event Planning Jobs – Going Back to the Beginning
I know a head chef at a very trendy, chi chi restaurant. He once told me that every couple of months he pulls a few shifts as sous chef at a friend’s restaurant. He said that this reminds him of where he came from and helps him keep his perspective. And recently I had the opportunity to do something similar.
A friend was planning a very high end meeting in her own city (not mine). Although fairly small (about 150 attendees) no cost was being spared and she refused to have anyone on her team that she didn’t know personally. The contract was just too sensitive (and far too lucrative) to take any chances. When she asked if I would be willing to work the event as on site staff, I jumped at the chance. I knew the opportunity would give me the chance to see, and work with, an old and dear friend. But I was also looking forward to reminding myself, as per my chef friend, of where I started in the business.
Event Planning Jobs – Back in Black (Pants and White Shirt)
It was a really interesting week. I reminded myself on the flight down that I was there to do a job, but not my normal job. And while I would go above and beyond to help ensure the program was a success, I would not step over the line. This was not my program.
During the week my duties were varied. I was involved in several different areas and on my feet, and on the run, from the early hours to the end of each very late night. I was part of a team that covered meet and greets, transportation, registration desks and more. I interacted pretty much all day with the attendees and got to know several of them very well.
I think I forgot what it was like to be “on” all day, every day. And in spite of extremely long days (nothing new there), it was imperative that we set the tone. Nothing is more infectious than a negative mood and we strove to ensure we were friendly and approachable while maintaining a professional manner.
Event Planning Jobs – Being Friendly…Without Being Too Friendly
Personally, I have always maintained a rule that staff should not be socializing with the attendees. It can cause confusion and, even on their own time, can reflect on both you and your client. It’s a tricky line to walk but I think that it complicates things if your staff is out partying with the attendees. It’s always best to keep work and play separate.
Well, I have a renewed respect for my staff who are able to walk that line without falling! This was a very fun group and incredibly social. To make things more difficult, that program itself was very little work and lots of play. The attendees wanted to keep trying to include the staff in the party like atmosphere. We kept the appropriate distance without insulting the attendees…not as easy it sounds!
Event Planning Jobs – Going Outside of the Comfort Zone
All in all I had a great, and exhausting, time. I really appreciated the opportunity to see my friend at work. She has a flair for the creative and always has something new and interesting up her sleeve. I learned a few things and look forward to implementing my own take on some of her ideas.
Although more tiring than I expected, I had a great time working. I loved not having to worry about every little detail, and just concentrating on the tasks at hand. But I was reminded of what a great job our on site staff do. They are expected to be “on” and present, constantly and consistently. They have to be friendly, informative, professional, approachable, organized and energetic. All without being perky. And not just for an hour or two, but for the duration of the entire program!
Don’t be afraid to step outside the box and do something a little but different. Whether it’s for one hour, one day or an entire program, going “front line” is a great way to remind yourself that there’s a lot more to your event than just the details.