Do take it personally

By El Kwang on 07/10/2016

Trawling through websites that publish customer feedback, the positive ones on customer service experience often associate with keywords like “personalised”, “intuition” and often the compliments are credited to the service person before the company providing the service.

In business events, we believe in curating experiences that engage the emotions of the attendees and essentially, those of the planners and service providers when they see their efforts acknowledged through the smiles of their customers.

The ability to engage emotions to take personal touches no training or standard operation procedure manual can teach.  It takes a planner’s personal effort and sensitivity to other people’s emotions to curate that one WOW moment - that one moment’s emotion that cannot be repeated or captured on video.  That is the beauty of live events created for people who love interacting with people.

However, there is a miscommunication between personal efforts and professionalism. How often have we been told “don’t take it personally” when our hard work is being criticised? Does “please be professional” mean keeping silence on things we do not feel is right?

The reality has not shifted from the saying “actions speak louder than words”. It is through our actions that often create that personal branding, identity and unique selling point. It is then through that personal branding that attracts the best employment and for business owners, job opportunities.

If the trend is for planners to have a better meeting and incentive design, end users would have to pay for that privilege of tapping into their talent.  To deepen the engagement, meeting and incentive designers must be allowed to have a voice, take things personally and be trusted that they do not sway from the professionalism that earned them their reputation. If the client is really ready for change that is beyond lip service, let the planners’ actions do the talking. Only then, the business events industry will further professionalise and gain additional respect from the non-industry audience.

I recently spoke to a couple of event planners in Asia regarding the competitiveness in the current marketplace.  I was appalled by an incident they shared with me. After all the resources invested into an incentive programme pitch, an event agency was given the opportunity to present to the end user's organising committee.  As the agency entered the boardroom, they were asked to sit amongst their direct competitors. Besides being asked to share their ideas, the potential client (end user) asked all these agencies to bid and match the client's budget in front of each other.

What would you have done?  

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