Archive for October 29th, 2008

Logical (But Erroneous) Assumptions

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

I wrote recently about the need to be very specific when requesting special songs of your band or deejay (for the simple reason that there are multiple – and very different – tunes with the same titles.) It’s always a mistake to assume that the version of “The Best Of Times,” “Baby I Love You,” or even “I Saw The Light” which you have in mind is automatically the same one which will come to your music provider’s mind.

Another erroneous assumption involves your venue. Our town has 3 – count ‘em, three – Westin Hotels, within 8 miles, on the same road! Telling someone to meet you at the “Westin on LBJ” practically guarantees a missed connection. Plus, like a lot of major metropolitan areas, we have 2 airports – each of which has a nearby flight museum. My band recently played for a corporate party at one of them. But – as I was going over last-minute details with my musicians – I discovered that one of them had assumed we were at the other one from where we’d really been hired. That could have been bad.

Coincidentally, at one of those 3 Westins on LBJ, we were playing for a Hollywood-themed party. Outside our ballroom, reasonable facsimiles of both Elvis and Marilyn Monroe were posing for photos with the guests. All was fine, until the hostess told “Elvis” that she was ready for him to put on his show with our band. Fortunately for her, he was a Presley sound-alike (as well as look-alike), and we were of the right vintage to know the Elvis repertoire. Marilyn’s show-time, when it came, was dicier. I couldn’t remember any Monroe song except “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend,” and I was unsure where the middle part of that went. Marilyn was ready. At the right time, she simply called up “Happy Birthday in C.” That one we knew.

A disaster was averted, thanks to a pair of outstanding, talented, and flexible performers. But the client was luckier than she knew. She had assumed that hiring Elvis and Marilyn for the evening included musical performances. She was wrong. And the look-alikes would have had every right to turn her down flat. That would have led to one hostess with major egg-on-face.

You can easily avoid that same situation. How? Just don’t assume that your vendors are mind readers – spell out the Who, What, When, and Where of your event. That way, when unexpected stuff still happens, you can take heart that it won’t be boo-boos of the preventable kind.