Archive for May 24th, 2010

Speaking With One Voice To Your Vendors – Preferably A Professional One

Monday, May 24th, 2010

When planning a major social event, committees are great! The work load is divided among multiple individuals, meaning that – in theory – more folks are spending more time paying more attention to all the myriad details that ensure a great party.

But two problems arise with alarming frequency when semi-autonomous worker bees are engaged in largely independent planning.

First, one group may adversely impact another without either being aware of it (until it’s too late.) For instance, a venue has only so many power outlets and total amperes of power. Often, by the time the band or deejay arrives to set up the music for the evening, every single outlet and all the available power have been used by the caterer and the decorators. Even if we all agree that dramatic lighting is wonderful – you can’t dance to it. So it is much easier on all concerned when – before any other steps are taken – a survey is made of how much power, space, and set-up time are needed for the various vendors. Priorities and schedules can then be laid out. (For instance, those decorating the stage can know that they need to leave 4 power outlets for the band and be finished dressing the stage 2 hours before the event so that the band can then come in to set up.)

Secondly, diverse department heads commonly issue conflicting instructions to their vendors. For example, to keep the flowers from wilting, one chairman may have the venue lower the thermostat to a meat locker chill. Then, when another chair arrives, she will immediately chastise the banquets captain for having the room so cold. With no single person in overall command, the venue has no choice but to follow each and every order, no matter how contradictory they may be.

What’s the solution for these problems? Well, one answer is to rely on an experienced party chairperson who will not only coordinate between the different committee heads, but will be the one – and only – person designated to be the “voice” of the committee to vendors. If and when such a person is not to be found (or when committee heads refuse to recognize their superiority), a party professional is the best idea of all. Not only have they “been there and done that” with regard to the many details of organizing a successful event, but they are also a neutral 3rd party, removed from the internal politics of the hosts.

Party professionals are sometimes perceived as an unnecessary or added expense to an event. In truth, their experience often saves moneys wasted through overlaps and duplication. And – for the headaches, heartaches, and hard feelings they prevent – they are a priceless investment. So if you are lacking a qualified amateur volunteer-leader, ask a few good friends for recommendations of pros they have worked well with, who stayed within their budgets, and with whom they would be glad to work again. Both your vendors and you will be glad you did.

Parties go smoothest with a veteran hand at the helm. If your organization doesn’t have one – rent one!