Event Planning: A Matter of Decisions and Respect

I recently came across a song by The Kinks that I had never heard. It's called A Matter of Decisions and it contains the line:

"I'd be home free if I could make up my mind."

It reminded me of a frustrating scenario that meeting and event planners encounter far too often.

A prospective clients requests an urgent proposal. (The scenario "I'm just about to run into a meeting with my manager" is common and familiar.) If the event or meeting planning firm has the time, event planners rush around to pull together a quote. If the requirements are specific, hotels, resorts, event venues, caterers, and other suppliers have to be contacted and asked to provide quotes on an urgent basis.

The decision-making process drags on for weeks and even months. Sometimes, no one is ever informed if a decision was made. Follow-up phone calls go unanswered. Receipts from follow-up e-mails say"Unread: Deleted".

There are several things wrong with this scenario:

  • It uses up resources that could be used for clients who really do have a need.
  • It burns good will with suppliers at all levels.
  • It's a huge time waster.
  • It shows a lack of respect for the time of other professionals.

We can all take steps to reduce the number of times this scenario is played out.

  • S Send RFPs or call to request proposals only when there is a bonafide need.
  • T Take the time to pinpoint the decision maker's real timing and clarify requirements.
  • O Only say that a proposal is urgent when a decision is imminent.
  • P Politely inform everyone who provided a quote when a decision has been made.

It's simply a matter of respect.

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