A seat at the ta­ble

Di­rec­tor of Con­fer­ence Fo­cus, Max Turpin is shar­ing his in­sights on a range of top­ics with a reg­u­lar col­umn in BEN. Top­ics in­clude new gen­er­a­tion events and mak­ing events ef­fec­tive and valu­able.

Business Events News - - News -

AS AN ex­ter­nal ser­vice provider, be­ing in­vited to a client’s in­ter­nal meet­ing to dis­cuss strate­gic, event-re­lated busi­ness means a great deal. It sig­nals that the client val­ues you – not just your ser­vice but also your knowl­edge and in­put. They view you not just as a ser­vice provider but as a con­sul­tant and ad­vi­sor. It in­di­cates trust and re­spect. It places you above the sta­tus of mere or­der taker. Get­ting that ‘seat at the ta­ble’ dur­ing ini­tial dis­cus­sions means they seek your in­put and want any sug­ges­tions and ad­vice from you to help them make sound, early de­ci­sions and set a wise course for suc­cess. Again, it means a great deal. But what does it mean if you’re not of­fered a seat at the ta­ble? And how can you claim one if it’s not of­fered?

It’s not un­usual to re­ceive a call or email from a client who starts by say­ing some­thing like this: “We had a meet­ing yes­ter­day and would like to or­gan­ise a (in­sert event type). Here are the de­tails….”. In essence, ev­ery­thing has been de­cided with­out you. At that point you sim­ply be­come an or­der taker. It in­fers you are lo­gis­tics and ser­vice provider only. More of­ten than not, the client does not ad­vise their ob­jec­tives for the event or how suc­cess will be mea­sured…. but you should ask. Of­ten you’ll find it nec­es­sary to ask ad­di­tional ques­tions to help you ser­vice their re­quest more ef­fi­ciently and ef­fec­tively. And some­times you might ques­tion (in­ter­nally, not openly) the pru­dence and in­tel­li­gence of some as­pects of the event. But off you go into ser­vice mode nonethe­less. By not hav­ing a seat at the ta­ble dur­ing their ini­tial meet­ing, many im­por­tant as­pects of the event that di­rectly af­fect its suc­cess are taken out of your hands en­tirely. Your in­put was not in­vited. If these de­ci­sions neg­a­tively im­pact the event, in turn, this could lead to neg­a­tive per­cep­tions about your com­pe­tency, es­pe­cially as you are the out­sourced pro­fes­sional. Un­fair but true.

De­pend­ing upon your con­fi­dence and re­la­tion­ship with the client (es­pe­cially your main con­tact), you may want to wait for a suit­able time to make a busi­ness case for why you should be in­vited to the ta­ble. Ask for a seat if it’s not of­fered and ex­plain the ben­e­fits of you be­ing there. Pro­vide an ex­am­ple if you have one. A seat at the ta­ble means you’ll of­fer loads of value from the out­set by help­ing them to de­fine their ob­jec­tives, pro­vide some strat­egy, of­fer sound ad­vice on desti­na­tion and venue de­ci­sions, lo­gis­tics man­age­ment, etc. Ul­ti­mately, you want to help and work with them from the start to op­ti­mise their event suc­cess. And, as you know, their suc­cess is also yours.

If you’d like to learn more about how to make your events fresh, in­no­va­tive and ef­fec­tive, please con­tact Max Turpin at Con­fer­ence Fo­cus on 02 9700 7740 or visit the web­site at con­fer­ence­fo­cus.com.au

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