My Potato is Too Big!

Funny Stories, Useful Information, and Lessons Learned in Event Planning

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APR 1 2015 Posted By Posted In Lessons learned

Keep an Extra Pen Handy, or at Least Have Black Curtains

APR 1 2015
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Posted In Lessons learned

At a recent event, one of our staff had the unfortunate incident of being stuck with a pen that no longer worked at a critical moment. Earlier there had been a frenzy when the rest of the team scavenged all available pens, thus the shortage. As this happened to be a gel pen, it was thought that wetting the tip of the pen might help the ink to flow again or would dislodge anything clogging the end. As no water was handy, this was done by placing the pen in the mouth. It was at this moment the pen decided to empty like a squid, leaving our poor staff member with a mouthful of black ink. This was not a opportune time to run to the washroom, and no tissues were to be had. Drastic measures had to be taken, short of swallowing the ink that is. We desperately looked around and luckily we noticed we had a black napkin laying on a table…black ink does not show on a black napkin. The problem was resolved quickly, discreetly, and the show went on. The napkin on the other hand was thrown in the garbage and added to our own bill.

The lesson to be learned here would primarily be to hoard more than one pen for yourself, or just use a pencil.

Notebook With Pen by Piotr Wojtkowski

 

APR 1 2015 Posted By Posted In Lessons learned

Emotional Intelligence Interviews of A Different Nature

APR 1 2015
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Posted In Lessons learned

Every once and a while you run into a situation that in itself is surprising but when you think of it, not wholly unexpected – bringing to mind the expression “hindsight is 20/20″. In our case, for several years we have managed a career fair at which we provide interview rooms, which more often than not stay empty as interviews are more conveniently conducted at the companies’ booths.

This year, however, the interview rooms were used in a new way entirely, courtesy of some of the many high school students that attend the event. Midway through the day, one of our volunteers stumbled upon a young amorous couple engaging in an “emotional intelligence interview” in one of the rooms. The unlucky volunteer had to politely ask the youths to untangle their tongues and take advantage of the fair in a more productive way.  Unfortunately, this also meant that for the remainder of the day this poor volunteer was assigned with make-out room prevention duty; not exactly something you’d want to include on a résumé.

Fortunately for all future volunteers (and unfortunately for high school students feeling romantic) it was decided that from now on it would be best to forgo the interview rooms and use the space in a different way.

This episode reminds us that after an event you can usually look back and consider how the demographic has influenced certain aspects of your event.  After the fact it all seems so clear why something happened the way it did.  Therefore, identifying in advance the demographic that will be attending will help you better anticipate if and when space will be used as intended (such as in this case), the type and amount of food to order, and so on.

With a little “outside the box thinking”, you too may just be able to anticipate students turning secluded spaces into make-out rooms at your next event.

APR 1 2015 Posted By Posted In HumourLessons learned

Hey it’s my Girlfriend!

APR 1 2015
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Posted In Humour, Lessons learned

One of our staff was managing an out-of-town event where the attendees were bused in and provided with some “free” time for shopping or whatever else they pleased after the event. In this instance, the “whatever else they pleased” led to an interesting afternoon.

About an hour after dropping everyone off, our staff member was politely informed by one of the bus drivers that some of the attendees had taken off to a local establishment to enjoy a few refreshments. Knowing that these individuals might be more “effervescent”, she quickly decided it was going to be best to keep one bus exclusively for people who had really enjoyed the day.

Later that afternoon, a particularly cheerful group of attendees boarded their bus to head home. Once everyone was ready to depart, our staff member was checking on the driver of the bus. She had stepped up the bus stairs and was greeted by a man who had managed to get a bloody nose. He joyfully exclaimed “hey, it’s my girlfriend!” and proceeded to follow her off the bus and chase her down for a hug. In true event manager form, she maintained her composure and helped him back onto the bus, wished them all well, and waved as they drove away.

At any event, there will be guests who really let loose. Most times they are happy and friendly and just looking to have an enjoyable time. As a planner, you of course want guests to have fun but also to arrive home safely. And so, it is always best to plan for alternative modes of transportation, and to anticipate a certain amount of exuberant “compliments” as well.