Most of us have learned that working in the event industry is more than just having a strong skillset, it’s also about the quality of the professional foundation on which we stand. Talent is just one aspect of running a successful business, and today, I would like to continue our discussion about valuable and respectful communication with clients and colleagues.
Here are a few keys to conversational success in relation to dealing with not-so-great news.
Plan Out Your Meeting/Day/Week: Anyone who has ever walked into a meeting unprepared knows that procrastination and “winging it” is usually a one-way ticket to a stressful situation, not only for you but for those working with (and listening to) you. Even brainstorming sessions require some forethought, so do your best to map out some kind of agenda and share it with other involved parties. Doing so shows that you value their time and care enough to be prepared. If you don’t have time to do this, let other members of the team know that you’re swamped so that there are no misconceptions.
Inform Yourself: I have found that indecisiveness tends to stem from a lack of knowledge. When I find myself unable to come to a conclusion (or faced with someone who is dealing with indecision) I ask for more information and do more research. This never fails to clear up any confusion.
Know The Difference Between Assertive and Aggressive: There are some people who feel as though volume or snark equates to power. In reality, this kind of behavior only alienates those around us, stirring up resentment. Since the event industry is such a dynamic environment, one can quickly see how this kind of behavior will work against us in the long run. Flustered or insecure feelings can stir up a sense of frantic urgency to simply have a response to something right now, but it’s not always the right one. If you’re feeling anxious, it might be easier to take a deep breath and excuse yourself instead of saying something you have not thought through and risking someone feeling hurt, dismissed or attacked.
Speak-Up (Not Out): Some people fear speaking up because they worry about being judged, dismissed or even some kind of retaliation but then speak out, complaining about the very problems they could help correct with the right approach. If you’re not comfortable sharing your thoughts, try writing them down and editing through them first. A good rule of thumb? Always ask yourself how what you are sharing will add value.
Timing Really Is Everything: We live in a world that likes answers, right now, in real time, but people are not search engines and with so many of us working on different projects, it is essential to address serious concerns and conversations at a time when both parties can give their full and complete attention to the matter at hand. Equally important is having the ability to engage a discussion in a private and safe environment since we never know what might embarass someone.