I recently produced an event at a lovely venue in Toronto. It was a business milestone celebration for a respected Canadian company. Feedback post event was wonderful – guests were delighted, client was thrilled – everyone was happy – a success by any measure. That, of course, made me happy too. Naturally I was very grateful for the business and sent off hand-written thank you notes to the client and their staff.
As always I was extremely grateful for the small village of suppliers who’s services I had engaged to pull it off. Quick to recognize their contribution I sent thank you’s, passing along the positive feedback but also thanking them personally for their contribution. After all, we event folks are really just like orchestra leaders. We engage a group of professionals to create something fabulous. The conductor wouldn’t be much without the dozens of musicians, each of them virtuosos in their own right just as we wouldn’t be much without the multitude of professionals we call on to bring their particular expertise to the occasion.
It is for this reason that I do my best to be diligent around communicating my appreciation. I’m always very grateful for all the experts I rely on and for the client who has entrusted me with their work. Just like the conductor, taking a bow is nice, but I am equally quick to have everyone else stand and take theirs as well. We may have pulled it all together but without the other individual contributions the overall production isn’t a success.
Which brings me back to the event I first mentioned and which started this thought. It wasn’t until sometime later that it occurred to me that I not received follow up or acknowledgement of any kind from one of the largest suppliers to whom I had given business. They didn’t even have to bid for it in this case. They were my supplier of choice for several reasons and I brought the business to them. My contact was only on site briefly during the event so didn’t see the outcome. I received no inquiry as to the success, no “hope it went well”, no thank you. Nothing. While I had sent them a thank you for helping to make the evening a success, passed along some positive guest feedback and had taken the time to particularly acknowledge key staff, they had not thanked me for my business.
What made this even more poignant (and when I actually thought of it) was that the President of the company for whom I had produced the event took the time to send me a personal thank you. This gentleman oversees a national company with offices in multiple cities and hundreds of staff. He travels extensively and juggles a grueling schedule. He had thanked me multiple times during the event which was lovely. And yet still he took the time to write. Behavior that correlates to his success?
I was quite surprised to receive his note and very pleased as I think anyone would be. And I think that’s when it struck me. Is it really so uncommon to receive a note of thanks these days? And why was I so amazed to have received it from the head of the company? Is being busy really a free pass from basic good business etiquette? Are we too quick to make excuses for others…and for ourselves?
While it may come more naturally to thank our clients, the event business is one where we are all reliant on many others to be successful. And we shouldn’t overlook those that contribute to our success. Yes our suppliers are paid and it’s a business transaction, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be appreciative of hard work done on our behalf. We know better than most what goes on behind the scenes to make it all happen. Long hours, juggling projects, staffing issues and more.
We should always be quick to acknowledge the services of those that have contributed to our success and of a job well done. And let’s face it…it’s pretty easy to do.
The very act of reaching out specifically to say thank you is what is important. Don’t underestimate the impact! However you choose to extend the “thank you”, keep it simple, refer to specifics especially if something really stood out and above all else be sincere! It will come through!
Not only is thanking someone a nice gesture but its just good business practice! Who will they remember? Could it lead to future business? References? Help one day when you are in a jam? And in this age of social networking think of how easy it is for comments and recommendations to circulate…favorable or otherwise.
For some folks, showing appreciation comes naturally. If it doesn’t for you, it’s something worth working at! Keep this in mind; you can be remembered for taking the time to thank someone…or remembered because you didn’t!
Have you ever unexpectedly received a thank you note for a job well done? Do you remember how it made you feel? Why not do the same for someone else!
Thanks for reading!
How do you extend your thanks?
Post by Margaret Johnston, eventswork.com
As a career event professional, Margaret brings valuable insight and knowledge to the recruitment, management and development of high-performance teams for the event industry. A strategic and inspiring leader, Margaret has held executive roles for several global event management companies and key roles in the start up and orchestration of many high profile and international events.
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