Speaking same language is important indeed. Metaphorically, when you come to another country and are able to speak and understand at least some phrases or words in a foreign language, it becomes easier to handle some practicalities or just communicate your needs. Speaking generally, it opens up more opportunities. Well, it might not be same as if you speak that language fluently, but it definitely gives you some advantage, doesn’t it? Same applies when it comes to understanding the processes and practices behind organising an event.
Why is it important for a client to learn more deeply about how the work of an event manager/event agency is structured? Why is it important for event/meetingprofs to make more efforts and educate their clients on what and how they do their magic? Well, there is a number of compelling reasons for that.
I am a client. Why would I bother learning anything if I paid for this job to be done by professionals?
Imagine you come to a supermarket to buy something for your dinner. You don’t really want to know the details of how a particular product has evolved until it appeared on the shelf. Not really in those precise details of its harvesting/transporting/chopping etc. But you may probably be keen to learn how many calories it contains, which area it was produced in, what preserving agents have been added.
Most of this kind of information is provided of the product’s label. You can understand it because you learnt the topic. You know what particular terms are about and what the numbers mean etc. You need this information to get the most out of the product to your own benefit, whatever that be – getting the right product for your diet or meeting your beliefs about ecology and sustainability. And because it matters, you know a little bit more about it even though you can’t claim to be a certified dietitian or an experienced farmer.
Meetings and events are undoubtedly one of the most powerful instruments for companies and brands nowadays. Organisations of various level use it for their benefit. They spend a lot of money on organising events. Events’ efficiency and maximum value is therefore crucial in every particular case as otherwise it becomes money down the drain. So, simply put, it matters, doesn’t it?
Well, if you are on the client side, that means you really want to know some more details, in order to
- choose the provider (an event/meeting professional or an agency) that is right for you
- communicate your needs effectively to that provider
- be able to evaluate the service provided
- be able to appreciate the level of creativity and complexity of the service
In other words, learning why your partners ask for that specific information and numbers, or knowing the solution they offer is a trendy thing to do, will contribute to the overall efficiency of your event.
Reverse of the coin
On the other hand, it matters to those companies providing event and meeting management services. However, at present I do not see any consistent approach to educating clients, in the MICE industry. We event/meetingprofs often complain about misunderstandings with clients which in a majority of cases stem exactly from lack of knowledge about event management practices and trends by the latter. We suffer when we spend huge amount of time explaining things again and again, trying to convince our client or get the right information/resources and in time, from them. We suffer when we have to agree on what our client insists on even though we know it is not an effective solution. We suffer when we have to justify the cost of our work, and so on – you name it.
I am sure there might have been some sporadic initiatives aimed to bring these two sides together. But it seems it is definitely not enough. I think it is quite clear we need a joint effort. We should be the first who drastically advocate and call for such learning.
Having the clients on the same page with us would mean we are able to
- spend less time explaining/convincing and rather use it for better designing the event
- collaborate better on making an event/meeting as productive as possible
- get more positive energy from working on a project together
The side effect
There is one side effect of engaging our clients in the world of meetings and events on a deeper level. It may not be immediately obvious though. But it’s as simple as that: the more informed they are, the more scrupulous eye they have for the service provided by the industry professionals. It means the quality of the service will only be improving. There will be no way to sweep the shortcomings under the rug: thank you to unaware client! This ‘side effect’ in fact suggests that educating clients can bring the quality of events and meetings one level up. This eventually would be win-win result for the whole industry, pure and simple.
To sum up, being informed – to some reasonable degree – about the processes and some important ends and outs in a particular field you are not a specialist in, is the right and indeed, necessary thing. Both, a client and event/meeting organisers are committed to get the maximum results and achieving their goals with the event. In order to do that, they need to speak the same language, at least at some level. And for this, some steps towards each other should be done. Clients should be ready to take a dip into events and meetings industry. The organisers should be eager to provide education to their clients whenever possible. A two-way street that would pay off with the most effective results and revenue for all.
This article originally appears in MICE&more magazine, #1 for Russian MICE specialists. To access December 2016 English-speaking edition, visit www.miceandmore.org