What does working in the events industry have in common with being a Juror? More than you would think!

For the most part, those of us operating in the events industry aren’t typically associated with or mentioned in the same articles as Jurors, it’s fair to say. After all, what does coordinating catering and hiring entertainment have to do with stripy jumpsuits and ‘the dock’?

Very little, on the surface, granted. But look beyond the actual setting and you may be surprised by just how much synergy there is!

Here, we talk to Europa International’s Events and Marketing Manager, Helen Lowe, about her recent stint at the ‘Old Bailey’ (on the right side of the bars, we should add), and how she found Jury Duty to be surprisingly similar to finding new, trusted suppliers to work alongside as part of her day job.

"Towards the back end of last year I received a letter from the Ministry of Justice requesting I make an appearance at Court in the first two weeks of 2018," Helen said. "Now, just to clear up any confusion from the off, the letter was calling me up for Jury Duty (as opposed to any misdemeanour on my part), and as anyone who has had the pleasure of receiving such a letter will know… it’s not as exciting as it sounds!"

"For starters, I was summoned to attend cases at Manchester Crown Court as opposed to the much more infamous Central Criminal Court down in London. And whilst I’m not going to bore anyone with the specifics of the cases I ‘heard’, it certainly didn’t involve Miss Scarlet in the library with a candlestick."

At this point, you are probably still wondering how this relates in any way, shape or form to what Helen does when she’s not beholden to her civic duty; which seems fair enough. After all, given that she works for a London-based family run firm that delivers and installs furniture packages to all sorts of venues spanning the UK and further afield, the connection doesn’t immediately jump out at you.

Here she explains. "As a Juror, you’ve got a job to do, plain and simple. Whilst the specifics of the case may vary significantly, the role you play is pretty standard. For the most part that means listening to a certain amount of evidence, hearing from a couple of key witnesses, and determining – with the support of your fellow panel - whether the defendant is innocent or guilty."
"Of course, if you’re anything like me you’ll take your duty to upholding the standards of the English Judicial system very seriously, and so I turned up on the day dressed suitably smartly with a notebook and pen in hand."

"But as I sat there - having practiced my ‘interested and intellectual’ face in the mirror the night before - it hit me…. In just a matter of hours, possibly less, I have to make a judgement about a person, or their actions, that will affect them for the rest of their lives."

"I mean, of course I had always understood what being a Juror was, but until you are put in that position the enormity of the situation is hard to put into context; and I suddenly found myself going into work mode - implementing all of the skills I have amassed over the years that aid me when making a decision about someone by taking on board a fair amount of information in a short space of time."

"Having accepted relatively early on in my career that I was a bit of a waffler (a shock to anyone who knows me, I’m sure), I knew it was going to be important to have a fail-safe set of questions to ask my potential industry comrades and a little checklist of qualities that are important to me."

"And as it turns out, the questions I was interested to know the answers to in Court were rather similar - albeit with some pretty major adjustments – to those I have at event meetings! For example:
• Does the supplier have previous – experience that is, as opposed to misdemeanours?

• Does the supplier have a good reputation – at delivering their product or service, as opposed to breaking into houses, obviously.

• Are they passionate about what they do and the people they work with – less appealing in a courtroom setting, of course, if what they’re passionate about is ripping people off as opposed to customer service… but you get the gist!

• Do they know the difference between Curved Modular Seating and Linking Seminar Chairs – although possibly that’s quite a specific Europa International question, that one!

"Ultimately, people buy people, and working with suppliers you like, trust and who can relate their product to your business is important. Similarly, understanding how much experience they have doing the do, and how long they have been established will also provide real peace of mind. "And remember – much like consulting with fellow jurors before signing on the dotted line of a verdict, you don’t have to make the decision alone when it comes to appointing a new supplier. Once you’re in possession of all the facts ask around for other people’s opinions. Endorsements, or otherwise, can be very insightful indeed."

The views and opinions expressed in these blogs are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ESSA, its members, board or staff. Our members represent a broad range of views within the event industry, and we have provided this section of the website for their opinions to be openly heard and discussed.

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