There is a rather popular saying that is doing the rounds at the moment, which goes along the lines of ‘teamwork makes the dream work’.

It’s super cheesy, granted, but it really is true, with the success of businesses across the country entirely reliant on their staff coming together to get done what needs to be done; and the events industry is no exception.

In fact, arguably, the phrase is even more relevant to us hard working sector folk because our team isn’t just the people we work with directly within our own organisations, but also those we lean on and rely upon in our wider supplier networks.

Collectively, we ARE the events.

From the caterer, to the sound system equipment company; the cleaners to the furniture hire suppliers; the butchers, the bakers and the candlestick makers (JOKE!); we are all one team when it comes to pulling off the seemingly seamless showstopper of a ‘happening’ on behalf of the ‘ring leader’.

But with so many moving parts playing a role in that success, all it takes is for one person to show up with a bad (or worse, unreliable) attitude and that’s it. The shimmer and shine that makes the dream team divine is gone, and everything starts to resemble a scene out of Christmas with the Kranks.

No doubt we have all been there at one time or another in our careers. I know I have! And whilst I might be exaggerating things just a smidge with reference to doomsday, it can certainly leave you with a sour taste in your mouth if your ‘partners’ are not holding up their end of the bargain.

But how can we guard against it? That’s the tough part.

Having been burnt on a couple of occasions on this front, some years ago I devised a little list which I like to whip out at the start of any new relationship. And whilst cost inevitably features as a deciding factor – alongside the usual such as experience, quality and capacity – so does customer service, and commitment.

Now, I am not a total imbecile, event industry comrades. I know full well that people will say what they think I want to hear and if the question is ‘are you good at customer service’, the answer sure as heck ain’t likely to be ‘no’.

However, in my many (many) years of experience, the reaction people give to being asked whether they are committed to working together to pull things off and to delivering excellent customer service to me as a partner, and the end client, is surprisingly telling; regardless of what words come out of their mouths.

It is almost instantly evident from their body language, for starters. Those who embrace the idea of being part of a well-oiled machine tend to respond to the question in an excited and animated way.

In many cases they quickly fire off examples of occasions when they have gone above and beyond to pull things off, whereas those less enamoured have a tendency to cross arms or avoid eye contact, or even try to joke around the topic.

Once I have the initial measure of someone from how they react the general flow of conversation that ensues tends to cement things.

To speak of my own experience, if someone approaches me about the furniture for hire they need for their next event I literally can’t stop asking questions. Which venue? Do you have a theme? When is it happening? Are there any outdoor spaces? Is the entertainment booked?

It’s not (just) because I am nosy, but because I start to visualise what would work almost instantly, and because I genuinely want to work with all the other suppliers to ensure we collectively get it just right!

Examples of past work is important, of course, and there is little more reassuring than a personal recommendation from someone you have worked with previously and who you trust; but in my opinion, relying on your own gut instinct to build your own dream team network of suppliers is the way forward.

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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