When To Judge a Book By It’s Cover

We’ve all been there – you meet someone new and realize right away they’re an oversharer.  Within in 60 seconds of your introduction they are telling you about their recent divorce, issues with a coworker, or asking you to look at a cyst they think might need to be removed.  Or, maybe you’ve met a one-upper recently.  You know, the person who always has to have a better story than you do.  No matter what you know, he knows more about it, and Oprah was there.

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Right or wrong,

We are all inclined to make judgments when we meet someone new.  It’s just the way the world works.  In the event business, I regularly meet a lot of new people and I have to size them up pretty quickly.  I need to figure out if they going to help me or slow me down.  One of my most useful barometers….can they roll a banquet table?  Now, if you don’t live in a world of setting up and tearing down ballrooms and exhibit halls, this won’t be a useful tool for you.  For me, however, it tells me everything I need to know.  If you can flip a 70-inch round banquet table on its side, kick the legs in, and efficiently stack in on a cart in one fluid motion, without smashing your toes or having it collapse on you – well then, we are going to get along just fine. 

Last year I was at an event with a potential new employee.  She was a friend of a friend who had some management experience and came to shadow me for the day, which is a great way to efficiently assess someones skill level.  We had a quick flip of a room, so I told her to jump in and help clear.  She gingerly put a table on its side and started to roll it with the legs sticking out.  I stopped her and folded them in and she continued on her way.  At some point she lost it and the table dropped backward and crashed to the floor with a thud.   She certainly had a great skill set for events, but I couldn’t get past the idea that she had worked in the business for 5 years and had obviously never set a room.   

The moral of the story (and Oprah would agree)

Event work is hard work, if you’re doing it right.  You need to be willing to jump in and do anything and everything to ensure the success of your program.  Sometimes that means bussing and moving tables, emptying garbage cans, and stacking chairs.  Sure, you can get away without the heavy lifting, but why would you want to?  Helping people get their work done is the best way to get them on your team, which will also get them invested in your success.   So, roll up your sleeves and take off your heels.  You won’t regret it.

Grand Connection