Caring for every one part of the event is a must for an event planner, even if it's not explicitly required.
🎈 Storytime - we are all going to die one day, and in the big scheme of things, this moment is just a blip, and we shouldn't stress too much about it.
At one of the private events, I was hired to bring along serving staff, manage it and set up the party from start to finish; in North London, I had the pleasure of meeting the pianist hired for the party.
He is one sweet person, sensitive, kind and very talented.
He was clearly nervous, fidgeting, sweating and not really comfortable in the surroundings, even if he laughed nervously at any sentence. No one talked to him much. Everyone was extremely busy setting the last-minute things up. So he went under the radar.
He wasn't part of my responsibilities, yet I was responsible for the success of the party. The house manager was a direct person, evident in her demands and requirements, but also frightening in her way of communicating her wishes. Everyone was feeling the tension, and my job was not to let the tension affect the staff in a negative way. If the staff is stressed, the service will suffer, and guests will feel it, too.
I was already the buffer between the tension and the staff, and everyone was well-trained to deal with it, so it was easier for me. And now I had to deal with the pianist's anxiety:
☕ I made him a coffee, though he probably didn't need more cortisol in his body, yet he requested that. So I obliged his wish.
🗣 I also had a chat with him, asking him about his passion for playing the piano and his story. I made sure he knew that if he needed anything, he should come to me directly.
👂 I listened to his worries, and while he was rambling on, he just said to me: you know, Nora, we are all going to die one day, and in the big scheme of things, this moment is just a blip, and we shouldn't stress too much about it. I nodded, and with that, he went to play magnificently for the evening.
Many of these soft skills I applied come not from event management courses, yet they are fundamental to the success of an event. My skills come from childhood trauma, being surrounded by anxious people and learning how to deal with them and my own fear of turbulence. I love my soft skills.
And I am sure I am not the only one who senses that sometimes we praise so much of our hard operational skills that we forget that the softer ones are equally important.
So here is to soft skills, and let's shine more light on them even more often.