December 21, 2012 – GNP Industries Staff and Client Christmas Party
“Eric, you are a class act every time! Thank you for everything that you do.” -Chad. Dec 21 Guest and 2011 Wedding Client.
WOW! Its 3am and I’ve just finished my work day, and my last event of 2012! But sleep will have to wait because I have a few learning lessons to record. While these lessons, are not “epiphanies” they certainly reinforce the new direction I’ve been following since the start of 2012. I’ve been working hard to polish my skills all around, learn continually, and be a better resource/problem solver for my clients.
The Back Story
The Operations Manager for GNP Industries, Teela, is a past client of mine. We have developed an excellent rapport since first meeting in winter 2011. Her husband Chad is such an awesome guy. On the outside he’s this tough mountain man looking character, but when around Teela he just melts into a giant soft teddy bear. Funny what can come from answering a Kijiji ad for “DJ Wanted” !
I had the pleasure of performing at their “Meadow Wedding”. Their wedding was one of the most memorable I’ve ever partaken in and will definitely need to share its details in a separate entry. Teela is the sort of client I love to work for. I wish I could clone her a hundred times over!
GNP Industries has grown significantly over the past 2 years, and management wanted to throw a party to recognize both employees and clients. 70 guests were anticipated. To make matters more exciting/complicated, she is due to deliver her first child 2-3 weeks from now! So having reliable event vendors was super important. If she suddenly went into labor, she didn’t want to worry about chastising a caterer or DJ for arriving late!
Based on her experience with me at her wedding, I was the only DJ/entertainer she was going to consider for the GNP Industries Christmas Party.
Planning Meeting & Site Walk Through
Teela and I met in October 2012. It was the easiest and most productive meeting I’ve ever done with a client! We ordered lunch, covered all the details, did a “virtual site walkthrough” using pictures of the venue I was paid the required retainer to hold the date, and parted ways after 30 minutes.
-Now hold that thought for a second. You may be asking yourself, “Why did Eric still hold a meeting, if he was being hired by an existing client?”. The answer is that no 2 events are ever identical. They may be similar, but presuming they are identical will stab you in the back. You will miss the small details. “Hey Joe, where’s the ice that I asked you to pickup to chill the beer….?”
After being involved in the event industry for close to a decade, trust me, meetings are a must. I could write a novel of all the event disasters, that could have been avoided from meeting. Day of surprises are not fun, and I’m sure you feel the same. So when working with event vendors, put the extra time in and meet them. It will make your own experience so much better.
Flash forward again. At our meeting we established the following key points:
- The party was intended to reward both employees and clients of GNP Industries. Teela expressed some concerns about mixing staff and clients at the same party. Normally staff and client parties are held separately. But Teela trusted my expertise to find a balance.
- There was no set plan. If Teela has one failing, its that she’s doesn’t do detailed planning. My adaptability would be needed for the “go with the flow” plan.
- Guests were not expected to dance. Why hire a DJ at all then? Teela wanted to use music to create a social environment, and still allow for guests to have say in the music selection.
- My talents as multi-talented entertainer were required to break the ice. Guests needed to be “warmed up” to get into a party mood. “Just a DJ” would not do. We agreed that I would perform strolling magic, and a few other impromptu activities to fill in time along the way.
- The entire management team has stage fright. We planned to have me deliver the Christmas Appreciation speech during desert to guests, in place of a GNP manager.
- Despite minimal dancing, every guest experienced at least 1 “fun moment”.
- Guests well used the Open Bar, and were lively in socializing at tables or singing along to the music.
- The strolling magic was a hit (particularly my acclaimed fork bending) and I worked in some spontaneous stand up comedy when visiting with guests.
- To call tables for the buffet, we did a spontaneous “Name That Tune-Christmas Edition” game. I gave away a bunch of Santa hats, and reindeer antlers for audience participation.
- On behalf of the company’s owner, I delivered a stellar and meaningful 3 minute Appreciation Speech, that was strongly applauded. I never rehearsed and never received a script from the client.
- By the end of the night, the majority of guests knew me by name. I always take this as a sign that my performance has been successful and well received. Instead of “Hey Mr. DJ can you play XYZ song for me“, guests would say, “Hey Eric, can you play Its Our Kind of Love for me and my wife. Its our wedding song. Thanks Eric. You’re doing an awesome job.”
- I forgot to play Gangnam Style and nobody complained!
- The Caterer arrived 15 minutes AFTER the scheduled dinner serve time!
- Dinner was served 70 minutes late.
- Desert was served an additional 20 minutes late.
- The Caterer left towards the end of the night, and never returned to clean up his mess!
- The Cleaning lady showed up 2 hours late at the end of the night!
Regardless of the 70 minute delay, guests thoroughly enjoyed themselves because they were continuously entertained. Most didn’t even notice the delay.Share