Under Promise, Over Deliver

Students, alumni, and clients will all recognize the title of this article.  The phrase,

Under Promise, Over Deliver,

is a thread that runs through every course, training and coaching session, and  . . . well, if I have my way, I’d add it to everyone’s Kool-Aid.  Or, perhaps, it should be on everyone’s office wall – billboard size?old_billboard_on_brick_wall_17793

This came to mind as I read a recent post from Social Tables, written by Fabrice Orlando: The 4 Questions Event Planners Need to Ask Potential Clients. This is an important topic and I applaud Social Tables for addressing it. Fabrice asks great questions, and yet I found myself wanting to dig deeper with each one.  Perhaps that’s because I’m used to digging deeper with students in the DCTC Hospitality and Event Management Program.  We do so to help students compete in the marketplace AND create lasting relationships with their employers and clients.

So in the name of Under Promise, Over Deliver, let’s dig a little deeper on the four questions:

  1. What is the overall goal of your event? OK, that’s a great opener for this conversation, but consider at least three of the levels on the ROI pyramid.  (I’m referring to objectives that segment into real measurements.)  Often, the destination of “overall goal” is ambiguous, so getting to the meat of things with objectives is important to success. There exists a great deal of real-life research and data on this topic, but none (my opinion) is better-presented than a white paper published by MPI, Business Value of Meetings.

         “To successfully calculate the business value of your meeting, you
    have to understand its goals and objectives, which are often undefined—until you challenge your stakeholders to explain them.”

         “Without clearly defined and expressed objectives, there is no standard against which to determine the value of a meeting’s performance. While most
    organizational cultures rely on intuitive standards to assess their
    meetings, organizations that measure the actual business value of
    their meetings always adopt objectives, documented and measurable standards to understand the value of their events.”

    2. What is your communication style? I can’t add to the suggestions Fabrice has included in this segment of her article. I would love to include reference to measurements such as Strengths(R) and temperament, however, I’m aware that without comprehensive knowledge of these scales, one would need to ask their prospective client to take an assessment before proceeding.  I agree that would be a buzzkill and now I’m sounding like one of those boring academicians. 🙂

    3. How would you define my role?  Perfect question and I love the detail Orlando included in this segment of the article. I would add:  How will you measure the success of my performance?

    4. Where do you buy your coffee?  Here, Fabrice Orlando refers to nurturing experiences by gifting meaningful items to the customer which she aptly refers to as, “. . . ditching the cheesy swag in exchange for more personal and meaningful gifts.” I suggest that a handwritten appreciation note, as well as endorsement on social media, could be added to the list of “memorable items.” I appreciate that a hand-written note is “old-school,” however, I don’t know anyone (regardless of generation) that doesn’t secretly stash those notes in a box for safekeeping.