You know what makes being on the hamster wheel of progress or a roller coaster ride from hell bearable? It’s the fact that you know there is an end in sight. The ride will end, you the hamster will be able to get off the wheel.
For instance, there is a particularly difficult and busy 5-7 days in every event planning cycle…which I both affectionately and not so affectionately refer to as the event hamster wheel phase. Most of you know exactly what I’m talking about. For those of you who do not, it’s a 3-5 day span less than a week out from move-in. Essentially, it’s the only window you have to correctly and precisely execute the plans and visions created by you and the team over the last 9-12 months of planning, changes and challenges are a plenty, and exhaustion is real (zero pressure sitch).
It’s been MONTHS since any of us have been on that hamster wheel, but you remember…you know what I’m talking about.
Signs FINALLY just went to print after 5 rounds of changes and unforgivable things said b/t team members (of which are immediately forgiven), and just then your sales guy walks over with the “don’t kill me but I just sold another sponsorship and I need them on all the signage” face. You look at him and think do I cut him with one of the 200 pages of BEO’s I’m in the middle of or do I call the signage vendor first? Of course, you call the vendor, forgo the cutting, and remind said sales guy he owes you all the while throwing in a veiled threat for good measure. Okay back to the BEO’s.
Ahh BEO’s…remember them? Ever think you’d miss them? Yea, no me either but I DO! GIVE ME ALL THE BEO’s… PLEASE and thank you! Now you’re halfway through and the conference producer slinks over with a cat that just ate the canary look on her face, and you KNOW it’s really bad when she has come bearing tasty treats. As it turns out she has had to add a panelist to the Thursday Track A and remove one from the Friday Track C, and oh is it possible to change rounds to classroom for Track B for all days because the moderator thinks it will facilitate a better discussion? Suuurre, no problem (which really it isn’t)… it’s not like I’ve gone through 100 pages of BEO’s meticulously which happen to be for Thursday and Friday… I’d love to go back and make those changes. While you’re annoyed you would much rather do it now than onsite, so back to page 1 you go.
Just then you get an email from your general contractor that they have every shipment on the list except for the show guides (which according to the tracking number were delivered yesterday) No show guides, no problem right? WRONG! You stand up for the first time in hours realizing you are starving, you have to pee, and you have to find the marketer. First things first…the marketer! You find him, only to discover the show guides were sent to the advance warehouse, which is NOT the address you specifically supplied for this exact item. Okay…fine…could be worse…we know where they are and there is time to go get them.
Great moving right along, but first the bathroom. Just as the door is in reach one of the editors, who you barely know, pops out in front of you. “Oh Genna I called the hotel to make a reservation, but the room block is sold out” they say with shock and horror on their face. While a snarky response along the lines of “oh so you ignored the 3 emails I sent out about booking your room and the final one about the room block about to sell out a month ago, which happens every year, but now you’re shocked because 5 days before the event you can’t get a room?” will give you the shot of life you need, its not worth it in the end. So you smile at them in your best customer service smile and say… “No worries I’ll take care of it, email me your dates asap.” While making a fast break for the bathroom before anyone else can catch you.
And on and on and on…for those few days it feels like you have actually planned and then re-planned the event 18 times. BUT THEN the BEO’s are signed and returned, the final F&B guarantees are locked in, the show floor is sold out, your decorator has everything loaded on the trucks, your last extra badges have been printed, everything has been delivered, and your binder is complete. Somehow you have emerged from the hamster ring victorious and ready to kick some a$$ onsite.
Damn…did that just get your heart pumping and adrenaline rushing like it did for me? I for one will gladly get back on the pre show hamster wheel of planning any day, any time. I do however very much plan to exit this hamster wheel of Covid, this ride of hell that is 2020 screaming hamster wheel for sale! I also plan to have a little something available for all you planners out there to make the ride on the hamster wheel a bit shorter...stay tuned!
Until we can meet again, or I write next week's blog post ;) .… much love to all!
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