Monday, December 28, 2009

Refocus on Decency for 2010

Update: January 25, 2010 - I do want to mention a brilliant article regarding this post which appeared in yesterday's New York Times giving a very succinct case-in-point. Thank you Neal Hirschfeld!

I don’t think I’m the only one who is very ready to say goodbye to 2009 and anticipate 2010. Not to say there have not been success and new initiatives this year – but it has been difficult for many, including the event industry and the event marketing profession.

Given the challenges of the past 12 months and its impact on our interactions, in the coming year there is one thing we should all incorporate – both professionally and personally: DECENCY.

Not to imply that the difficulties of the recession have turned us into indecent people. Far from that, I think the impact of the economy has grown our collective stress level and flipped the Self-Survival Switch on high, causing us to lose focus on the professional decency and connectivity which has served the event marketing community so well over time. And it’s time to get it back.


• Take the call/answer the message. Yes, there are deadlines, meetings and a “Things to Do” list a mile long. And no, you don’t want to work endless hours. But picking up the phone – even to say ‘thanks but no thanks’ - is the professional alternative to not taking a call, and more in the vein of how we should be conducting ourselves. Also, realize this: by not responding to a request for marketing partnership / barter, ignoring a call from a vendor or somebody in transition seeking your help in looking to network, you could well be incurring opportunity cost. Now is as good a time as any to be open to innovation, talk to new people, try a new initiative and break away from the “we don’t do that” mentality.
• Be respectful of others’ bandwidths – on the flipside of the above, be sensitive to others' constraints and schedules. While being as quirky as to adhere to Larry David and his Stop and Chat rules is not a necessity, but be cognizant of others’ time in the work environment. Anybody who knows me knows I have an open door policy: if they needed to bounce an idea off me, discuss an issue, etc; as I’m not the best at saying “come back later.” That's my issue. But making a mental note to ask “do you have a minute/five minutes” – and stick to it – when grabbing a colleague’s ear is the an invaluable tactic.
• Be cognizant of the impact of words and actions – and in turn, how they can impact us. The additional workload (or, ironically, the lack of work) can put anybody on edge. Take a deep breath and think before replying, hitting the ‘send’ or the ‘publish’ button. One bad moment can mar a professional reputation you’ve spent a lot of time and effort to establish!

Again, I get it: time is tight. It’s been a tough stretch (trust me I know!). But although it’s not something they cover in business school, I’m a big believer in karma, that making the investment of acting and treating people decently repays itself tenfold. And that we should, as event marketers, look to make the personal comment to professional decency in 2010. The ROI will be there.

A Happy, Safe and Successful 2010 to all!

Good luck!


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