A few weeks ago I was facilitating a conference in a downtown Chicago hotel. An early riser, I looked at my clock before dawn and noticed that the face was dark. Quickly checking the lights, I realized with dread that the electricity was out. I checked in with the front desk and found that electricity was out for the entire hotel and not expected to be fixed for at least 8 hours.
Scrambling to figure out what to do with 180 conference participants was an adrenaline inducing way to start the morning. Thank goodness I had spent time nurturing my relationship with the hotel and banquet staff. They were extremely responsive, helping to problem solve and follow through with the necessary adjustments. I am convinced that their level of service was, in part, because of the respect I had shown during our initial communications.
Time after time, I have found it extremely beneficial, not to mention smart, to do the following 3 things when presenting in a hotel or conference space.
1. Introduce yourself to the banquet manager and staff and memorize their first names. These individuals form a team that will have an enormous impact on the success of your day.
2. Say “please” and “thank you” when interacting with the banquet team. Unfortunately, I have witnessed other presenters treating these important team members rudely. There is no excuse for poor manners, and, in the long run, you will pay a price.
3. Offer sincere compliments to the banquet team members. Let them know that you appreciate their efforts and realize how important they were to the success of your day. If someone goes above and beyond, be sure to let his or her supervisor know about it. If your conference is finished you may not experience a direct benefit, but the next presenter will.
Presenters face all types of unexpected events, especially when in unfamiliar places. A little niceness to your support team can pay off in big ways!
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Anne Beninghof is passionate about teaching and learning.
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