COMMUNICATION IS KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL JOB
THURSDAY // FEBRUARY 15, 2018
The smallest form of miscommunication can result in a total disaster when it comes to the live entertainment industry. On the individual level, you may be the best, organized event professional who notices minuscule details, but if you lack effective communication with other individuals working on the same event, nobody will care about your skills when disaster strikes.
When we read about other event conundrums, never think, “that will never happen to me,” because many times the victim of these disasters will think, “I can't believe this happened to me!”
Pollstar recently published an article about the secret to having a smooth show day, pointing at effective communication from the venue executives over the phone as the key.
The article highlights phone communication eliminates details that may slip through the cracks over email. You can have hundreds of emails back and forth, but someone will most likely miss something.
“Venues need to be sure to communicate with tour managers to give them a heads-up about potential challenges to load-in, such as construction in the area,” the article says. Jerome Crooks, tour manager for Nine Inch Nails, Tool and LCD Soundsystem told Pollstar a venue forgot to tell him a marathon was going through the area, resulting in a two-hour delay to load-in.
Let’s look at the TomorrowWorld 2015 disaster in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia, for example. The rain showers caused the rural venue to transform into a mud pit, making it impossible for cars to drive to and from the event.
The result? TomorrowWorld’s 120,000 young attendees were faced with 20-mile traffic jams, 5 mile-hikes, lack of food and water, and no shelter during the night, reported Vice.
The venue was totally unprepared for the weather conditions surrounding the event. Nothing was communicated between the festival organizers and venue about creating a back-up plan. People either paid hundreds of dollars to Uber’s surging prices or slept on the side of the road without food and water, the article reported.
With no real effective plan of action, the event actually cancelled its third day for attendees not camping on-site. Lack of planning, coordination and communication concluded the festival’s return accompanied by lawsuits.
What can we do to communicate better?
Event planners revealed their tips to etouches.com on how to prevent issues before and during the big day.
After Text/Email, Follow-Up With a Call: This day and age, most of the communication we participate in on a daily basis is done digitally, via text or email. Possessing important information on an email document or text is necessary and extremely helpful, but there is always the possibility ideas or crucial details get lost in translation. We know this already when it comes to everyday communication with the relationships we have outside of work. Follow-up with a phone call, especially if the email/text includes crucial detail or lengthy information.
In addition, the “you never got my text?” excuse doesn’t fly anymore and no one will believe you, even if you did try to send a text. A simple follow-up phone call does the trick and ensures confidence in the exchange of information.
Interacting/Following Up With Third-Party Vendors: Frequently checking in with both your team and the client is crucial. Waiting for mistakes to surface on their own is detrimental to the event. Checking up on the progress gives a chance to pinpoint any mistakes threatening to the event’s success. In addition, this interaction “builds rapport and creates lasting relationships,” the article said.
Following up with third-party vendors, such as a photographer, caterer, or DJ is crucial to ensure what you may have promised to the client as expected. Failure to communicate with these parties would fall on you no matter what the cause.
Write Efficient Emails: There is no excuse for the 20 typos in your email, we have spell check, people! In addition to spelling, the most important thing is to communicate all the details necessary in one email rather than a series of back and forth emails, resulting in a email chain that scrolls for days. You may be hiding Important information within the chain, impossible to find, resulting in wasted time and potential event disaster.
The takeaway? Keep all lines of communication open. Call frequently, write efficiently and interact with all parties more than once. Doing so will save your event, your reputation and your money.