I do this with most minor pet peeves. I can’t stand people who complain all the time, and yet sometimes find myself complaining about these individuals. It drives me crazy watching those moms who hover over their kids coddling their every move, yet I find myself regularly sneaking into my son’s elementary school after the morning bell to help him change his snow boots before kindergarten. The list goes on and on.
So, was I surprised when I applied this same hypocrisy to my professional life? Well, yes, I was…although, I probably shouldn’t have been.
One of my job responsibilities is managing speakers prior to a conference or event where they are featured. This means coordinating event day details with them, reviewing and setting guidelines for content, managing distribution, collecting speaker biographies, etc. So, when I accepted the invitation to speak to some peers on the topic of Holiday Event Planning last November, I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. Yet again, I fell into the trap of committing the very pet peeves I disdain.
Speaker Biography: The good news is- I turned it in. The bad news is- I turned it in late. This is a frustrating one for me. The deadline is always given well in advance and many seasoned speakers have their biographies completely written but hold on to it so they can package it with the delivery of their presentation. A late biography can sometimes mean holes in conference information for attendees.
Audio Visual Needs: I knew what I needed to pull off my presentation. I planned to bring my laptop and projector. Could I have been a bit more prompt in sharing that with the presentation organizer? Absolutely.
Presentation Submission: I procrastinated to the fullest when I should have been developing content for my presentation. I put the finishing touches on the presentation right up until the hour I spoke.
This is something that occurs frequently with speakers. As the event producer you are responsible for reviewing the information the speaker is going to present, confirming it is within the provided guideline and relevant to your audience. Many times the presentation needs to be available immediately afterwards, requiring some advance production.
Moving forward, I will continue to provide a clean schedule of speaker expectations and deadlines and appropriate follow up accordingly. In turn, the speaker and event organizer dance will go on. This time, however, I may have a bit more empathy when a speaker deadline is missed. And, maybe next time I am in line at Target, I will practice just a tad more patience too.
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