This year at the 85th Academy Awards, the lovely Jennifer Lawrence won Best Actress for her role in “Silver Linings Playbook.” As she ascended the stairs to accept her award, she stumbled in excitement.
What to do, what to do when you trip and fall on your face at the biggest event of the year? I certainly speak from experience on this, since I’ve managed to do it on many fabulous occasions. The only way to handle it is to fall all the way out and play it all the way up! Don’t try to hide it, play it off, or downplay it. You just have to go for the full sympathy of the crowd. Make them feel like they have to check that you are OK before they react. Then, at that point, you have two gracious options: 1. stay put and look completely distraught; or 2. get up and burst into laughter, signaling that it is alright for everyone else to laugh with you – not at you. Lastly, you can mention the blunder to take the edge off and put everyone (yourself included) at ease.
Seasons Greetings! Literally. We are well into the holiday season and our schedules are filling up with various festivities, some of which you might be hosting. The act of greeting is one area of event protocol that you do not want to overlook during this season, or any other. So, why is it a big deal and how do we go about it?
Recently, I attended a jewelry boutique launch event executed so beautifully that everything done right stood out to me. In particular, one main quality of the event was that each guest was warmly greeted, invited to take a photo with the hostess, and offered refreshments upon arrival. There was an overall feeling that everyone was a valued customer even before they made a purchase. This shared perception made the venture a great success. This is an example we can draw from for our holiday parties and just about any event we throw.
To some people it sounds like an obvious feature of all events. Of course we all welcome guests. Who would leave attendees wandering around, trying to figure out where exactly they belong or searching aimlessly for the restroom? Then again, there are those who question why greetings are a necessity at all. Why can’t folks find their own way around and introduce themselves to each other? Just follow the crowd or the signs. Yet, we can ALL think of times when we walked into a party, conference, wedding reception, launch, or gathering and had no idea in which direction to proceed. Feeling lost, we wondered if we were actually in the right place. If the event is purely social, friends may forgive their host(ess), but who wants their friends to feel out of place? If the event is business related then this just might be the turn-off that causes the host(ess) to miss out on a sale or investment.
It is completely understandable that often when you are the one hosting the event, it is impossible to stand post at the entrance if you do not have a planner designated to oversee the happenings. So there you are running around tending to a million issues and the needs of guests who previously arrived, wondering what’s going on at the door. What’s the solution? In this case, you can simply assign the task of greeting to someone else. It can be a friend or acquaintance for social matters, or someone you hire or an unpaid intern for business matters. Whomever you choose, it should be someone who you trust to be pleasant, sociable and helpful. The goal is to make sure your guests feel like they are important to you (personally or professionally) and that you want them there.