There are times when it would be easier to work as a bricklayer, or a teacher or as someone who sexes hamsters. OK, maybe not the last one… but operating in a service industry, especially one that “designs and facilitates conferences, events and team activities” does have its challenges, not least when somebody asks that particular question.
It’s a great thing to think about before you embark on your next great (by which I mean “hideous”) networking evening*.
We at Colour; Noun would love to hear how you tell people what you do. This is what we think we do. If you know us, let us know if we’re near the mark; if you don’t know us let us know if what we’re suggesting here makes sense and makes you think that you’ve been missing out not having us in your life...
Our challenge is made more difficult because one of our central principles is that we want to offer something a little bit different to what you might get elsewhere. I could talk all day about how we endeavour to make your working relationship with us joyful and enthusiastic. I could offer examples of exercises we have run for other organisations that illustrate how we like to look at work-related topics from unconventional angles. I could reference dozens of models and articles and ideas and concepts and research that all claim to offer concrete benefits and results. But for us, when it comes down to what working with us involves, it comes down to these three things:
Number One: The answer is yes. Now what is the question?
Can you …? Will you …? Could you …? Apart from “work for free”, you can insert any request in there and we will find a way to make it work. If we don’t know how straightaway we will find out and we’ll do the research and the thinking and come back with a solution that is in line with our principles of being different, engaging and interactive. I nearly said “fun” there, but I’m always wary of using the word “fun” in relation to business because it might suggest trivialising serious issues, so I won’t. (But it will be.)
“Will you run the post-lunch warm-up …?” Of course.
“We’ve had a presenter drop out of their workshop session tomorrow… Do you think you could…” Absolutely. What was it on?
“Can you tell me if this is this a male or a female hamster?” You’re talking to the wrong person but let me get back to you.
Number Two: We give you permission.
We all want to do things but there are hundreds of reasons why you can’t always do them. Some of them involve lengthy prison sentences… but not wanting to bore your audience at a conference isn’t one of those, so why is it that when people are planning an event they resist the temptation to do something different with the design or the format and instead stick with the tried, the tested, and the terminally dull?
I’ll tell you why. Because they don’t always have someone who says that it’s OK to try something different. So, here’s the deal. We’ll take what you want to achieve, and we’ll look at it through the lens of point Number One. If it’s a success – and it will be, because we know how to make things work – you get all the glory; if it is an unmitigated disaster – which it won’t be – we’ll take all the blame. So next time you are assembling your 190-slide deck for the annual conference and wishing it wasn’t going to be the most boring day since this time last year, just know that it doesn’t have to be. You have our permission to do something different.
Number Three: Stop stressing and cheer up.
Organising an event is stressful. Things go wrong. Things change at the last minute. Unexpected things happen and you have to deal with them.
You perhaps have to go through that trauma once or twice a year. We do it all year round, and even though it can be a pain we’re used to it; we’re also good at dancing in the moment and coming up with a solution that works. If we’re honest, we quite like the challenge. If you concentrate on your delegate list, the lanyards, the handouts and the dietary requirements we’ll take all the other factors around timings and activities and who-does-what-where-and-when off your hands. We’ll also help you have a laugh while we’re doing it.
That’s it. We’d love to hear your thoughts. Especially if you know how to tell the difference between a male and a female hamster.
*Don’t stress, cheer up. We give you permission to have a better networking experience. Do we have a session on how to have a better networking experience? See point Number One, above.
Colour; Noun (Vicky Holding and Howard Karloff)