It does seem strange that, although Christmas is still ten days away, in the office we are preparing for January and February and even into Spring.
If we are to have successful networking evenings and good events then venues have to be booked, menus or caterers have to be organised, advertising and tickets have to be planned and above all these things, dates have to be decided. It is not enough to say, for instance, that the second Tuesday in Feb. will do. The date has to be checked for clashes, what else is going on then and will it affect our event? TV programmes are more important now with lots of reality shows which are so addictive that even good business people will stay home to see who wins or who gets ejected rather than go to networking. The regular soaps can be factored in but what is the football situation that day? I was caught out when England decided to play matches on Tuesdays and we lost 20% of the men we were expecting to one of our evenings. Fortunately there were enough cricket enthusiasts and soccer hating ladies there to make it a success.
Having sorted a date with no obvious clashes and having avoided Mondays ( the mood always seems low ) and Fridays ( the weekend has started! ) we now have to consider what other businesses are doing on that date and evaluate what the downside would be if we go head to head with another event. When all of the research has been done and a date is finalised we can then book a venue and make sure the food and drink is organised. The advertising material can be prepared and we can then start to invite people. Now this always starts well with the regulars all agreeing to come, the occasionals, pretty much agreeing and the newbies full of enthusiasm for something new. We know better than to sit back at this stage as this is the false dawn and all optimism will soon be dashed as confirmations fail to materialise. Our follow up calls reveal that wives and children actually have birthdays , anniversaries and such on our big day, that people have societies, organisations and committees to attend each being seen as more important than our fabulous event and then the panic rears it`s head and I begin to think that it will all fail dramatically. Lists are checked, numbers counted and recounted. Maybe they will change their minds maybe not. A last minute ring around normally settles the situation and then things go the other way and we worry about too many coming and the venue not being big enough or the food being too little.
Finally on the night it always seems to work out. The numbers are within our parameters, the venue is OK and the food and drink disappear at a rapid rate. We can tidy up and next morning, in thebestof Swindon office, start all over again!