“Can you sit us at a good table this time?“…I could hear that familiar question being asked.
Years ago we used take a very glamorous fashion and beauty event on tour around the country – I kid you not!
We did this every six months for about four years, running over 70 events in total. We had the best Irish models, the best of fashion, superb staging and we had many sponsors who felt our event was a clever way of reaching a ‘high-end‘ female consumer.
The events were complex and very hard work covering every possible thing you could think of from choosing and liaising with venues, deciding and negotiating menus, choosing models and entertainment, pitching to fashion and beauty companies, creating unique branding for each series, executing PR and advertising plans, visiting each location in advance and then selling tickets!
When all of that was done all we had to do was run the events, which was the really heavy duty, demanding and totally exhausting part of the job.
The most delicate and sensitive parts of each event were all about hierarchy!
In the exhibition area which sponsor went in each available space, which brand would start the fashion show and which ended it, and most importantly where did everyone sit?
The seating plan in particular was a very emotional, highly charged one whereby you had the responsibility of deciding where approximately 300 women would sit. In every single function there are great places to sit and not-so-great places. As the organiser you need to decide where each of those women will sit, knowing that your decision will please some and displease others. “Why am I less important than than others?”
This is really tricky and once you go beyond looking after the sponsors (your breadwinners) how do you choose where people who have paid exactly the same for their tickets sit?
My criteria in allocating the best seats used be sponsors first, supporters and influencers second, enthusiastic and really nice people third, prize winners last and everyone else as fair as possible in the middle. This wasn’t an exact science and there was always a group who felt a little hard done by because of where they were sitting and yes I did try to look after the nicer of these with a little extra wine!
There was always an awkward few that you knew might give you a hard time so if you weren’t in the mood for a hard time they might have ended up with a better seat – I hated doing that!
In every walk of life there is a hierarchy and where you are seated, where you are positioned in the brochure, or where your exhibition stand is situated reflects either how much you paid or shows how you are thought of.
Why was I put here?
There is no point getting upset about it …just try to understand why and only if it matters enough figure out how to move up that hierarchy.
Where are you sitting at the table?