It hits the fan on social media while it’s happening. Yep. Meeting planners are now living in a time where maintaining your cool during an event crisis is more important than ever.
If an attendee films one false move on a smart phone, that video can be uploaded to Instagram within 5 minutes for the entire world to see, destroying an event’s reputation in no time. In keeping with this month’s “Game of Thrones” excitement, here are three words of wisdom to glean from the show’s key remaining characters who have surprisingly maintained their cool (for the most part) throughout the series.
“Everything before the word ‘but’ is horsesh*t.” –Jon Snow
This quote from Jon Snow was said to his sister, Sansa Stark, as he begins to transition into his role of King in the North, and it rings true for meeting planners looking to maintain their cool. Whenever a situation arises, it’s important for you to understand the entire problem—not just the issue someone is reacting to and bringing to your attention. The issue could be much larger than simply an attendee complaining about not getting seated at a preferred table, and it’s important to find the root cause before the situation spirals out of control.
“A wise man once said a true history of the world is a history of great conversations in elegant rooms.” –Tyrion Lannister
Tyrion is making fun of the fact that war decisions are often made off the battlefield by kings and queens having conversations in elegant rooms. These words can be twisted to apply to meetings, however, in that meeting planners need to learn to communicate without emotion or bias in a private setting. There have been enough United Airlines incidents of late for meeting planners to understand how quickly an overreaction can lead to bad PR for an event.
“The powerful have always preyed on the powerless; that’s how they become powerful in the first place.” –Tyrion Lannister
Leave it to Tyrion, again, to provide words of wisdom about those in power. People in who think they’re in control don’t take the word “no” very easily. That said, it’s important to find a way to compromise, especially with a particularly difficult attendee. If you know for a fact that you can’t do what an attendee is asking (i.e., moving them to a different seat), be honest about it and see what else you can do to help ease any concerns.