It’s event day: What and how do you communicate with your client?

In this installment of our series aimed at helping you understand your own personality style and that of your clients, I’m focusing in on event day. What is your client most concerned about/looking for when it’s time to put all the planning into action? Your client may or may not be a seasoned veteran at hosting events, so it’s your job to make them feel like they are.
Its event day: What and how do you communicate with your client?
For background information you may want to read the first article in the series, containing the foundational building blocks of the personality styles perspective. The article contains a link to a quick online assessment that will generate your own personal profile report. Or click here to go directly to the assessment. This report will allow you to get maximum value out of this and subsequent articles, as it will provide details about your own style and help you determine the personality style of your clients. The report categorizes the four personalities as: gold – structure oriented, orange – action oriented, blue – people oriented and green – logic oriented.

Delivering a flawless event can be stressful, even for the most seasoned of professionals, as human beings can always come up with some new way to derail well laid plans. Your experience allows you to plan and ensure you minimize “undocumented features” of an event, but you’re also able to handle things when they inevitably occur. Your client however may not have the depth of experience in running events, so it’s important to reflect on their personality style so you can best head off their concerns in advance and also know the best way to communicate and engage them on event day.

Here is a quick overview on how to categorize your client to then review the key points on what to watch for and how to communicate to make them feel most at ease:

Gold – structure oriented style: Client is generally formal and structured in communication. They’re very detailed oriented and will likely have asked you for a well document plan for the day and reviewed it countless times to ensure there are no loose ends.

  • You will need a really clear agenda of exactly how the event will unfold – documented is best. Schedule some time to review close enough to the event to be up-to-the minute ready but with enough time that if any last minute tweaks are needed you have time to actually act on them. This personality style is often seen as a perfectionist, so be ready for a thorough review.
  • Let your experience shine through. Don’t say yes to last minute changes just because the “client is always right”. They are hiring your for your expertise, so make sure you discuss options, present facts and a logical approach to why you agree or disagree.
  • Detailed communication is always well received. If there are issues, don’t try to make them go away without bringing the client up to date. Your client may appear like they need to be in charge, but in actual fact they just need to know someone is. If you step up and keep them in the loop but take charge they will respect your capabilities.

Orange – action oriented style: Client is generally informal in communication and very much focused on the overall impact the event is going to have. They are most concerned with what are the hands on activities that people will experience and clearly focused on how people will use what they learn/experience at the event going forward.

  • No need to review what has already been decided on. Once your action oriented client has signed off on things, it’s behind them. They just want to operate in the present.
  • Keep updates brief and concise, and focused on present and future.
  • They love to be hands-on, so they will be at either extreme – front and centre as the host or very active as a participant. Make sure you check in advance which your client would prefer to be and be very clear about role delineation so you are not faced with having the discussion on event day.

Blue – people oriented style: You’ve likely had to make a strong personal connection with your client (even if your own preference is to focus more on the business relationship). People oriented personality styles focus on the interpersonal connection both as part of the process of planning the event and also the focus of the event. They will focus on how will people interact, how will they get to know each other with unbound optimism of how great everything could and should be.

  • Your people oriented client may be overly helpful, so make sure you put their well-intentioned energy to good use. Engage them in the process of interacting with people. The elements of the event that are focused on communication will be where they get the most enjoyment.
  • They will be very focused on the feel of the event; the logistics are administrative details that are foundational but assumed to be taken care of. Make sure you give them updates on anything that is going to detract from participant’s experience.
  • People oriented personalities are generally eternal optimists, so don’t let them try and add last minute “great plans” that you can’t logistically support.

Green – logic oriented style: This client is generally all business. They likely have a great sense of humour that shines through but are focused on efficiency and effectiveness first. This client will be very focused on the high level outcomes of the activity. Task focused about delivering exception results, good is not good enough for this client.

  • Your logic oriented client sets extremely high standards, and even though you have earned their trust in your capacities, they will still ask lots of questions. Don’t take the questions as an indication that they don’t feel you have things covered; it’s their need to understand what is going on.
  • This client has likely asked lots of questions and given you specific, concise requirements for the day, so they don’t need you to go over things. They will ask you for details if needed. When they do ask for an update, they don’t like lots of details, just the high level ones.
  • Although they are very decisive, they need time to process information, so don’t ask them to make quick decisions unless it’s an emergency. Give them information up front and give them time to reflect before asking for a decision.

Reflect on your own style and then take some time to think about your client’s. Managing their experience on event day will have everything to do with securing the next event, so make sure you give them what they need.

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