It is my belief that one of the best ways to build and maintain professional relationships is to be accessible, helpful, and when in doubt, kill them with kindness. When hosting an event never lose your cool if things go wrong or if someone approaches you in a negative way. Whether you realize it or not other people are watching and will remember how you handle a situation. After working in UPB for a few months, I have found several ways that can ensure people will want to work with you and your organization in the future.
First, always say thank you. You can never say thank you enough, especially if people from outside of your organization are participating and helping you meet your goal. When I send emails on behalf of my committee I always thank the recipient for their time either reading my message or for their help with an event. People appreciate that you appreciate them.
Be accessible and prompt with a response. It can be difficult at times to get everything you need done in a timely fashion, but always be considerate of other people’s time as well. If you do miss a deadline or are late to respond, a simple and courteous explanation is expected. Though it may seem excessive, I have conditioned myself to check my email every couple of hours when I know I am expecting a response from someone I am working with. It can become a helpful habit!
Know their name and remember their face. This fall when I was working on the Special Event Committee’s Political Debate, I was corresponding with a large group of people who would be participating in the event. For weeks I had only emailed back and forth and did not know anyone’s face, but prior to the debate, my committee director and I met with most everyone in a logistical meeting. This helped me put a face to an email account and on the day of the event I was able to recognize and address everyone when I saw them. Especially on the day of the event, as host, you want to be the first one to introduce yourself and acknowledge your guests by name so that they feel welcome and appreciated.
And finally, to be the host or hostess with the “mostest,” I have learned that you should always be polite and smile. Problems big or small will inevitably arise throughout the planning of a project or even at the event. But as long as you handle it with grace and treat everyone with respect, you will be remembered for that and ensure that your working relationships last.
– Catherine McNally, Special Events Communication Chair