Category Archives: Random Curiosity

Random thoughts on everyday life.

Where have the Good Hosts gone?

Feeling like a stranger in a crowd full of strangers.  No surprise there, that’s an almost normal in today’s digital and virtual social engagements.  Yet it was surprising, considering this was a Meet Up of strangers, who had agreed to meet with one another.  Let me emphasise that, meet with one another, share company and enjoy an event together as a group of strangers, to become friends, acquaintances at the least.  In a group such as this, the event host is the person responsible not only for the logistics of the event (and normal event stuff), but also for setting the tone and engagement of the event.

Needless to say, that Meet Up event left a lot to be desired, with the host non-existent in actually hosting the event. If you host Meet Ups, read these helpful points.  

Taking events corporate, family, volunteer, training, away workshops, or meetings into account, this is what good hosting looks like to me:

1)      Before the event: planning cannot be underestimated- get the basics right.  At least all the major ones.  By planning for a great event, you are more likely to actually have one. 

a.       If registration or rsvp is required for the event, use a method or tool that is easy for people to access and complete.  A complicated system is off-putting and will likely decrease the chance of the person completing their registration, or recommending the event to others.

2)      Ensure your venue is suitable for your event: Essentially is your venue Fit for Purpose?

a.       If it’s an away event, check the accommodation suitability. 

b.      Ensure your venue has the appropriate multimedia if relevant: screens and projectors, sound / microphone system, podium, stage or platform?

c.       If sharing a venue space, ensure your event space is identifiable (be creative, use balloons, cut out foot prints, arrows, post itsmeet-greet-seat) from other events.

3)      Meet and Greet: either the host or designated person (s) must be there to welcome guests and point them in the right direction.  Do not allow guests to wonder what they should do on arrival.  Remember the KISS principle: Keep It Simple Stupid / and Straight.

a.       Have someone dedicated to take care of special guests

4)      Contact person: designated person (s) whom guests can contact should they experience some discomfort or medical emergency or even need to leave unexpectedly.  This also means this person (s) should be easily identifiable, name tags, or ribbon, or uniform, or co-ordinated colours.

5)      Approachable, Accessible and Available: a good host is available to guests.  Hosts are not so involved in their own private conversations, that people are not able to approach them.  Giving each person your 100% attention, but also not monopolising your time or theirs.

6)      Smile and Grace: Do not underestimate the power of a welcoming warm smile to help settle people.  During the event, the host should always been seen to be calm, centered and in control of the event, regardless of what is happening.

7)      Welcome pack: something small, welcoming and relevant.  Create that warm fuzzy feeling with something to suit the occasion. Include a welcome note or letter with essential information.  

8)      Respect the time: Time equals money. Never more than today’s ultra-pacethe time is now clockd life.  Respect the time indicated or advertised.  Never start later than 5 minutes or finish later than 15 minutes over time – short of a force majeure situation.  People value their time more preciously than anything else.  If necessary have someone make an apology for the late start.  If bums start to shift in their seat from agitation, that shifting can quickly become a shuffle for the exit.  

 9)      Cater to special requests: Within reason, do confirm if guests have special dietary requests or medical conditions (away training session for example) that need to be noted. 

10)   Say Thank you: acknowledge and appreciate people for attending your event.  Sometimes a thank you note or email, can include other useful information like further resources to consider, or customer satisfaction surveys.

11)   Feedback: Be open to requesting and receiving feedback actively.  If you take customer Customer feedback cardservice as more than a clichéd parlour phrase, you will actively pursue feedback, and use constructive criticism to improve your service and product offering – continuously.  Proactive engagement is better than reactive reputation management rescues. 

What would you consider to be good hosting? Looking forward to what you would add to help make any event enjoyable for all.

Firsts. Why do them?

Your “first” anything might or might not (depending on your context) carry with it the trepidation or excitement that usually accompanies a “First”. My first blog.  Ever.  This inaugural post carried both that nervous blend of trepidation and excitement, patterned with smatterings of neurosis, irrationality and anxiety.

There was no reason to blog, feeling simply, I had nothing to say that people had not heard before.  It was enough to share my curiosities with the people in my life, connected to me by more than bits and bytes.  My foray into Twitter’s 140 character messages seemed quite enough, allowing me to express my views on everything from fashion disasters to politics, cracking one liners to racial tensions, chocolate to meditative yogic reflections and simple honest time wasters.

“Be honest.  Tell the truth.  Let people know where you stand.  Use simple language.  Call things what they are.  Demonstrate Abstract Ideasintegrity.  Don’t manipulate people or distort facts.  Don’t spin the truth.  Don’t leave impressions.” Randomly pulled from The Speed of Trust Action Cards, No 1, Straight.

Simple true advice for any medium of communication.  This little maxim proved to be the centre of my inaugural blog post, poignantly reminding me – I am what I am.  And can only blog as myself, my ideas.  Relieving the self-imposed pressure to make it impressionable, helping to overcome the neurosis, irrationalities and anxieties of a first.

Neurosis can also be a fixation on perfection, so I learnt, not just a mental fragility.  Something I identify with completely, being neurotic about how my blog’s functionality is going to work – do the links work, does it display properly, how does it display on a mobile device, is it easy on the eye…does it look interesting enough.  And yet being a first, its more about the magic of the moment and not getting stuck on being a perfect post.

  • In Seth Godin’s blog post, Who Goes First, he reminds us that we have forgotten it is our job to go first. To be brave and be willing to try something new, knowing it is graced with magic, wonder, and not perfection.  Although there is something to be said for being second too; sometimes learning through example, is a great starting point. As Neil Patel, shares a summary of 10 lessons Seth Godin can teach you about blogging.  While focussed mainly on business type blogging, the insights are still valuable, especially for a newbie blogger somewhat fixated on that perfect post.

Being somewhat out of your wits”, is a common description for irrationality. That seemed true.  I wasn’t sure what I should blog about.  It seemed like I had joined my #EDMOOC quadblogging team on a whim, and now felt pressured for letting them down.  Perfect strangers, with mutual interest, now on the borders of friendship.  It seemed there was already a plethora of blogs on my curiosities and passions, yet I am reminded that all voices are unique.  And so are their stories, whether thought leadership style, or simple anecdotes about daily minutiae.

Stories never really end…even if the books like to pretend they do. Stories always go on. my storyThey don’t end on the last page, any more than they begin on the first page.” Cornelia Funke, Inkspell.

 

Let this blog be an almost extension of stories of mine I have already shared, and have yet to share.

The elephant memory that is the Internet did have me anxious, with my fingers hovering over the delete button.  The angst of what impact a personal blog might have to my other online presence, was unnerving.  Would YogitaRed8’s followers suddenly doubt the person they follow on twitter, should they read this blog? Would fellow #advancingSA members quietly applaud this effort from the tweet streets? Have faith the person tweeting about entrepreneurship had the same brand value as the person blogging about life’s great wonders and daily whys? And yet there is faith.  To remain authentic is to quiet these anxieties.

I cannot see the whole of my blog, and where it will lead, whether it will stay as it has started a personal blog, or transform into a more authoritative thought leadership type blog.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”  Martin Luther King Jr.no start, no end Staircase

I thank #EDCMOOC, and my qaudblogging team for helping to place my feet on this first step.

Until my next post, remain curios.  Be first at anything for the magic of it.  And don’t be shy to ask or wonder why about life’s experiences.

What’s a first you honour or celebrate?