Raising Heck: Four Event Rules to Break Now

This is a guest post from Louise M. Felsher, CMP, CMM and Director of Marketing Events for Treasure Island Wines. She authors several articles, including a recent piece on cause marketing, while planning events such as Harvest Howl 2011.

There are iconic rules (aka “nevers”) in events that are considered so sacred, that breaking them would be heresy. While I respect these conventions and their DNA, we must recognize that many have become anachronistic and require some post-modern perspective and rewrites.

Raising a Glass

It’s almost never appropriate to drink alcohol on the job. In some industries, like financial services, you can be fired on the spot.

However, the trend in many social events is to integrate the event planner into the experience. In other words, old school event management was directing from behind the camera; post-modern planning encourages event planners to become one of the actors. Thus, by grabbing a glass at hyper-social parties  – particularly if you are planning the event for an organization you belong to or work at – will actually benefit your credibility.

Stop at strategic intervals and mirror some of the behavior. Stop for a sip and a chat with your guests. Note: this does not mean that you should drink alcohol. Remember, even though it’s OK to stop and socialize with your guests, you rarely can afford to degrade your senses when juggling a complex event.

Raising Your Voice

If you are an independent event planner, your client is expecting you to have their back. Negotiating is not the easiest thing for many of us, but you may need to push your comfort level for results.

Don’t mistake this for losing control or your charm. It simply means that if you are within earshot of your client, it doesn’t hurt to amplify your charisma a few notches when asking for a refund on the tardy limo.

Raising Your Skirt

Although the infamous rule, “never let them see you run,“ unfairly targets women in heels, the running male equivalent (sans Louboutins) does not connote confidence either.

The reality is, however, that sometimes event circumstances (short staffed, bad luck) require speed. Showing enthusiastic hustle in a controlled and graceful manner, without revealing the slightest indication of panic, is a skill to aspire to.

Raising The Gate

Fire Marshall regulations can never be violated. Ever.

What you can do is exceed max attendance with some savvy borrowed from night clubs. Have an adjacent plush room/lounge in your pocket with premium bar or attractions. Move VIPs from the main event to annexed space and back as needed.

As the saying goes, rules are meant to be broken. This is even true in the events industry. Remember to be smart about it, but it’s OK to challenge some of the standard practices in our modern time.