Great event leaders know the value of clear communication, especially in times of change. And it seems, at least where events and meetings are concerned, change is the only constant that we have.
Why is clear communication so important? The lead event manager of a meeting can be likened to the captain of the ship. She/he will not likely do all the tasks that are necessary and critical to keeping the ship moving forward, but it is her/his leadership that guides, delegates, and lifts up the rest of the team that will.
The lead event manager is visible, far more than is comfortable to many of us who prefer to be backstage with a headset on. Which means every face we make, every sigh we breathe, every emotion we show, or verbal and nonverbal move we make is likely observed by a team member gleaning a perception from it (correct or not).
Adding to the discomfort is the fact that we are having to let go of the control we value. Because while we know WE can do the tasks and projects we’ve set in front of the team, we MUST let the team complete the tasks in order for the event to be executed flawlessly.
And the team cannot read the lead event manager’s mind. Nor will that team do it exactly like the lead event manager would. (Although partnering with great supplier partners like Pathable can help ease and automate the outcomes you hope to achieve.)
How many times on site has something come up that you, the lead event manager, could not deal with in person and had to delegate? Sometimes even, these things happen, and you’re never even aware of it until much later. And later, when you’re being filled in, you learn of the choices your delegate made on your behalf (because the accountability always comes back to you) and you wonder how you went so wrong with signaling to this person what you really meant to communicate versus what that person actually did.
A recent Harvard Business Review article shared that “leaders have an almost primal urge to give their managers a list of activities. It makes them feel like action is being taken and that they are helping their hard-pressed managers by telling them what to do. It’s also much easier to jump from ‘we need to change‘ to ‘here’s what to do‘ that it is to thrash out the difficult trade-offs involved.”
Why is it so hard for event leaders to send clear, effective signals to the team?
Read more of the Harvard Business Review article to get three essential recommendations on how to avoid confusion and instead manage change and effective communication with your team. (We especially love recommendation two!)
Tags: communication, conferences, event manager, event planner, Harvard Business Review, HBR, organizational change, tradeshows