Did you ever plan a party that no one attended?
It’s well-known that, for public events, you have to discount greatly the number of attendees who say they’re coming. The depth of the discount depends on how well you know the attendees personally, whether they think you might try to sell them something, whether they’ve paid to attend, and probably a variety of other variables.
If it’s clearly just a party among friends, then the discount may be small. But, I’ve even heard of those that ended up with not a single attendee.
Has it happened to you? What did you do?
I suppose there are a variety of ways to respond. On the one hand, one could cry. Or at least feel very sorry for oneself. Or start throwing things in anger. Or lash out at the “friends” who failed to show. Or go into an extended depression.
Or one could go into a philosophical rant (or at least reflection) on the nature of humans to act in such irresponsible ways, and what our society is coming to, and what will happen to the next generation if this is the kind of people we are breeding in this one.
On the other hand, one could simply say, How can I make the best of this situation? How can I refocus, and get something out of it.
So why do I bring this up now?
You guessed it! Because it happened to me. This past weekend.
My colleague, Jon, and I had booked a weekend trip to Toronto and Montreal on behalf of the professional association we’re both members of, to represent the association to our members in those regions and hopefully sign up some new ones.
The Toronto event went well. The Montreal event? Well, let’s just say the only one who actually showed up was our associate from the area who had organized the event. (OK, we knew this second event was a bit sketchy from the start but . . . No one?)
Both of us have gone through this experience before. Our previous experiences probably helped to keep us level-headed, and avoid doing anything rash. No walls were vandalized; no tears shed.
We simply adjusted, and made the best of what we could. We did our presentation to our associate out there, as if the room were full of people. He gave us good feedback on the presentation, for future reference, and then we dialogued about new ideas for our group. And we exchanged information about our various business models.
In the end, we claimed modest success. We’d gone out there with three objectives in mind. Two of the three were partially met in our Montreal experience. Combined with the Toronto half of the trip, we rated the excursion, overall, a success.
But, I have to admit, I was much more upset the first time a no-show event happened to me.
Experience, whether ours or others’, helps to soften the sharpness of the disappointment. It also helps us to modify our efforts on the fly, so as to make the best of the situation.
In reflecting on this, I realized that there are three critical ingredients in turning such an experience into a positive one: 1. Keep calm—high emotion and logical thinking are mutually incompatible.
2. Adjust quickly, devising a creative way to make something out of those elements that are still available.
3. Reflect on the (modified) event, identifying positives that came out of the experience and things that can be learned from it.
At least, that’s how I see it . . .
Rent 2 Own tip
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