Awareness, Anticipation, Teamwork

awarenessThe statement: “Marketing includes everything that touches the customer, or the customer sees.” is a point-of-view I embrace. More than embracing that point-of-view, I am blessed/cursed with 360-degree awareness. That awareness comes from my disc jockey background.

First, working in nightclubs, I worked in permanent DJ booths which were elevated offering a complete view of the venue. I was trained to scan the room and ‘take my walks’, periodically, to check on sound distribution and quality. Working as a mobile DJ, events gives one a similar view of the room. It is, however, easy to fall in a trap of putting on blinders and operating in your little zone, plus the dance floor.

One person who I never worked for, Ray Ford, was a significant¬†influence on me. In the 1970’s Ray was the Director of Entertainment for Bobby McGees Conglomeration, a restaurant/discotheque chain, based in Phoenix. This was a company with intelligent and detailed procedures, and top-notch quality control. Bobby McGees provided extensive training for DJ entertainers, and every person they employed.

I did interview with him at one point, but didn’t wind up working with him. That was a missed opportunity, for me.

In the mid-80’s, I was writing for Nightclub & Bar Magazine, and spoke at their 1986 conference in Las Vegas. Ray had moved on to being a nightclub consultant and was also speaking at the conference. I attended one of Ray’s sessions, and several things he said had an immediate impact on me, and are present in my mindset, to this day.

“If it affects the customer, or the customer can see it, you need to take care of the problem, as soon possible.”

~ Ray Ford

Ray would go on to explain, by example. Many examples. Some were simple and obvious, but were problems one would see often.

  • A problem might be a noisy mixer at the bar, inhibiting conversation. Get it repaired or replaced.
  • It might be a crumpled napkin on the floor. Don’t pass by it. Pick it up and toss it in the trash. It doesn’t matter if it’s YOUR station. This is a TEAM situation. This is much like the outlook at Disney theme parks. They have people dedicated to minimizing trash, such that their guests are less likely to drop trash.
  • If a beautiful leather booth has a tear, get it repaired, tomorrow.
  • When you see a damaged chair, perhaps one that isn’t level, take it out of service and replace it with one that’s 100%
Ray believed in empowering everyone under the roof of a nightclub, restaurant or any venue to embrace being selfless and aware. AND, to take action.
I believe wedding receptions should function the same way. Day-of wedding professionals are 1-day teams; whether hired by the bride, a wedding planner or the venue. Awareness is not restricted to self-awareness. It’s room awareness… 360-degree awareness. Even if the team is ad-hoc, for one afternoon or evening, sharing awareness is a tipping point for success.

It might mean informing a fellow professional of a potential hazard or issue… poorly secured cable, a¬†guest that has downed 6 tequilas in 25 minutes, or some other logistical or agenda issue. It’s generally not a matter of telling a peer what to do, just letting them know, so they can address the issue, should it be necessary.

Knowing your peers at a wedding reception is always helpful. They will tend to be more receptive and less intimidated. Should you ‘save their bacon’, even once, they’ll appreciate it. Let them pat YOU on the back. Don’t remind them how helpful you were. They know it.

Often, people have their own way of doing things, and what one observes may be of no consequence. That’s fine. But if someone is about to go off a cliff, it’s not a bad idea to softly throw a caution flag by pointing it out.

Prevention of train wrecks is not common contract terminology. But it should be in the DNA of every wedding professional.

Even people with the best of 360-degree awareness will miss things. When someone steps up with a suggestion, don’t dismiss it out-of-hand. Don’t be in denial. Instead, stop and look at it from their point of view. Don’t focus on being right. Focus on getting it right.

That’s what teamwork is: Awareness and Anticipation… Shared, without ego involved

Andy Ebon - signature



Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

2 thoughts on “Awareness, Anticipation, Teamwork”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Over the past year or so, I’ve been working hard in my market to get other wedding professionals I may be “sharing the stage” with at wedding receptions, to see the value of taking a team approach to exceeding a client’s expectations.

    Unfortunately, the attitude of “I’m only here to do MY job!” has become more & more prevelant. I’ve had photographers and videographers come in to a reception without even acknowedging my existance. By not talking to me, they’re missing opportunities for us to work together to get them that one shot that they could not have captured on their own….that one shot that could have created the greatest happiness for the Bride & Groom. And, that one shot that may have produced greater referals.

    Too many see advance storyboarding and a cooperative, day-of effort to be above and beyond their so-called, self imposed job description. They fail to see the value of a successful celebration that comes from a collective effort. That blind ambition has some saying that they’re not getting paid enough to embrace a mentality that might require a bit more time in creative thought or worse, caring about anybody other than themselves. Whose fault is that?

    I would argue that a team approach to every event produces greater rewards than a singularly selfish approach. My referral list of other wedding pro’s has now become very narrow as I will only refer those that believe a client’s ultimate happiness can best be achieved through a team effort. I have more respect for those that give unselfishly of their time and talent towards the overall good of a celebration than those that see only their responsibility as the end all to success.

    In this internet age where wedding professionals have been awarded an arbitrary, subjective badge of being the so-called “best” in their field has caused many to believe the hype and close their eyes to the need to be a team player.

    Newsflash: Being the best is a journey…not a destination! Those who truly exceed in this industry are not afraid to reach out to others for ideas and support. They are mentors that never lose their thirst for knowledge.

    Exceeding the expectations of the client and their invited guests should always be priority one. That can’t happen in only one area or another. It can only be achieved when the team plays like a team!

    Sorry for the long comment. Your article hit my hot button.

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