Recently, the OpenMeet team had the pleasure of participating in the annual Practically Perfect PA Assist Conference 2017, where we ran a few workshops. The discussions amongst our workshop participants were so interesting that we decided it would be a shame to restrict the knowledge we gained for the people in the room!
Instead, we are going to share what we learned over the next few OpenMeet blogs, so stay tuned!
We used a combination of iPads and Post-it notes to ask our workshop attendees questions about what makes an event supplier great, and what makes them not-so-great…
What does a good event supplier do?
- Excellent communication skills, keep in touch with their clients
- Upfront about service costs, no hidden fees
- Client-focused service, listen to client needs
- Professional, fulfils agreed expectations
What is frustrating from an event supplier?
- Lack of appreciation for the client relationship, e.g. Not understanding the client’s needs, or not rewarding repeat business
- Issues with deadline management, e.g. Meeting deadlines or having unclear invoice deadlines
- Poor service, being unreliable and not communicating
Event supplier ‘Red Lines’ – things to avoid!
- Asking for the full payment before providing their services
- The supplier can’t prove previous successful services
- The supplier won’t accept feedback
In summary, our 7 key tips for choosing a great event supplier are to make sure that your supplier:
- Has strong communication skills, keeps in regular contact with their clients and provides prompt updates
- Is upfront about what their services cost
- Will respond to your needs and provide solutions
- Will meet deadlines
- Can demonstrate their past successful services (for instance, they can refer you to other clients)
- Does not demand full payment up front (a deposit is reasonable)
- Accepts feedback, including criticism. Bonus points if they display this feedback somewhere prominent for prospective clients to read!
In terms of ensuring that you are choosing a supplier who will do these things, a certain amount can be determined by internet research and by preliminary meetings with the supplier. However, sometimes nothing is better than experience and word-of-mouth, so take advantage of PA networks as much as possible!
Our next few blogs will be based on the insightful information we gathered from our workshop participants at the Assist Conference, covering topics such as how to ensure career development is central to the PA role, and how to ensure organisations value the work PAs do.