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The Gifts You Actually Give

I’ve realised this a lot recently as I’m walking around event sites and stadiums before the gates open and before the wider world arrives. I’ve watched what goes on and I’ve been reminded by the scale, depth, and generosity of the service we provide.

The gift of service

As event people, I think we come together to serve people. To provide for the public, and for each other. We support each other across our event teams, and the experiences we serve up to our respective audiences. We give each other a hand, and we gift amazing real-life experiences. And that’s a cool gift to give.

The service comes in many ways, from the tasks you do to the energy and care that you take in making these experiences come to life. The seats wiped, tables set, cables run, boxes delivered. The content carefully curated and shared. Lights up, screens on, the staff briefed, the suppliers pushed, and the partners placated.

So much work goes in, from so many people, that we often forget the effort involved. And it’s not just the amount of work, it’s the attention to every detail, a level of care and curiosity which is quite inspiring. And I think this sense of generosity makes events such a positive and compelling place to be.

What we give

I do believe the gifts you give come in many ways. From allowing people to do more of what they are interested in and passionate about. Organising them and giving them access. And the emotion that comes from these gifts, enabling your participants to feel more motivated, more comfortable, safe, excited or inspired. And what about the feeling of belonging, of connection with other likeminded people. The sense of identity and unity your events can provide. That really is a great gift to package up and give.

We give it, but we often don’t see it

It’s been fascinating seeing you all getting it all done. However, I also know that while we are often so furiously focused on the task at hand, the gifts you give will often go unrecognised. All the little things, by the many often unrecognised people.

While the ‘product’ we produce is kind of what it’s all about, it’s only half the story. It’s also about the care and effort that goes in to make it happen. It’s all there behind the scenes, we just don’t appreciate it sometimes. 

Making It, and really Owning It

In creating events, we all take a high level of accountability and ownership of what we put out into the world. We know that we need to own our tasks and our areas. Even the small task that doesn’t look much, it all contributes.

In his famous book ‘DRIVE – The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us’, Dan Pink found that we are all driven in our work by autonomy, mastery and purpose, which I would agree with, and especially so in our world of events. 

The sense of purpose of pulling it all together and putting it on show, to a level and standard close to mastery, or at least aspiring to. The right set up, the right amount, the thing that works, it all matters.  And working in events, it’s likely no-one is holding your hand or looking over your shoulder while you do it. Often this autonomy means your efforts may not go recognised. There is no time, and we are quickly on to the next thing.

What it’s all about

To me it’s that sense of giving, that makes event days so engaging. Of working together to get it done, and reflecting on what can be done. It’s not always easy to do. There is often a little bit of unknown of how that day will play out, the nervous anticipation of seeing all the planning roll out.

Making it, Owning It, and Giving it

When all this effort goes in the right direction it’s all such an orchestrated ritual. Everyone plays a role, their part in the band. And to understand how much something contributed to your event, try not having it! It’s the times when these little things aren’t done that, we swiftly realise how important they are!

Leading sports industry trailblazer Antonia Beggs described it brilliantly on our Event Show, when she speaks about ‘Owning the Thank You’. Going out of your way to make someone’s day. Looking for the little moments, the extra touch that makes a difference. Even if it is not recognised, it still counts.

So, at this time of year, if we do get 5 minutes to reflect, it’s worth thinking about the service you have given to others, those around you, and those who show up – as it’s all a good thing.

If I can help you with that, just let me know.

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