Years ago when we were much more active in our local political party, I was put in charge of the cocktail party before one of the group’s annual dinners. The dinner would be held in the ballroom of a downtown hotel, so the cocktail party needed to be somewhere in the same hotel.
The first thing I needed to do was to pick out a room, so I made an appointment to do that with the director of sales at the hotel. Because I was new at this, I really appreciated that the very busy chairman of the party offered to also be there to help pick the room and get the ball rolling.
When we met, the sales director took us to see a large meeting room as a starting point for deciding what size room we needed.
As soon as I saw the room, I thought it would be perfect for the number of people we estimated would be attending. But the chairman had had much more experience at this sort of thing than I had, and he had a totally different point of view. He said the room would be just the right size for our needs, IF the sliding doors in the middle of the room were closed and only half of the space was used.
I was shocked! It seemed obvious to me that that would make the room way to small for the number of people we anticipated. I was so shocked in fact that, even though I was the newbee and he was the old experienced hand at this, I was ready to argue that that would be a big mistake. (Let it never be said that I have to know alot about a subject in order to have a very definite opinion about it!)
But as soon as I began to debate the choice with him, the chairman shared a point of view with me that he had learned from many years of planning these events. A crowded event is a successful event.
On that day I bowed to the chairman’s much more experienced judgement, and I not only applied that theory in the following years when I was planning that event, but it is a viewpoint that I have seen over and over again proved right.
And now that I’ve shared the chairman’s philosophy with you, try to remember it when you attend events and see if you don’t agree. “If you want people to feel like they are attending a successful event, pack them in like sardines!”