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Playing nice in the Sandbox

May 4, 2017


When we are introduced to other suppliers as “the event planners” we usually see looks of uncertainty, worry and even defeat. These looks come not because it’s Our Forté, but because of past experiences with planners were demanding, unorganized and well……frantic. It is because of this I decided early on in my career I was going to manage things differently to create a harmonious experience for my clients, suppliers and myself.


Like any relationship, the one with your suppliers takes work, some nurturing and demonstrating positive behavior to earn the respect of your fellow teammates.


Check your ego


I am very aware of my expertise and the areas where I need support. I by no means am skilled at installing trussing, or programming a light show, nor do I have the patience for multiple conversations about linen selection, or the flair to stand on stage and perform a live auction.

BUT…. I do know how to bring a show together, manage the flow of set up, execution and tear down. I can negotiate contracts, manage budgets and design an event. And boy do I know how to stay on time! Understanding my expertise and the expertise of my suppliers is how I leave my ego behind. Your ego does not serve a purpose in relationship building – at least not in a mutually respected one.


Collaborate don’t dictate


You are hiring suppliers for their expertise and showing them respect for what they bring to the table will help them respect you, for what you bring. Collaboration is key. Include them in discussions around the vision and goals of the event. Collaborate on new ideas for the client based on their knowledge and expertise. When new ideas or obstacles arise don’t drop it in their laps to “figure out”, continue the team-based approach and work through it together.




Much like the point above about collaboration you need two-way communication. Regular touch points, phone calls and even the occasional face-to-face meeting ensures everyone is getting the most up-to-date information about the event and their role in it. My must-do with all events is to host a tie down meeting a few weeks before the event with all suppliers. This mandatory meeting is to walk through the full minute by minute of set up, event execution and tear down. This is a vital piece of the project plan to not only showcase that you, as a planner have it all under control but to ensure each supplier understands where they fit in, who else is involved, and what is still outstanding. During these meetings, we see our client’s stress ease away knowing the team we’ve created has got this covered.


Working this way with your suppliers not only enhances the client experience it makes the event execution enjoyable for everyone involved. I love event day because I know going into an event with a harmonious team I have a group of people who are all going to work together to deliver an amazing experience for our client, the guests and we are going to have some laughs along the way!


Oh, and one last thing…. Don’t forget to thank your suppliers for a job well done. This team helped you look great to your stakeholders and in this industry, you are sure to cross paths again and when they meet you the next time they will sigh with relief to have you leading the project!


Ashlee Sorochan

Fundraising & Event Director

Our Forté – Inspired Events by Jennifer & Ashlee

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