I don't know about you but when an invitation to a party lands in my box I get excited. Or at least, I used to... Lately I've had to lower my expectations as to what a good party should be. Let me be clear - my friends all throw great and amazing parties - ones that people die to get invited to. But corporate networking parties have become something totally different.
Those parties used to be filled with food, drink and good company. Now they are filled with anyone who can fill the space, there is little food and long lines at the bar. All of which are big Rabidon'ts in my book.
Take, for example, a very dis-TASTE-ful event I attended the other night. It was the series finale to a cooking competition show and the host was none other than a television network who's boss just happens to be a popular mouse. Receiving the invite two days before the event should have been the first clue that this party was going to be a bust.
That's one of my Rabidon'ts - Don't invite guests at the last minute. I mean, you had to have known you were going to throw a party. But I digress....
Upon arriving to the venue (a very popular, trendy mid-town hotel) we were left to fend for ourselves to find where the party was located. There was no signage and not a person in sight to direct us where to go. Luckily we figured it out quickly and filed into line like cows to the slaughter. And, when we did encounter the first person we saw who looked like they knew what they were doing, there wasn't a smile in sight. These twenty something girls looked like they would rather be watching the Bachelor finale than doing their job.
Rabidon't - Don't be rude. Smile - while you may not like your job - you're the first impression to the party. If you are miserable, what kind of message are you sending to the guests who are waiting in line.
That was another thing - the line... I can't stand attending an event where you have to wait in line and be grilled like you want to get into Marquee to party with Lindsay Lohan (not that I ever would mind you) They had one girl (yes, she was miserable) checking off names for about 200+ attendees. When I went to give her my name she snapped "first only".
Rabido - When throwing a party where a guest list is needed be sure to have at least two to four friendly people quickly checking off names. Keeping guests waiting and being a bitch will only sour their welcome.
By this point my partner Michael and I desperately needed a drink and I was happy to see a large bar that was well manned. "Finally something positive" I thought to my self only until I realized I had to pay $40 to get cocktails at a party where the invite stated to come and enjoy a party filled with drink, food and an opportunity to mix and mingle with the cast. Never in all my years have I been invited to an industry event where I had to pay for my own drinks. And, as if that wasn't enough, I noticed we had to pay for our own food. There were no passed appetizers, no passed signature beverages...You had to pay for everything. And that my friends isn't even the best part! There was a VIP area for cast members (remember there was the opportunity to mix and mingle with them) where they stayed huddled being served food and drink while the rest of us had to fend for ourselves.
So, to sum it up. we were invited to a party that was hosted by a major television network, run by inexperienced, unhappy staff, where the invite over promised and under delivered.
And, unfortunately, this event doesn't stand alone. Over the course of the past several years I've attended many wedding or event planning related parties where the food is scarce and the bar almost doesn't exist. I fully get these events cost money... But when did it become okay to over promise and under deliver? If that was the way I ran my business I would be out of business... If you can't fully deliver to an industry where this is what we do for a living then just don't throw a party. It's unfortunate that we as event planners and event attendees have allowed this to become the status quo.
So the question is this: will industry parties keep this status quo or will they change?
I know one thing is for sure, I'll never watch that dis-TASTE-ful show again!
Until next time...