Having the Stones
When you, the event planner / producer sits down with a client for the first time, it's an exciting event. Everyone is full of ideas and visions about how great the event can and will be.
General needs were discussed during the hiring process, but once the planner has been hired by the client, everything comes out on the table and you find out some very interesting things about the client's wants and expectations. Whether it's a small association meeting or a huge industry conference, you never know what surprising ideas they might have in mind.
"I know we discussed several hotel options, but I really want it to be at the Grand Glorious Resort because I absolutely adore that fountain they have out front."
"Oh, and though I'm not picky about food, please make sure that the caterer can make one of the entrees be Grilled Albino Alligator Kabobs."
"And of course, our CEO, who is 63, is a HUGE Rolling Stones fan, so make sure you can get
The Stones for the after-dinner entertainment."
Slight exaggerations perhaps, but nonetheless it is always interesting to see what comes out that had never been mentioned up to that point. As the event organizer, the most important thing you can do now is to stay calm, considerate, and thoughtful.
Jumping right out with, "Are you nuts?! With your budget we'll be lucky to get Captain Geech and the Shrimp Shack Shooters!" will put up a wall of negativity that can be difficult to negotiate around. Instead, give creedence to the suggestions, "Wow, wouldn't it be great to see Mick and the boys rockin' over there at the Grand Glorious! I will check into that, but I think we may need to consider more affordable options as well."
On the flip side, that first meeting gives YOU a chance to present your most creative ideas. Before you were hired, you may have been a bit conservative in what you presented, but now that the pressure of making the deal is off, you have more freedom to put it all out there.
Say you've come up with a brilliant theme idea that has never been done before. Give it a shot, but don't be married to it. In all creative arts, sometimes you have to part with your favorite creations for the good of the business. It's difficult, but a thick skin is a requirement in the Meetings & Events industry. Don't let your feelings get hurt if the client scoffs at your favorite idea.
It's their show. You're just there to make it work.