QUICK, QUICK, QUICK! I NEED AN EVENT TOMORROW… “We are launching a new game changing product and we want our people to get really excited about this new opportunity. We have a sales conference next week. Can you please find me a venue and make sure the event is a huge success?” Short lead times are nothing new. But perhaps the ever quickening pace of the business world, partly driven by technology, has meant that there is a greater expectation that projects can be delivered in ever decreasing time frames. Short lead times are both a blessing and a curse. By definition, our profession is all about finding effective solutions to our clients’ requirements. Fast turnaround and flexibility should be one of the hallmarks of an effective event agency. That doesn’t mean that when the urgent project lands on our desks that they aren’t a significant challenge. From a practical perspective, finding suitable venues and available suppliers to deliver to the high standards we all expect can be difficult. Budgets are also much harder to contain when there is a short lead time. There is often less room to negotiate, when the person you are dealing with knows you are ‘between a rock and a hard place’. There is an old saying in business: Good. Cheap. Quick: You can only pick two. Apply that principle to short lead times and you have an effective answer to budget issues. In the frenzy of the short lead project, it’s often easy to lose site of the most important aspect of an event – what is the desired outcome: What does the client want the audience to know, feel and do in the days, weeks and months after the event? In putting together a fast and furious event, the client’s objective needs to be firmly at the top of mind in all decision making. This takes discipline and focus and often having robust discussions to avoid taking the easiest path under pressure. The path of least resistance is often not the path to an effective event outcome! Naturally, the more time we have to develop an event campaign strategy, the better. But sometimes that’s just not how it works. Our job as professionals is to take the burden away from our clients, allowing them to focus on their roles and applying our creativity and communication skills to deliver truly business-changing results. And sometimes, this needs to be done under tight time frames. That’s what makes us professionals. Rob Frank is the Creative Director of Verve Creative Events, one of the most awarded event companies in Australia.