‘We are the torchbearers’

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Julian Agostini, Mash Media MD, on the importance of sticking to your guns and not making excuses.

 

Do people even bother with New Year’s resolutions anymore? Happy New Year by the way.


It seems to be widely accepted now that these are only set for mild amusement. No one actually believes that they are going to be achieved, not even you, the person who sets them. What’s that all about?


My father would be spinning in his grave. He was a very laid-back man but an absolute stickler for doing what you said you were going to do. It was the only thing that ever really riled him and, in my eyes at least, made him special.


No doubt we all attended our fair share of Christmas parties over the Yuletide period, but how many other invites did we accept, yet not quite make? Is that OK?


Of course it isn’t. Let’s be brutally honest: it’s plain rude and demonstrates a total lack of breeding. Look, we all know it’s easy to get away with and the excuses you can just choose from (which no one truly believes) are endless. Here are a few favourites:

‘I got stuck in a meeting’
‘Called into an emergency troubleshoot by the boss’
‘Just so busy at work...couldn’t get away from the office’
‘A client has come in from abroad’
‘Been to so many things just needed to spend some time with the family’
‘Went home ill...just exhausted, I think’
‘Had to pick up my child’

The list goes on, but we all know what these all translate to: When I needed to make the effort, I just didn’t fancy it.


It’s all justifiable in our own heads if we want it to be, but the reality is that none of us were brought up like that and it’s simply not acceptable behaviour. That in itself should make us reflect, but there’s more to this that makes it worse.


Of all the people in the world, how can event organisers be comfortable as no-shows? It’s like the bullied kid at school ending up being a bully – is that what we are?


We are the torchbearers, the standard carriers for events of all types, are we not?


What is one of our key bugbears? The no-show, of course; people who say they are going to come and then don’t for no good reason. There is safety in numbers – everybody lets everyone down.


Yes doesn’t mean yes anymore. In the wider world, an excuse is no longer even required because reliability is so unusual. Scary, but we all just take it; more than that, we factor it into our thinking and planning.


It would be easy to accept these ever-decreasing standards, but in the words of some Welsh band, ‘If you tolerate this, then your children will be next’.


Continuing the music theme, if we want to make a change then we start with the man in the mirror.


If we are worse than anybody, as an industry, at not turning up when we said we would, then how can we expect our staff or customers to be any different? Once it reaches the staff and customers, you can guarantee that this attitude will permeate every pore and our whole industry reeks of it.


Too far-gone to change it? Come on. We’re the industry that never ducks a challenge; we change the world because we’re always showing that what ordinary folk think is impossible, exhibition people make possible.
So here’s my challenge: How about an industry resolution this year?


We don’t have to go to everything, or indeed anything, BUT if we say we’re going to go, then we’ll be there. If we should fail on any occasion, it’s £50 to charity, for example.


Improve our own standards and in two or three years, you might just see your pre-registration turn into a few more visitors…or we could just pretend to give up smoking!

Julian Agostini
Posted by Julian Agostini
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