I had traveled across the country to deliver a workshop for a company that was facing a tough challenge: their business focus was shifting and the team was resistant.
I had arranged with a colleague in the area to work with me to lead exercises designed to reveal personal stories of the team members’ first encounter with the company.
I did not hear from my colleague on the day of the workshop, so I picked up my cell phone and called her. What happened next was a lesson in contracts and communication.
“Today,” she said incredulously? “No, it’s tomorrow.”
That went on for about 30 seconds before I asked if she could change her plans and come today. No, she couldn’t. So I lead the exercises without her.
This misunderstanding has happened for other meetings and events. It’s not as rare as you may think.
One company told me that the event coordinator for an off-site day-long session called in the morning to ask where the training team was … only to find out that it was on the calendar for the following day. The company was able to rally trainers from their sleep and get them to the site in time to deliver the training, but it was a scramble.
A Simple Fix
Here’s a simple fix that will eliminate the possibility of this ever happening to you.
When you write about the event in the contract and emails, always put the day of the week along with the calendar date.
A confirmation email would say, “You and I are scheduled to review the training session on Monday, August 16th.”
By including the day of the week, you double your chances that all parties will be on the same page. It provides two anchors, day and date.
Some lessons can only be taught by experience. I hope you have lots of both.
William Hall is an actor, trainer and improviser living in San Francisco, CA. He works with companies to engage and involve audiences at Trade Shows, Conferences and Training Sessions. He is a founder of BATS Improv and the author of The Playbook: Improv Games for Performers.