Saturday, September 24, 2005

Doin’ my ‘ed in

I am currently planning three events for three consecutive weeks. Two of these are for different divisions of the same client and all three are based in the same city: sunny Edinburgh.

What confusion! When I was asked to do the first event, I simply wrote ‘Edinburgh’ in my calendar for the various meetings, planning sessions, and event days. Then, when the second and third events came along, I had no idea what the calendar entries referred to. When speaking with one client I would call him by the name of another and when trying to earn the client’s trust by referring to his turn of phrase, I would rely on another client’s jargon.

Two observations: First of all, keeping these events straight in my head requires that I document my entire thought process even more thoroughly than I usually do. I keep ragged pages of discussion notes, abandoned drafts, e-mail print-outs, and even annotated photos of my event sponsors in separate event folders.

Second, and more interestingly, I am letting the confusion run its course. When I confuse one client’s metaphor or solution element, or term of art for another, I let it stand and stand back to see what happens. The accidental application of one client’s perspective to another client’s problem is starting to lend the events an element of surprise which the client sponsors can feel and which they have commented on with wonder and uncharacteristic optimism.