18 September 2014

Challenges and Rewards of Party Hosting

People always look forward to attending events such as birthday parties, anniversaries, weddings, soirees and the like. Once the invites are out, they go gaga over the clothes they should wear, venue, setting, attendees and most of all the experience that awaits them. It has been a part of everyday life.

I've been to different kinds of events and I must say that as time passed by, my personal views in attending such also varied. When I was younger, the games, prizes and party bags were all that matters to me. Teenage years gave me more reasons to be excited since I've learned to mingle with friends during parties. I've become particular with my style and the kind of crowd that I'd walk into. As I matured, I was more into the acquaintances and overall experience I'd get. I became very keen to details such as the setup of the venue, theme and everything that entails event styling. That brought me to develop such interest in event planning. 

3 years ago, I've decided to enroll myself in Events Management at DLSU-CSB. It's a modular course that requires you to attend 6 module classes for you to actually get a diploma. Unfortunately, due to some personal reasons I only finished 1 module, which was Event Planning and Coordination. I really learned a lot during the 6 weeks training. It was worth the time, money and effort. Then, I started hosting and preparing small events for relatives and was privileged to be a part of the event organizers in my previous work. 

In my current job as a Customer Service Representative, I'm glad because I have been given a chance to do party hosting as well. At first, I thought it was such a daunting task but once you get to know the ABCs, you'll definitely love and enjoy it. But mind you, to be assigned as a party host was never easy. A big responsibility lies in my hands. My job doesn't only focus on holding the microphone and let the kids play games. A big NO. My main task? I have to be involved from planning, coordination up to the execution part of the party. Tough right? 

I've decided to share with you a few positive and negative sides of my job. However, I'd rather use the words challenges and rewards to make it sound professional. I'll base it to the experiences I've had in hosting different kinds of birthday parties. When I say different, I'm pertaining to the nationalities and cultures of our clients. Let me start of with the challenges.  

1. Handling picky / OC clients: 
Not the chosen ones but the "choosy" ones. They are very particular with everything. From the decorations, games, prizes and even the kind of music to be played during the party. Dealing with these kinds of people is really challenging. You need to extend your patience a bit longer and as much as possible try to provide all their needs. Remember that their satisfaction will always be an accomplishment on your part. 

2. I did my best but I guess my best wasn't good enough. 
There are instances wherein you've already exhausted all your efforts and energy just to make the party a successful one. Unfortunately, the clients were still not satisfied. You then question yourself: where have I gone wrong? Lighten up! You can never please everybody. As long as you know that you did your best, you never have to worry a thing. Just take this as a learning experience. You can do better next time. 

3. Communication Barrier
Since I work in a country where Arabic is the main language, communication is really an issue. Not all people understand and speak English. At times, I find it hard to talk to the kids and proceed with the program because all I see are merely blank faces. It's as if they wanted to tell me: What are you talking about? Nobody understands you. So the best thing to do is to at least learn a few Arabic words to help you communicate with them. 

4. Less time for preparation
There are times when we have two consecutive parties in a day and an hour interval is all that we have to prepare for the second one. A bit stressful even if I'm working with a partner. Pressure is also there because both parties should be executed properly. However, the good side is it teaches us how to maximize our time. Better roll up your sleeves and get things done as early as you can rather than procrastinate and disappoint your clients.

5. Unexpected guests
During the booking, I always ask my client the number of expected guests so it would help us in the preparation of the venue and program. "Around 20 or 30. More or less 50." However on the day of the party, the number of guests doubled. Something inevitable which is already beyond our control. Instead, we just make sure that everybody's comfortable and enjoying at the same time. Better to also have an alternative plan like extra games and/or prizes if incase they request for additional activities. 

But of course, there is always a good side to everything. Most of the time, I get to enjoy the perks of being a party host. There are tangible and intangible rewards that will make you feel grateful and appreciated. 

1. Ka-ching! Ka-ching! 
Oh yes! Aside from the monthly allowance given by the company, I also receive generous tips from my clients. It feels great when your efforts are recognized and appreciated by other people. Hardwork really pays off. But don't expect that everybody gives tips. A smile and a simple thank you from them are more than enough to make you feel good. 

2. Practice makes perfect
Even if you keep doing the same thing everyday, you will and will still commit mistakes. What I love about this job is it boosts my confidence especially speaking in front of people who hardly know me. It also gives me a chance to enhance my people and communication skills at the same time. Find time to brainstorm also with your partner so you could think of other activities or at least modify your activities depending on the age of the guests. Most of all, inject humor in hosting. Parties should be fun! You wouldn't want to be called as a lousy and boring host, right?

3. Learn about other people's culture
As what I've said earlier, we deal with different nationalities. Most of our customers are Syrians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Germans, Americans, Filipinos, Lebanese, Indians and of course the local people of UAE. Everybody celebrates his or her birthday but not all follows the traditional way of celebrating it. Like for example, it has been a practice for Filipinos to announce their wishes for the celebrant after singing the birthday song. For others, it is not allowed in their culture. They can only sing the song but not give any birthday wishes and messages. It won't hurt to discuss this matter to your clients. It also shows that we are sensitive enough and we respect their cultural beliefs. 

4. You did a great job!
It's a fulfillment on our part to hear positive feedback from our clients. It's a clear indication that they appreciate what you've done and you've made the party absolutely great. Aside from that, there's also a big chance for you to be recommended to their families and friends. A marketing strategy that your company would definitely love. Also, once people witness your hosting prowess, you'll be the most requested party host of the year. Haha! Why not?

5. Create good memories

Last but definitely not the least is we help our clients create good memories for their kids. I remember a time when a kid approached and asked me if I recognized her. I did recognize her face but I totally forgot her name. She told me that she celebrated her birthday just last month and she really had a great time with her friends. That really made me smile thinking I must have done something good to receive such a good remark. At the end of the day, it's not the decors and prizes that matter, but the experience that will remain in their hearts.

I could still remember my facebook post the first time I hosted the party. I really had a huge grin on my face because of the great feedback I received from our client. 

In my five months of hosting parties, I believe that there are still a lot of things that I need to learn and develop. Everyday is a learning process and I'm looking forward to more trainings and interactions with my party colleagues as well. To cap off everything, let me share with you a quote from Sarah Ban Breathnach: “Life is not made up of minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, or years, but of moments. You must experience each one before you can appreciate it.” Just like in party hosting, act as if it's your own party. Enjoy the moment and most of all, have fun. :)

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