Event Management: Less is Definitely More

Graduation Ceremonies: Make them Inspiring

Graduation Ceremonies: Make them Inspiring

I recently attended a Leaving Certificate graduation ceremony for my son, Cillian. It’s a Catholic school so they decided to have a mass, which, I suppose, is understandable. And some music.  About 12 separate pieces actually. Then some speeches.  The Headmaster. The Year Head. The Head Boy. The Head of the Past Pupils Association. At that stage I was ‘losing the head’ along with the will to live. About 2.5 hours into the ceremony, in a supreme effort to stay awake, I seriously contemplated removing my Gall Bladder sans anesthetic or even a hint of medical training. Unfortunately, I couldn’t locate the sharp nail scissors in my inside pocket as it had been forcibly removed at Dublin Airport.   3 hours later, we fell out of the place asking the killer question:  “When exactly did celebration morph into torture?” On a more positive note, it did answer a lifelong question: So, that’s why they call it a ‘passing out’ parade in the army! It brought me back to an earlier experience…

Events Night: The invitation card, which popped through the letterbox, was beautifully packaged. A Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) awards night at the Crown Plaza Hotel, in Santry. I liked the topic and the Northside venue, so was more than happy to tag along for my 3 favourite things. A glass of red, a bit of hand shaking, a sliver of small talk.

Standard Videos: To showcase the work of the nominees, a ‘communications company’ had put the DVD’s together.  Maybe they were under cost or time pressure but using identical graphics and music for each clip didn’t inspire confidence. The first 3 examples were fascinating. The next 3 were interesting. Clips 6 to 9 were watchable. The next 24 nominations (yes, incredibly, 33 individual clips were shown) were mind-numbingly boring.  It was time for a quick consultants prayer: “Dear Lord Jesus, who’s in charge of this? They will not be spared from the wrath of an ever-vigilant blogger looking for Monday morning material. Amen.”

Another Idea:  I’m guessing that the same genius that thought viewing 33 DVD’s would be a delight, also came up with the BIG idea that there is absolutely no need to have 1 MC when you can substitute 3. Each time a new MC ‘took over’ they launched into a personal appraisal of CSR and how important it is. Note to the MC’s: That’s why the audience was there; as far as I know, attendance on the night was voluntary. At that point I was clapping like a frenzied Chimpanzee after every speech, just to keep my circulation going. I went to the toilets so often, someone probably suspected Irritable Bowel Syndrome or a cocaine addiction but it’s not easy to raise either topic in polite company.

Taking Action:  When Lech Walesa addressed the USA Congress he made the point that the world market for words is saturated. Now, admittedly, he was speaking in a different context – pushing world leaders to ‘take action’. Well, we could have done with Lech that evening in Santry. As a former electrician, he could have figured out how to pull the plug on those brutal DVD’s. If I’d had an AK47 in the boot of the car, I just might have taken action myself.  Target #1 would have been taking out the MC’s, issuing a strong demand that they receive ‘re-education’ in rural Roscommon before being allowed anywhere near a microphone in the future.  Note: Key public-speaking point: Try not to repeat what someone else has said earlier. Like Cinderella, I left the function just before midnight. In fairness, the nominations were coming close to the end at that point so I didn’t miss all that much.

Event Design: When you design your next event, just remember that less is more.  Less = it will cost less, run ahead of schedule (less time) and the audience will love you (more) for it. What’s not to like about this? Having a ‘Noble’ topic doesn’t give you a license to bore the audience. By the way, I’m currently checking out some very interesting second-hand military hardware on the web and looking for opportunities to practice.  Please invite me to your next awards ceremony.


PS: Lighter Note. Bit risqué/sexist but very funny from Kevin Griffin (who else?).

Subject: 50 Shades in Reverse!

He was in ecstasy, a huge smile on his face as his wife moved forward, then backwards, forward, then backward again. Back and forth, back and forth. In and out, repeatedly. She could feel the sweat on her forehead, between her breasts and trickling down the small of her back. She was getting near to the end. Her heart was pounding. Her face was flushed. Then she moaned, softly at first, and then began to groan louder. Finally, totally exhausted, she let out an almighty scream and shouted, “Okay, Okay. I can’t park the car. You do it, you smug bastard!”

Check our website http://www.tandemconsulting.ie or call 087 2439019 for an informal discussion about executive or organization development.


About Tandem Consulting

Paul Mooney holds a Ph.D. and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Industrial Sociology from Trinity College, along with a National Diploma in Industrial Relations (NCI). He has a post-Graduate Diploma and a Masters in Coaching from UCD. Paul, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, is widely recognised as an expert on organisation and individual change. He began his working life as a butcher in Dublin before moving into production management. He subsequently held a number of human resource positions in Ireland and Asia - with General Electric and Sterling Drug. Between 2007 and 2010, Paul held the position of President, National College of Ireland. Paul is currently Managing Partner of Tandem Consulting, a team of senior OD and change specialists. He has run consulting assignments in 20+ countries and is the author of 12 books. Areas of expertise include: • Organisational Development/Change & conflict resolution • Leadership Development/Executive Coaching • Human Resource Management/employee engagement
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