October 24, 2009

Recently, I have been assisting a local corporation review vendor general capabilities for both their annual user conference, and their corporate sales and services incentive program. This is a role reversal for me, as I spent a lifetime on the other side – responding to client RFPs for similar meetings and events.

It’s been a lengthy process as we developed briefs on each event, pertinent questions for which we needed answers, searched for local and national vendors, and then answered the inevitable questions raised by each recipient of the RFPs. Eventually responses started to arrive, and over the last two weeks, I have accumulated almost 2500 pages of materials.

I have just finished reviewing and judging the results for the second event under consideration.

I feel like I deserve to spend the afternoon at the spa as a reward for my perseverance.

It took far too long to learn this life lesson, but after I apologize to every client who has ever gotten a proposal from me full of the latest buzz words of the day used to communicate that I am the only one that knows how to do this right, I am going to make a new checklist for myself.

Not only must I watch the paper poundage, but re-read and re-read and re-read. Although an occasional misspelling, grammatical error, or forgetting to change all the client-specific names in the stored copy is irritating, it is nothing compared to ignoring directions, pretending to be something one is not, using a superior tone, or telling me I have to work on desired outcomes first, when I have provided C-level desired outcomes in the brief! Thank goodness I normally have–as did these vendors–some good ideas buried in all those superfluous words to give some sort of a payback to the poor readers.

Had I only realized years ago what a miserable experience this was from the client perspective, I am sure I could have invented some other way of doing this. Any ideas about how we can initiate change?

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