Part two. Successful execution of your Open House

Successful execution of your Open House

On the morning of the day for the Open House, you, along with your employees and temporary assistants (if any) arrive two hours early – before the actual event opens. You gather everyone around you for a final review of everybody’s special assignments.

Check your notebook and go over, step by step, what specific duties have been assigned to each one of the present. Have them confirm that everything works fine – lights are on, the guestbook and name tags are in place, all signs are up and visible, the phone and computers work as expected, each one wears a special name tag with the name of your business, and the printed program for the day is stacked near the entrance. Ask if they understand their role during the upcoming day.

If there will be announcements made during the day, including your welcome speech – check that there be a microphone and – if a big crowd is expected – a podium, in place and working.

Ask the one in charge of food and refreshments to inform the group when and where they are available – to the team and to the guests. It is important that all invitees feel looked after and that they stay as long as possible. Common wisdom tells you that a lengthy stay makes for an informed and engaged customer. A hungry or thirsty visitor will not stay very long.

Make sure the cashier knows what to do with cash, checks and credit card slips at the end of the day.

Special guests.

If you have special guests invited to perform a demonstration or similar, they should arrive one hour before the open house begins. Confirm that the staff member in charge of these invitees have contacted them the day before and made sure that he/she/they know the details – especially when to arrive. Repeat to your team the names of the special invitees.

You, personally, should always greet special guests. To avoid any embarrassment, have them listed on a secret paper you carry in your pocket. Make sure you know how to properly pronounce their names and know where they are coming from, names of the organizations they represent, what special program that may be scheduled to present and at what time. Introduce them to your staff.

Show them to their special place on your premises where they are going to present their program. Ask if they are comfortable with the spot. Take action to accommodate any special wishes they may have.

 Members of the press

If you expect members of the press, make sure everyone understands this and that you cannot control when they – the reporter and photographer – will arrive. Explain to your staff that you will have limited time for talking to them. You will be greeting them, wishing them welcome, hand them whatever paper you have prepared to give a short overview of your business. After that your will turn them over to a selected member of your staff for a thorough tour.

This latter part also applies to the special invitees – representatives of suppliers and VIPs, for instance.

 Your role

 As the leader of this event, you want to make sure that you are free to pursue your own agenda. The less you have to do specifically – things that cannot be delegated – the better prepared you are. There are always unforeseen things happening – when you may need to step in and straighten out the situation.

Your presence during the day   

It’s important that you be seen by the guests. The host/hostess must be visible, appropriately dressed for the occasion, smiling and relaxed. Make sure that your name tag specifically identifies you by name and title. Do not surmise that everybody knows who you are.

You will “be everywhere” and available to answer questions and, as pointed out above, solve any major problem.

Scenario: It’s the end of a very stressful day. Your place of business is empty of guests. You have invited all your employees and temporary assistants to a “thank-you” dinner. You know that there is one more thing to do: To get their opinion of how the day has gone. Ask everybody to give their honest opinion. Ask them to point out – short and succinctly what can be done better next year. Make notes. Do all this while things are fresh in their minds.

Now you are ready to go to dinner and celebrate and give thanks to everybody. It’s been a long day.

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© 2011 by Rolf E. Ericson, Oneonta, New York, publisher. All rights reserved. Photocopying, reproduction , copying, or redistribution of any kind in printed or electronic form is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher.