The Inspiration for the Event Whisperers
by Michael Christman

When Facebook called me to ask if I would come talk to them about a project, my first thought was, “Crap, I’m just not cool enough anymore.” I was on Facebook, of course – but we all know how young they are, and I’d been in the business for decades. The first part of my career, I was usually among the youngest and hippest person in the room – not too hard when you’re working with tech firms run by geeks. They needed me to make them cool.

But I went anyway, just to see what they were up to. My client was just out of college. They were all pretty young but had the same hard working, driven vibe I was used to. We met in a room full of video and arcade games. I took them through a process – asking question and listening – to get an idea of their objectives and a sense of their brand and culture from the inside. I gave them examples from my own work history of events that I thought could help us with our planning – and was taken aback when one of the team said, “Wow, I was like seven when you did that event.” And another said, “You really did that? I thought that was just a legend.”

It didn’t help that Mark Zuckerberg and his co-founders barged into the room, hitting my chair in the back with the door and annoying me, and I turned to them and said, “If you want to play with the Wii, go ahead, but we’re having a meeting here.” My client gracefully said, “This might be a good time for you to meet our founders….”

And so it went. They did things that I advised against. But they gave me a lot of room to manage the process. We collaborated on all the creative and planning aspects, and they relied on my firm to make it all work. And for the first time, I saw that my experience was at least as valuable as my ideas and creativity. And I conceded. This new client had their own ideas, what they needed was expert help making it real.

Today, we launch the Event Whisperers, a group of event industry experts, talented friends and trusted colleagues all, dedicated to helping clients make it real.