Several years ago, a company was going to run a corporate event at one of the prime hotels in Lagos. You probably already have an idea of the location or possible locations. You may understand the fanfare that will accompany that kind of event. We all know that half of the activities will not be needed or noticed but they still go into the event anyway.
Sometimes, the organizers are scared of failure and you can tell from their facial expressions or tones when they talk to you over the phone. They want a perfect event and they sometimes want to see that perfection in you as a vendor. The implication is that you have to be the one allaying fears by demonstrating the perfection they want to see.
I saw the ad for this company’s event and decided to bid to compere the event. I had experience on my side and my diction is good. I’m good looking (even if I say so myself). However, something came up. On the day of the event, I had to use public transportation. I don’t recall what had happened to my car and it was the days before Uber. Taxis were pretty expensive because of the distance so I boarded a danfo bus to a near by bus stop from where I would then use a taxi.
Sadly, while in the danfo bus, my trouser was messed up and I didn’t see it. It was drizzling on that day and the danfo had a small hole just in between my legs. From that hole that gave access to both air and droplets of rain, the mixture gained access to my trouser and changed its colour.
As I alighted from the vehicle, someone pointed my attention to it. I thought I’d take care of it when I got to the client’s office. I wanted to rush into the convenience, clean up and wait at the lobby for the client.
Guess what? By the time I got to the client’s office, she was waiting in the compound. She was on her way out and was just waiting for me before heading out. Because of this, I didn’t get a chance to use the convenience and clean up as planned. She saw the stain on the edge of my trouser and everything changed from that moment.
Before this meeting, we had exchanged emails and talked over the phone. She liked the way I spoke and wrote my emails. She acknowledged that I was really good and had given me some details of the event. As soon as she saw the stain on my trouser, she immediately said the event was too close and the notice too short for me to be able to take on the event.
Ofcourse, that was just her excuse to discard me. I have handled a number of events at such short notice and everything went well. But a small stain that I couldn’t take care of before meeting the client changed everything.
It was painful but a valuable lesson was learnt on that day. This goes beyond your looks when bidding for events if you’re a compere or a vendor in some other ways. It cuts across various things in life. That is how life works. Your appearance will give you a leg in the room ahead of your skills and competences.
Take care of your appearance.
Fola Daniel Adelesi
Edible Pen Training & Development Ltd.