23 May 2015

Event etiquette (i.e. how to not act like a dick)

Last night when I was at an event and feeling tipsy on a cocktail of bellinis, mojitos and ale (as in, a cocktail of cocktails PLUS ale, bleurgh), I had a thought - dangerous - that it would be good to do a little etiquette guide slash what not to do at events. Y'know, just in case anyone was interested.

I mean, I'm not the oracle of knowledge when it comes to events, and I'm not a great networker. And I'm pretty sure no one would describe me as a social butterfly... But, I occasionally get the chance to go to events as a blogger (/blagger) or on behalf of the publication I'm interning at, so I feel like I'm slowly starting to learn what's what.

Arrive on time. If it's a breakfast, presentation, appointment, etc - you don't want to hold the proceedings up. It's far better to be 10 minutes early and look really keen than 10 minutes late, thus pissing the PRs off (who, trust me (as an ex-PR gal), would never say they're pissed off, but they are) and interrupting the whole shindig with your chair scuffling and almost knocking someone out as you quickly fling your coat off/throw your bag down.

Coty Nail Bar

Forget to Citymapper/Google Maps the event location and get hideously lost. Even if you're being super fancy and Uber-ing it there, you aren't going to get far without at least the hotel name. Really, the only responsibilities you have are to 1) turn up and 2) turn up on time (see above) after other people have put a lot of time and effort into planning the event. Preparation, people.

Wilkinson Sword 'Legshibition'

Try and remember at least one of the organisers'/PR's names after they've greeted you. There are usually at least 3 PRs at an event, and you need your go-to gal/guy. I've only just realised what a rock PRs can be. When you're on your lonesome, they keep you company, and come for a chat if you look a bit lost/are failing to look entertained by your social media feeds.

Revlon 'It Takes Two' Colorstay Gel Envy

Drink too much. It's pretty much a given nowadays that an event will offer cocktails and canapés, with the former being on tap. In my mind it was a great idea to try each cocktail on the menu at one launch (there were only three, each named after a famous leggy celeb, but it was my second event in one night) and they were quite lethal. I wasn't slaughtered or anything, but I made sure my next drink was sans alcohol, despite the fact the PRs were egging me on to drink more...

Remember you're at an event on behalf of a brand. This kind of leads on from "don't drink too much", because you have to bear in mind that whether you're representing a client, a publishing house, a magazine, or your personal blog, how you behave will reflect on whomever you're representing.

Just go for the freebies. To go for the freebies is to miss out on everything an event has to offer, and it looks a) shallow and b) desperate. Also, unless you're press for a big national/weekly publication, the PR will be loathe to invite you to their next event. Or, you'll just get a bad reputation, and trust me, people in the fashion/beauty biz TALK.

Ciate Colour Cosmetics

Participate. Take pictures, tweet, use the event hashtag (so they can calculate the total reach of the event, v. important). Enjoy the canapés and drinks and experience any treatments on offer. Basically, be a good guest.

Rimmel 'Wake Me Up' Launch

Outstay your welcome. Know when the party is over, or when someone needs to end the conversation because they have other people they need to mingle with. In terms of the latter, don't take it personally, as for most it's their job to mingle and network. If you feel like there's a lull in the atmosphere, take your cue, say your goodbyes, and leave on a high.

B Cosmetics 'B Sweet' Collection

Try to chat to at least one person who you haven't chatted to before. As a self-confessed loner at these things, it's easy to see when people have come with a friend, or when people congregate and hug each other because they haven't seen one another in forever. Cliques are inevitable, because usually the same people are invited to every event. Try to break the mould - bite the bullet and introduce yourself.

bareMinerals 'Pop of Passion'

Make any promises you can't keep. Generally, the point of a product launch/brand event is for coverage, so lying to a PR about if/when you'll feature the product is a huge no-no. Just don't do it. If you want to get in their good books, chat to them and be nice and say what a great event it is and how much fun you're having.

Backstage at Fashion Scout with The Body Shop

Feed back. Whether you feedback colleagues post-event, or personally email a PR to say thank you, or post about the event/product. It's good to show you're grateful for the experience and weren't just there for a jolly and freebies (see above), and it keeps the event fresh in your mind for journalistic purposes.

So there you have it - Sofie's Event Etiquette 101. Have I covered everything? Anyone ever experienced someone committing a terrible event faux pas? Tell me, I love gossip.

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