After months of preparation, organization, extra work to compensate for lack of volunteers, scheduling, and excitement, your activity is done. The sleepless nights worrying if you have enough napkins, thumbtacks, dollar bills, or shopping bags are over. The numbers- telephone numbers, budget needs, fundraising goals, supply costs, volunteers needed to make it work- they have all been counted. Your event was likely a great success! You did good! Nice work on a job well done.
Right. You did do a good job. You worked hard to make something happen, and the kids and families at your school benefit from the effort and energy you (and your committee) put into the event. Thank you, I say sincerely and with great feeling. It could not have happened without you!
Unfortunately, there are people who were not happy with the event. This is where a great conflict happens, and I want to address it so that you can get on with the patting on the back part.
Critique is good. Criticism helps work out kinks. People have ideas on how to do something differently, and their ideas can often bring about a fun twist to a future event. Let them speak, and do not take offense. Thank them for their input, and make a note of it for the next event. It might come in handy for whoever chairs next year.
That said, there are a few strong emotions that might get in the way of a good critique. If you are faced with a "Critiquer" who is very emotional or angry, of if you are feeling angry in the face of this critique, take a breath. Listen to what the person is saying, and try your best to remove the emotion from any statement. In other words, try and find the very basic complaint. Do not take the criticism personally- generally people are not angry with YOU, they are frustrated with a perception they have created from an unhappy experience. See if you can solve that problem: either by restating the rules, apologizing, taking notes for the future, or taking action.
Although the timing of complaints can often ruin the good feelings of your great event, remember that they are still an important part of the process. Again, avoid taking them personally. Take them in, note them for the future, and keep on smiling.
1) Ask each of your committee chairs and executive committee members to keep a folder/binder with notes, ideas, and training. The binder stays with the office or committee so your next leader knows where to begin!
2) Support a committee of 2 or more people for every event, program, and actvity. This committee will be a part of the process, and can be a great asset when looking for a new chair in the future.
3) Allow and nurture collaborative efforts for your events, programs, and activities. When people feel that their input is considered and welcomed, then they feel more invested in the whole process. Valued volunteers are valuable volunteers!
What do you suggest? What has worked for your team?
Council Leaders will be writing articles relating to their committee or favorite interest. You are encouraged to respond! Ask questions, add your experiences, contribute to the conversation. We are all in this together!