Here's How You Kick Off An Event!
Updated: Sep 19, 2018
My husband and I stood shivering but expectant in the 20 degree January evening. We stood in front of The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. The crisp, clear night spanned before us as we gazed at the art soaring up out of the main gallery. We stood with about 50 other guests, waiting for the first seating for Jazz at The Bechtler to empty...and then we'd get our turn.
People were quietly whispering to those with whom they came, pulling scarves a little tighter, tucking their hands in warm pockets. It was pleasant, but no one was talking to the couple or ground standing behind or in front of them.
Then, something wonderful happened. A voice rang out:
"WELCOME TO THE BECHTLER MUSEUM OF MODERN ART! Tonight is a special night, and you are in for some fabulous jazz. Please hang with us as we will get you in very shortly. We are about to wrap up the first concert, and we'll have you in where it's nice and warm in just a few minutes. Please bear with us. I can tell you, tonight's jazz is gonna be hot, hot, hot."
I still don't know his name; I know he wasn't the marketing director or curator. He wore a a bright orange vest--like a security or building services rep might wear. His rich, enthusiastic greeting transformed the dynamic of that crowd standing in line. People started to smile and look each other in the eye. Everyone relaxed, and the cold loosened its grip on the mood. The couple next to us asked us if we'd been to the concerts before. Another gentleman near us told us he tried not miss any of them. When the line started to move, everyone felt buoyant and excited.
As I left the concert that evening (it's one the BEST bang for the bucks you'll ever find in Charlotte), I stopped on the way out and told the gentleman how much his greeting had set the stage for a magical night of jazz and passion for music. Every artist had acted like they were playing for their last concert. Their collaboration and utter joy spirited us all to a place that only art can take you.
Takeaway: How am I kicking off my next event? How will I use the time spent standing in line to groom my guests for what's to come? How long has it been since I really thought about my WELCOME? I'm taking a lesson from the guy at The Bechtler.