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  • Event Promotion Tips

How Parkinson’s Law relates to events

  • By Ben Sebborn

  • 28 Jul 2013
  • 5 min read

Anyone that’s spent more than two days in an organisation will recognise the truth in the tongue-in-cheek theory Cyril Northcote Parkinson first brought to life in the 1950s, namely: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” ie organisations tend to expand more than they need to and the individuals they employ will find work to justify their existence. Event promoters tend to run lean teams but it’s easy for the bloat to set in.

The symptoms of Parkinson’s Law

We all do it; when there’s enough time (or too much time) to complete the task in hand we have a tendency to leave the task until it becomes urgent, at that point, when the deadline is on our doorstep we do what would appear implausible and manage to get everything sorted out in time.

Probably the most notable way in which Parkinson’s Law is starting to effect our everyday lives is how much time we spend at home working on things we should be working on in work hours, because we can easily sit with a laptop or tablet in front of the tv and do it. Are we really any more productive for the knowledge that we can work on things virtually 24 hours a day or are we just kidding ourselves that we are?

It’s fair to say that everyone at some point does this, some more than others, and it’s important when you’re running something as time sensitive and often penny sensitive as an event that you recognize it and put things in place to get more most productivity out of everyone without the need to add to the team (thereby expanding the time being taken to do the same or only slightly more work).

Some ideas to help deal with Parkinson’s Law

The basics of time management need to be considered, how are you setting yourself and the team tasks? Are thy tasks that start and end or do they just merge into one giant never ending task that is hard to define? The obvious one really is to make sure you’ve got time limits for yourself and the people around you, if things are taking longer than anticipated it’s fair enough to ask why and try to work out what’s happening. If it’s your event the people around you are only following your lead, they need guidance to achieve the best they can be – if Parkinson’s Law is inevitable you can at least have a hand in limiting it’s effects on your events.

Probably the most counter intuitive method of dealing with Parkinson’s Law is to incentivise yourself and your team to finish tasks early. Generally if someone finishes everything they’ve been tasked with early they know they’re going to have to start something else, so there’s a disincentive to finish that task early, rather they let drag it out as long as they can – it’s human nature. In such a time sensitive world as event promotion having dawdlers on the team could have a detrimental impact.

If you’re paying people a pre-agreed amount you could literally let them go home early. Many salaried workers in the corporate world work on the kind of flexi-time that means as long as they’re hitting their targets they can work the hours they want and although the events sector is traditionally based on per hour rates if you’re prepared to estimate the hours and stick to an amount, letting your staff literally finish early means in the long run you’ll really know how long things take and how much to attribute to wages.

Using Skiddle to help deal with Parkinson’s Law

Adding events to Skiddle are easy and it really shouldn’t be something that you have to get someone else to do or spend any particular amount of time on doing, it’s just a case of getting them added, putting your tickets on there and sitting back and checking in from time to time to see how things are doing so you can adjust your event promotion strategy accordingly. Better still when adding your events to Skiddle your events are also added to a wide variety of websites that are affiliated with Skiddle, such as DataTransmission, Gigs and Festivals and Mixmag therefore you don’t have to double key with multiple ticket outlets to maximise the impact of your event. To get started visit: skiddle.com/promotion

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