Yesterday I – let’s be honest here – flung up a blog post based on something I’d heard on the radio: Sir Michael Parker, the Royal Events Organiser, talking about his rules for organising events.
What he said caught my attention, but at the time I simply thought that his rules were sort of relevant, at least in parts, to the events we organise, and that they might be interesting to others who organise events. I didn’t think much more about it (though actually my dad emailed to complain that I’d misspelled “principal”, so I did have to revisit the post to correct it).
But yesterday evening I was pottering about the kitchen and I heard the same programme broadcast again (this is Radio 4 we’re talking about, after all). It struck me that perhaps Sir Michael’s words had particularly resonated with me not just because they were relevant to events we might put on, but because they felt relevant to lots of different kinds of endeavours. They certainly felt relevant, to me, to the whole business of setting up an independent, print and digital, children’s publishing business in the middle of a recession, in the middle of a challenge to high-street retail selling, and in the middle of a digital revolution.
Almost three years on from announcing we existed, and two years on from our first publication, I’d like to think that Nosy Crow has stuck to many, if not all, of Sir Michael’s rules for events when we are planning and running our whole business.
So, once more, with feeling, here are Sir Michael’s eight rules which can be applied to any enterprise or undertaking:
1. Have a very big idea and then double it
2. If it’s easy to do then it’s not worth doing
3. If you are given more than one option, take the difficult one
4. If you are 100% certain that something will work, then you are not being ambitious enough
5. Never regard “no” as an answer and treat experts with caution
6. Try never to tell people what is supposed to happen and then they won’t know if it hasn’t
7. Always stand as close as possible to the principal guest (for us, that could be an author, an illustrator, a customer, a librarian or a reviewer) so that you will be first with excuses when things go wrong
8. It must be as much fun for everyone as possible
It you want to listen to the progranmme – it’s Midweek from yesterday – then here it is. Sir Michael supplies his rules 21:06 into the show.