Prominent people should be tactful - Jay Maynard

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Thursday, 10 June 2004


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1947 - Prominent people should be tactful

As has been mentioned in comments, vakkotaur and I went to the Siouxland Renaissance Festival last weekend. This is, IMAO, the best one-weekend faire around, period. The people putting it on put a lot of themselves into the event, and it shows. It's a genuinely fun time. If you're within range of Sioux Falls the first weekend of June next year, I strongly recommend you try it out.

Paul and I are also users of a web board for rennies, At the Faire's The Pub. This board is a gathering place for rennies around the country - primarily the Midwest, but also from other areas as well. There are over 700 registered users. The group is close-knit, and often gathers for invasions in the evenings after faires close - where the crowd is often big enough to take over an entire restaurant.

The Pub is managed by a guy who, by virtue of that, has become something of an authority on faires. He's been to a lot of them, both as a patron and performer, and has assisted with organizing several. He knows the business pretty well, and his observations carry weight.

Unfortunately, sometimes he has the tact of a sleep-deprived Slappy Squirrel.

This can be a problem, because it gets in the way of people listening to his very good suggestions for improvement. He had several good comments on minor problems at Siouxland - PA speakers for the joust that weren't covered, food vendors in T-shirts and baseball caps, that sort of thing - but his message got lost in the noise surrounding his manner of delivery, which included comments on attendance being down (it was, but there are plenty of other, more likely explanations) with the implication that it wouldn't have been a problem if only they'd listened to him.

To make matters worse, he then posted a long message explaining himself - and not making things any better - and then promptly locked the topic (preventing anyone else from following up) to ensure that his message gets read by everyone. This message, among other things, pointed out that people get passionate about this stuff, and that's where he was coming from: his sense of passion.

The problem is not his message. I posted, in that discussion, that one of the folks working on Siouxland was left in tears by his original message. His emailed reply to me was that if pointing out obvious problems left that person in tears, there wasn't much he could do about it. What he utterly fails to realize is that he's not the only one who gets passionate, and letting his passion run wild can and does hurt others.

One major lesson I've learned from my time as project manager for Hercules is that prominent people need to exercise tact in their dealings. I can't let fly with some of the flamage I'd dearly love to, because that would harm my credibility and lose my audience. This person needs to learn the same lesson. A spoonful of sugar does, indeed, help the medicine go down.

current mood: [mood icon] disappointed

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Comments:


From:vakkotaur
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From:irpooh
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AND sooooo... how do we get the word out to them....

IF any are interested... my LJ will shortly have the post I was typing when the topic was locked... talk about feeling the door hit you in the nose... OUCH
From:jmthane
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From:rogue461
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Been there...

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I definitely know what you mean about his delivery. I know he means well in his head and feels that he is trying to be helpful, but the heavy hand that it is dealt with can come across as a slap in the face when you are putting so much of yourself into the event with limited resources.

Two years ago there were quite a few observations and opinions expressed about our faire in St. Louis, some of which came across less as suggestions and often more like attacks. The Executive Director of our faire was somewhat upset about one comment in particular that was made about an entertainment contract. It was not so much that the incorrect comment was made, but rather that when he was shown that the statement was incorrect he never retracted the original statement on the same public forum.

I still do occasionally drop in to the Pub to see what is going on, but am much less active, partially due to those experiences. I completely agree with you, tact and diplomacy go a long way in getting your message communicated instead of being lost.

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