Recently I attended a food-tasting event. In addition to sampling a variety of entries of the type being highlighted, the paying attendees were handed a paper ballot and instructed to vote for their favorite food sample. The organizers assigned each presenter a number so all we had to do was write the number on the ballot. As the first wave of tasters passed through the hall an announcer reminded us to vote, and also to write our name on the back of the ballot to enter for door prizes.
There was one major problem (as well as a couple minor ones) with this scenario:
there was no place for these 100+ tasters to deposit their ballots
[minor problems: no provided writing instruments for ballots; not instructing voters to give contact info as well as name if they did not need to be present to win (which was not defined either)]
I pointed out the lack to the organizer once he was off stage, resulting in a scramble around the venue to find something to use for a ballot box.
One way to lessen the likelihood of this kind of oversight is to walk through, either physically or mentally, and articulate the steps/actions you expect participants in an activity (or yourself) to take. For the above example, if the organizers had visualized and articulated the voting process they might have listed these steps:
1. Attendee pays/shows admission ticket at door.
– hand him/her one voting ballot; explain they should note the best sample they taste on it, and also write their name and email address if they want to participate in the door prize drawing.
2. Attendee tastes samples, chooses their favorite
– Assign each presenter a number for voting ID and provide a sign displaying that number for each table.
3. Attendee votes
– Set up a ballot box in a clearly visible area (by the door? at end of tables?) and provide writing implements for voters who don’t walk around with pens in their pocket.
This is also a good practice for anything you plan to do that requires more than that you just show up wearing some clothing (or not…):
– If you perform with a band visualize yourself on stage at that venue, playing that set list: “Oh right! I need to bring the melodica for that song!“ “Last time that venue didn’t have enough DI boxes – I should pack one”
– Check the items you need before leaving: “Hmm – the A/C cable for the amp isn’t in my gig bag…”
– “The workshop schedule includes a hike – better bring my boots”
A few minutes spent reviewing your needs in advance can save you aggravation/embarrassment later!