Rejection is never fun. But whether you like it or not, the fact remains that you will face rejection, especially as an event planner. After all, you’re in the business of dealing with people. You have to speak with potential clients, suppliers, public speakers and performers.
Things will definitely not always go your way and there are countless instances when you’ll just feel down because of all the cancelled contracts and failed negotiations. But hey, let’s not focus on the negatives here!
The Upside of Rejection
In fact, getting used to rejection is a good thing. Sure it hurts a bit but like a paper cut, it will heal eventually. (Okay I lied, paper cuts hurt like hell) But it’s a learning experience nonetheless, and you can turn these stumbling blocks into stepping stones by developing a positive mental attitude. If you take it all as a challenge and not a defeat, you’ll be surprised by what you can accomplish if you press on.
Some Successful Rejects
You can actually take inspiration from these famous individuals who’ve had their own share of failures during their career.
Bill Gates, for instance, wasn’t always known as the richest man in the world. Investors weren’t too enthusiastic about Traf-O-Data, his first company, and so he wasn’t able to raise the needed funds. He eventually formed another company with a partner and named it Microsoft.
Soichiro Honda applied as an engineer on Toyota but was turned him down. While jobless, he began making and selling scooters and launched Honda, his very own business.
Walt Disney was fired by an editor who thought the cartoonist, ironically, lacked imagination.
Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey, likewise, was fired as an evening news reporter by her producer who said she was “unfit for TV.”
How to Handle Rejection
So now goes the million-dollar question: how do you actually handle rejection?
Here are several tips you should keep in mind:
1) Never take it personally
To start, know that self-blame is useless. It’s natural to feel bad but never let it bring you down. To frame it another way, people are simply rejecting your ideas and proposals, not you. Take comfort that you’re still awesome, it’s just that your idea at the time was not.
2) Establish relationships
Burning bridges usually has bad consequences. When you are turned down by someone, do your best to stay polite. The client might lose interest in your business, but your business should never lose interest in the client.
Also, be helpful. Your goal should be to build relationships, not only to seal deals. Besides, a “no” now can still be a “yes” in the future.
3) Learn from the experience
Try to analyze what went wrong. Evaluate how you can improve. Was it the way you handled yourself? Or maybe the content you presented? Was there any misunderstanding in any way? The key here is to know how you should do it next time around so you can keep rejections at a minimum.
4) Laugh about it
Never take things too seriously! Keep in mind that there are a lot of other opportunities out there. Smile, as the old song tells us, and the whole world smiles with you. And yeah, laughter also distresses you a bit, which helps you deal with the rejection better.
5) Stay inspired!
Most importantly, maintain your focus. Review your mission and vision. You’re a work in progress and so the road will never be smooth. Yes, the occasional rock might trip you up, but then again your goal is to reach the end of the road.
Failure is normal and you should consider it as the first step towards success. Clients might end your contract, speakers might pass on your events, and sponsors can turn you down, but you’re still working on your business so keep at it!