Remember “The Christmas Carol?” That movie that has been remade about 100 times and teaches everyone the lesson not to be such a humbug? The movie that has 3 ghost who appear to some cranky old guy who cares about nothing but money? Yes…No…Maybe? Well, either way, let me tell you a similar tale of a cranky old guy who has been running a trade show for years and isn’t willing to change his ways because its been profitable. The Event Management Carol.
The Ghost of Events Past
Ebb is counting his money near a large fireplace. Ebb takes his gold coins and places them in neat stacks on his large oak desk. “I’m so rich! My events ROI is amazing, and I haven’t had to change a thing for years!,” Ebb says to himself. Just then the clock chimes loudly! Ebb flinches and looks up at the clock to see the time. “11pm already? I suppose time flies while counting gold!,” Ebb snickered to himself a little and stood up to put out the fire that had been ragging next to him. Ebb froze, his heart had skipped a beat and a bead of sweat fell down his face. There stood a man in the large fireplace, made of ember, and smiling back at him.
“HELLO!,” the strange man bellowed. Ebb fell backwards over his chair and knocking his gold to the floor. “Wh-who are you?”
“I am the the Events Ghost of Christmas Past! I know it’s a mouth full but thats who I am.”
Ebb started to stand up, “What do you want? Why are you here?”
“Ahh, yes, the usual questions. Well, just grab my hand and all will be answered in time.”
Ebb paused and looked down at the out stretched hand of the strange ghost who was still slightly on fire. He didn’t know what to do, so he pretended to reach for the ghost’s hand, but instead, pushed him away and back into the fireplace. What Ebb didn’t know is that all the ghost needed was a touch, and Ebb fell into the fireplace along with the Ghost.
When Ebbs eyes opened he was in the middle of a trade show. “Am I dead?” Ebb looked around and started to recognized where he was, it was his very first trade show! “You must be pleasantly surprised.” The ghost stood up off the ground and brushed off his robes. Ebb looked at the Ghost and saw him for the first time without the flames. He was a tall man with a colorful robe made of old pamphlets and brochures from past trade shows and conventions. His hair was short and red, and his eyes all black. “This, is your first trade show Ebb!
Just then, Ebb saw a younger version of himself. “The Trade Show, it’s wonderful! So great, its giving me goosebumps,” the young Ebb said. He was younger and more full of life and ideas.
“I agree! Its great! It should be hard to top, but it will be fun to plan for next year,” a young woman said as she walked along the younger Ebb.
“Thats a young Jane, my trade show manager,” Ebb said to the ghost. “Ah, yes, you were both so young and full of ideas. You had the world in your palms and you were excited to be innovative and diffrent.” The ghost turned around and started to walk out of the trade show. “Wait! I want to stay. I want to see more and stay here!” Ebb grabbed the back of the ghost’s robe and tried to pull him back. The robe flew off the ghost and fell on top of Ebb.
The Ghost of Events Present
Ebb struggled to get the robe off of him, and when he finally did, he noticed he wasn’t in his first trade show any longer, he was home in bed. “What the heck?” Ebb scratched his head and breathed a sigh of relief, or maybe it was a bit of sadness. He looked over at the fire place and saw the fire was gone and his gold coins were neatly stacked back on his desk. “Was it a dream? Am I going Crazy?” Just then the clock hit midnight. Ebb flinched again and looked towards the clock.
“Scary isn’t it?” A disembodied voice asked. Ebb screamed and looked next to him.
“Hello!” A middle aged woman was standing next the bed. She is was holding a clipboard with lots of names on it. Ebbs name was next in line unmarked. “Let me guess. Ghost of the ‘trade show’ present or something,” Ebb sighed. “Yes, since you know the deal how about you just grab my hand and get this done. I have a lot of work to do today and if we can express this process that would be great!” The ghost reached out her hand and Ebb hesitated, but obliged.
A flash of light blinded Ebb and he closed his eyes. When he opened them he was back in the middle of a trade show floor. “What is this? I have been here before, this is my first trade show! You messed up ghost, we’re supposed to be in the present.”
“We are,” The Ghost replied. “Look around, notice the clothes everyone is wearing. Notice that the cars outside, notice the banner that says 2017…” Ebb stumbled around a little. He was confused but started to recognize this was the same show he held only a few months ago. Just then he saw himself standing in the corner of the show room floor talking on his phone not paying attention to what was going on around him. Ebb then noticed his event manager, she was running around running the event. She was tired and looked bored. All the light in her eyes from the past had been lost. “What is wrong with her? Why is she so… sad?” The ghost looked at the poor event manager. “She’s overworked, but also bored. She thought this show would grow and become something she could be proud of, but because you only care about keeping it simple and are fine with the ROI you have now, she works hard but for what?”
Ebb scoffed. “So what! I’m making my money. She’s getting paid, why else does she want? Im happy, she should be happy too.” Ebb crossed his arms and started to walk away. “She won’t last much longer you know,” the Ghost sighed.
“She’s going to die?! Is she sick?” Ebb turned to the Ghost concerned about Jane.
“Oh my no! She’s going to quit and find another job that will not only make he more money, but shell also get to do something new and innovated like she’s always wanted.” Ebb felt sick. “But she’s the best! The only reason I… well whatever. She can do what she wants. If it isn’t broke don’t fix it.” The ghost shook her head and stared at Ebb. “You’re going to make us get the ghost of the future out aren’t you?”
“Bring it on,” Ebb scoffed, again.
The Ghost of Present Events checked off Ebbs name and lifted her clipboard above her head. “What are you…” The Ghost then hit Ebb as hard as she could on the head. “OW! What are you doing?! Is that supposed to knock me out?” Ebb rubbed the top of his head. “No. You just annoy me. Go through the door and get ready for the next ghost.” Ebb glared at the ghost as he walked through the doors.
The Ghost of Events Future
Ebb was surprised, even though he shouldn’t have been, to be back in his room. He turned around to look back at the show, but only saw his bathroom.
“Ok, can we hurry this up and get the the next ghost please?”
Just then the clock rang but only once.
“Great, I’m not going to get a lot of sleep tonight.” As Ebb started to make his way to bed, he noticed he struggled to move forward. He started to walk faster and then running. But he couldn’t move, nothing changed! Thats when he decided to turn around again only to see the next ghost.
An old man who’s shorts were way too short and his wig… well, you could tell it was a wig, stood behind Ebb. “Hello young man! Where do you think you’re going?” The Ghost of Future Events was standing behind ebb and holding onto his shirt.
“There you are, what took you so long old man. Let’s get this over with. I have lots of meetings tomorrow.” Ebb grabbed onto the old mans wig and tore it off. Another bright light reflected off the old mans bald head and blinded Ebb. When his eyes opened nothing had changed he was still in the room standing in front of the old man with his wig in his hand. “What the heck’s your problem young man!” The ghost ripped his wig back from Ebb and placed it, askew, back on his head. “That’s not how I do things, just follow me.” The old Ghost turned around and jumped into the toilet standing there with his hand stretched out waiting for Ebb. Ebb signed, walked over and grabbed the old ghost’s hand. The Ghost turned and flushed the toilet. Ebb swirled around and around turning smaller and going down the drain.
When Ebb opens his eyes he was back in the middle of the trade show floor. “Aww, come on! Nothing? Really? Nothing changes at all?” Ebb was soaked and angry. The old Ghost, dry and smiling, fixed his wig and put his hand on Ebb’s shoulder. “I don’t know what you mean. Look around. You don’t notice anything diffrent?” Ebb looked around again. “Same booths, same theme, same peop… wait thats it. Where is everyone? Why isn’t anyone here?” Ebb asked. The old Ghost laughed. “Well, you eat pizza everyday you’re gonna get tired of eating pizza.”
“What are you talking about old man? My events are great!” Ebb looked around and noticed a familiar face in the small crowd. It was him, but there was something diffrent. He was tired, bored, he had nothing in his eyes. “Whats wrong with me,” Ebb asked. “You are running this event. After your event manager quit you decided to save more money and do the event yourself. Yes you did save some money, but no-one showed up to the event. It was boring, same theme, same prizes, same everything. The pizza was stale.”
“Whats with you and pizza,” Ebb asked. “It shouldn’t matter, the show shouldn’t have been this much of a failure. If it isn’t broke don’t fix it right?”
The old Ghost stared back at Ebb and sighed. “Listen. The show was great, but you need an event manager and you need something new! If you want a better ROI and a better show, you have to change with the times. You have to be more innovative and take risk. You don’t want to be stale piz..”
“I swear to god if you say stale pizza one more time,” Ebb yelled. “Listen Ill change my ways, I want to be successful! Let me have a chance! ILL CHANGE! PLEASE!” Ebb screamed and yelled at the old Ghost, but the old Ghost just smiled.
“It’s too late young man. The event is coming soon.”
“No! I still have time. Send me back. SEND ME BACK!” Ebb grabbed the old Ghost’s wig and threw it at him. The light reflected off his bald scalp and bladed Ebb again. “Ahh, not again. What do you shine that thing with?” When Ebb opened his eye he was in his bed again. The sun shined through his window and he breathed a sigh of relief. He ran to his window and opened it! Ebb notice a young man walking his French bulldog down the street. “You young man! What day is it?”
The young man turned towards Ebb and looked slightly confused.
“Umm its Friday dude…”
Lesson to be learned here: Listen to the people you decide to surround yourself with. They have ideas that will advance you and your events. Don’t get stuck in the past and be a stale piece of pizza. Take some risk and reap the rewards, don’t be an Ebb. Hire an event manager for your next corporate event and start looking to the future!