Foreign and Commonwealth Office, British Embassy Ambassadorial Residences
Britain like many other countries has Ambassadors representing our interests across the world. They live in British Ambassadorial Residences. These residences are managed by Residence Managers who as part of their role help organise a wide range of official Embassy events – such as The Queen’s Birthday celebrations, breakfasts, luncheons, dinners, parties and 1 to 1 ambassadorial meetings. A busy embassy can hold up to 100 events a year.
While in many cases the Residence Managers are very experienced they are in effect left to their own devices in terms of how they run their events. They are also influenced by the working practices of the country they work in. Not surprisingly in these times of financial restraint there is pressure for these ‘event venues’ to become more commercially focussed and to generate an income from events and venue hires. Currently Ambassadorial events are paid from a functions budget.
What they needed was an event management process they could all use and apply to their local working conditions. They also needed somebody to help iron out some of the hosting issues they were facing (e.g. contractors, caterers, staff…etc.) and to give them some ideas for creating their own event and improving their profile as an event venue.
I got a call from the British Embassy’s Residence Manager Tel Aviv, Israel.
So how did I help?
To kick start the process I sent out a pre-course questionnaire to the intended delegates just so I could get a real sense of what they did and how they did it. I also requested information about any current events issues they were facing. This direct and honest feedback was incredibly helpful in that it allowed me to design and deliver a completely tailored course. The course covered a wide range of subjects including event project planning, catering, budgeting, event promotion, joining instructions, pricing events, running events and of course security and safety factors to name but a few. I also facilitated two brainstorming sessions around what types of ‘own brand events’ they could run and how they could improve their profile as an event venue of choice. In order to help them resolve some of their event issues I added some content around managing contractors, staff and their Ambassadors! As part of this section I facilitated several open discussions on key issues where they could share their own thoughts and with my help come up with some solutions.
15 delegates from 13 different countries attended the course. A truly international two days! The Residence Managers now feel happy to tackle anything that drops onto their desks or into their inboxes – however complicated it could be! They also feel more positive about the future and believe they can be a ‘venue of choice’ in their respective countries and produce their own income generating events. From my point of view they were one of the most enthusiastic and eager to learn group: I have ever had the pleasure of working with.
I’ll leave the last few words to Jackie Milliner, British Embassy Tel Aviv Resident Manager and inspiration behind the course
“I had never met or spoken to Chris but, as an avid reader of his blog, I knew he would be our trainer of choice. Chris was focused and enthusiastic from the first email. He was eager to find out as much as possible about our group so he could tailor his course to our specialised needs. He worked within our tight budget and we quickly formed a good working relationship. The masterclass was excellent – it made us think outside of our usual events ‘template’ and put each of us on a steep learning curve of ‘how to do it even better’. We covered the entire spectrum of planning, theming, branding and delivering – always with an eye on keeping some of the traditional style of entertaining while injecting sufficient of the new. Chris is energetic, witty and knows how to deliver. He engaged us all – we listened, we debated and we were certainly challenged – and we gained something from every minute. Thank you Chris!”
Since the course we have remained in touch via email and I am pleased to say the future of British Embassy Ambassadorial Events is looking good!