Addressing Clients 

 My colleague Diane Brown, together with 2 of her business partners, recently paid a not insignificant sum of money to attend a sales conference. The company running the event is well known and, although it must remain nameless, the day’s agenda was based around modernising sales skills and the mechanisms used for surveying customer satisfaction.

With a month to go before the event all three received the following email:

Email from the Event Host to Rejected Attendees


“(Event) 2019: xxxxxxxx is an invitational (name of host company) conference, with limited delegate seats. Our planning team has concluded you are not a good fit for this event and we are cancelling your registration and issuing a full refund.



Trying to Understand Why

Of course, it is just about possible to believe the event was over-subscribed. It might even be reasonable to allow that the host should wonder how best to reduce attendance to manageable numbers. One might possibly understand the need to vet attendance to ensure maximum value for participants.

Ill Mannered and Commercially Naive

But, to send any stakeholder such a brusque and ill-mannered email is incomprehensible. To do so when you represent a Company claiming to be expert in “the future of selling” seems stupid beyond belief.

How on earth can organisations allow the mediocrity and thoughtlessness that characterises such business behaviour?


We all Need Help to Behave Effectively

Most of us are, by definition, broadly average performers. On the whole, we are generally nice people. We try our hardest to perform well and to behave decently. People like us make up the vast majority of the working world. So how on earth do such emails happen?

The deep answer lies hidden beneath a mass of complexity and detail which will no doubt earn generations of new academic doctorates. But, at heart, it’s simply about the culture of the workplace. Ordinary people need help to behave in sensible ways when working under complex pressures. Under stress it’s easy for any of us to make mistakes and misjudge how our actions will be viewed by others.  

Professional organisations, big and small, flourish by helping employees perform as well as possible. They cannot make everyone brilliant, but they can arm staff with education, training and culture that helps them grow in their working and personal lives.

It’s sad to see such behaviour; it’s also commercially naïve. 


The Final Insult

As a final insult, this morning Diane received an invitation from the same Company to the same event.  They are apparently short of numbers……

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