Inviting and managing a Chief Guest is the most tricky aspect of any event. While organising any important function or event, we tend to think of a dignitary who can be invited as the chief guest. If the selection has to be made by vote, divide among members further delays the decision. Everyone tries to push the name of their known dignitary. Therefore, understandably, the name that is finalised for being the chief guest is not well received by everyone. Yet, it has to go ahead because majority voted for her/him. However, if the decision has to be taken by the head of the organisation, then at least choice becomes easier. Others have to follow the decision and the chief guest can be accordingly invited.

After the chief guest is selected, there starts the process of matching diary of the chief guest with the proposed event. Occassionally, the chief guest gives date so late that you cannot go ahead with the event as scheduled, otherwise running a risk of losing important audience because of the short notice. If you request change of date from the chief guest, again it goes into toss. Anyway, when the date is finalised, the running order of the event becomes another tricky issue. Who will speak first? When the chief guest will deliver his/her remarks? If there comes confirmation from any other important dignitary, you have to add her/him as guest of honour. Again the same issue of protocol, who speaks first and how long? If there are pre-decided topics, the allocation of topic also creates headache.

Making of invitations, use of salutations and photograph of chief guest as well as the guest of honour are bigger challenges. After all these formalities are finalised, you wait for the day of event, praying that everything will go fine. Who will escort the chief guest, who will welcome and present the bouquet of flowers etc are other issues that need to be finalised in very sensitive way.

Sometimes on the day of the event, the chief guest doesn’t turn up, or s/he comes late or wants to go earlier. You have to, in all these cases, make adjustments in the event. Let’s say the chief guest is available as per schedule, the event starts on time, but then he might speak longer than decided, or make some comments which are not favourable to your organisation, it becomes another problem. How do you make sure there is nothing which makes your chief guest unhappy? Any other speaker taking longer time or making some comment that doesn’t go well with the chief guest.

At last, what about gift or memento to the chief guest? What would s/he like? Can it be handicraft, or something that is costly? Will s/he accept it or reject? Can it be handed over during the event or has to be given in private? All such dilemmas have to be resolved much in advance by getting information about the nature of the person and past practices. Better to follow what has been acceptable by him/her in the past.

Finally, while doing post event publicity, tweet and social media handle of the chief guest must be tagged and the name must be spelt correctly. If the organisation makes mistake in writing the name of the chief guest, it is a sure shot recipe of turning her/him away from your organisation forever.

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