Jiro dreams of Sushi is a documentary, that follows around Jiro Ono, the (now) 90-year old sushi chef exhibiting his craft, and detailing the story of how he got there. The documentary is peppered with multiple instances of ever-quotable lines (like, “I would make sushi in my dreams” or “ Ultimate simplicity leads to purity”). We found a couple of stand-out lessons that could be applied to almost any craft.
We think craft is the key word here. It’s not just another job – you turn something into a craft, and you inhabit the spirit of Shokunin. Shokunin is a Japanese word that roughly translates to ‘craftsmanship’, and it is not a word that they use lightly.
So how do you become an Event Planning Shokunin? Read on:
The Five Elements of Mastery
Jiro Ono outlines what he thinks are the 5 essential elements of mastering a craft. Since he’s a 90-year old chef whose customers get nervous eating in front of, we’d like to take his word for it.
Take your work seriously
No job is too small, no task too menial. Taking B2B event marketing seriously means understanding the role that your event plays in the company’s overall plan, and recognizing your role in it. Your company trusts you to do a great job. Be aware of the role you play and the responsibility you have.
Always be improving
The standard that Jiro holds his sushi to is simple enough – Is my sushi better than what I made yesterday? We think that’s an amazing way to look at one’s craft. Similarly, measuring your own progress is also simple. Is your next event going to be better than the last? This also holds good for each component of event planning. The attendees, RoI, the food – was it better than the last one? The feeling of sitting back and looking at how you’ve improved is unbeatable – you know it.
Keep the kitchen clean
The food business is all about great food, but the presentation needs to be good for it to sell. How it looks is as important as how it tastes. Similarly, attendees at your event need to have a ‘clean’ experience. A clean experience is one with minimum friction for the attendee – easy check-ins, timely reminders for meetings, not a lot of waiting around. That’s why it’s a lot like hygiene – nobody’s going to award you for great hygiene, but you will get noticed for it’s lacking. Don’t let the small stuff mar an otherwise great event.
Jiro insists on having things his way – he is the master, after all. He even decides where each guest would be seated! While you may not need to micromanage – know this: You are the event planning master. There might be people coming in, trying to do your job for you. But always assert control, and stand your ground. Be careful not to go overboard with this, though.
We’ve heard enough about passion over the past decade, where everything has to be infused with passion, to become more meaningful. Jiro is certainly passionate about Sushi – it is literally on his mind all day. We understand that event planning is only one of the things you do. But still, when you get down to it, have some pride. This is the craft you’ve chosen, so the least you could be enthusiastic about it. Go at it with a smile on your lips, and determination in your heart.
There’s so much more we can learn from this documentary, and it definitely merits multiple viewings. Go ahead and watch it one more time, and tell us in the comments if you’ve picked up on anything new.
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