More Lessons I’ve Learned: The Personal Confirmation

You’ve done your prep work. You’ve turned in the purchase order. You’ve filled out the bus request form. You’ve reserved the facilities. You’ve booked the date with a colleague. But when the date arrives, no colleague, no bus, no product shipment, or the facility is locked with no custodian to be found.

It’s a fact of life that in the field of music education we depend on others to do our job. We need custodians, secretaries, purchasing departments, bus drivers, chaperones, and other colleagues from time to time. If you’re a control freak like me, you have a hard time accepting the fact that we can’t do our jobs alone.

One phrase which has worked its way into my vocabulary more and more is “I just want to confirm with you that we’ll be okay for… ” Fill in the blank. The transportation. The auditorium. The funding for an order.

It’s a sad fact that on occasion even if you’ve done your homework, others will fail to follow through. I’ve had busses fail to show up even though the bus request was approved. I’ve had products fail to arrive because the paperwork is at the bottom of the secretary’s in box. I’ve had clinicians fail to show up even when I booked the date with them weeks in advance.

Even though none of these problems was directly my fault, in most of those cases I failed to follow up with a personal confirmation. If I had spoken with the people involved, I would either have the peace of mind knowing my plans would work, or that I would have to come up with a Plan B. All it takes is a minute to call and just say, “Are we okay for that bus on Thursday the 24th?”

If you feel awkward about such a blunt confirmation, you can always pose the question differently but achieve the same goal. For example, you could say, “I’m planning on a trip to Starbucks on the morning you’re coming to chaperone. Can I pick up anything for you?” or “Can you bring the bus around to the north parking lot when you arrive on Saturday?”

Those one-minute phone conversations have saved me a world of trouble, and have given me a little peace of mind on the day before an event, having a little more reassurance that things will hopefully come together as planned.


4 thoughts on “More Lessons I’ve Learned: The Personal Confirmation

  1. Well, if people just aren’t doing their job, that’s a different story.

    I should add that the confirmation call should include a “thanks in advance” element. It never hurts to let someone know in advance how much their help means to you, even if that person is being paid for their work.

  2. Stengel99 is right and I would add, always make friends with the custodians and the secretaries. Thank, schmooze, and butter them up whenever possible. Do whatever you can in your minor daily dealings to take the load off of them, that way, when you really need a favor, they’ll be more willing to help.

    It’s like a bank account, always put more in than you take out. And remember, they’ve got their own problems to deal with too.

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