How Finding a Corporate Entertainment Vendor is Like Using a Dating App

corporate party trivia entertainment

I’m not sure if it’s just me, but recently I’ve experienced a sharp uptick in what I’d characterize as “extreme rudeness.”

In the past few weeks alone, I’ve endured the following:

A person called me up inquiring about producing not one, but two company holiday party trivia events – big parties, 250 people each, one in California and one in Arizona. She was thrilled about my services, and said “David, you’re exactly what I’m looking for!” I immediately sent a formal proposal, then followed up several times over the course of the week…I never heard from her again.

Another person called me last weekend, with a timely request for late-booking corporate event entertainment, this time in Houston. She was ecstatic – relieved, actually – that I returned her call so promptly on a Sunday, and equally delighted that I could not only produce her event on extremely short notice, but meet her budget as well. Even with the time crunch, I put together an incredibly personalized, highly detailed proposal, and sent it through.

I then waited…and followed up…and waited…and followed up again…

Let’s just say the event date came and went, and I’m still waiting for a reply.

Or how about this one: this past weekend, someone inquired about a professional trivia emcee to lead a corporate event outside of New York City. I responded via Email the moment I received the inquiry, but received no reply. On Monday morning, I called the number provided on the contact form:


“Hi, this is David with TrivWorks! I received your Email inquiry from over the weekend about a trivia event?”


He hung up…!

What Is Going On?

In each of the above examples, the inquiring party contacted ME. They sought ME out, filled out an inquiry request on MY Website, and requested I get back to THEM. It’s not like I was interrupting their day with a cold call or anything, I was literally responding to their request for my availability.

Now usually when things like this happen, it’s interspersed with “good” inquiries: people who’ve found me either online or through word of mouth, and are seeking the exact type of specialized professional trivia entertainment and group bonding services I provide. But when I get one-two-three punched like this (there’s been even more recently, believe it or not, but I don’t want to belabor the point) it can really affect me.

How could it not?

The Eternal, Internal Struggle

I start to question myself: what am I doing wrong? Have I done something to offend these people? Is there a glaring lapse in my professionalism, a fatal flaw in my sales pitch, which everyone else but me can see? (click here for another article I wrote a while back on the right and wrong way to decline an entertainment vendor’s proposal).

I don’t know the answers to the above questions for sure, since these people never get back to me (even when I ask directly for feedback!). However, here’s two things I DO know: 1) for over 15 years, I’ve strived to be the absolute best event professional I know how, delivering the highest-quality service to my clients from the initial inquiry till the last trivia question asked; and 2) ever since the pandemic, people seem to be just…well, ruder all around.

This doesn’t go for everyone, mind you. By and large, my clients are a joy to work with – whether they’ve been hiring TrivWorks for years, or have only just discovered that I exist. Once people sign on with me, they “get” how attentive and professional I am, how easy I am to work with, and what a high-quality product my fellow corporate trivia hosts and I deliver.

But for some people who’ve just digitally met me, I’m just another guy at the end of a phone, a name attached to an Email address; the person who responded to a contact form they filled out, on some Website, of some trivia company they found online.

Know what this feels a lot like?

Dating apps.

Swipe Life

About five years ago, before the Coronavirus pandemic, I found myself unexpectedly single for the first time in over a decade. When I was finally ready to date again and started figuring out the apps, I realized quickly why they were such a source of derision among the newly and habitually single alike: the endless swiping, the wasted time & energy, the ghosting, the soul-stealing hopelessness of it all.

Fast forward to post-pandemic, and it’s all gotten exponentially worse.

When I rejoined the dating apps after a year and a half of not leaving my house, I found myself being unceremoniously “unmatched” for no reason. I was ghosted mercilessly, shamelessly, and regularly. I got cancelled on the week of, the day before, the NIGHT OF dates, with zero explanation, never hearing from these women again.

Then, like now, I second-guessed myself: what am I doing wrong?

Like then, the answer is still: nothing.

Identifying the Issue

I think what’s happened is, like Internet dating, the act of finding goods and services online has become an activity which is completely devoid of any actual human contact. As with the dating apps, the person at the other end of the phone, laptop or tablet isn’t perceived as a person at all, with feelings and wants and desires and whatnot. It’s all about instant gratification of the user. Is this profile, this Website, this blog post, “doing it” for me? If yes, I’ll express some initial interest, and see where it goes. If not, why should I waste my time when there’s so many other options out there?

One could argue that people seeking the types of entertainment and trivia team building services I provide – any services, really – are under no obligation to be nice. There’s no rule stating that when you call me, you have to be respectful of my time, my efforts, or just of me as a human being. You could say the same for Internet dating as well for that matter, and I really wouldn’t have any solid ground for refuting it.

But does that make it right?

Does that make it OK?

I mean, it’s so EASY to be rude when you’re not dealing with “real” people, just words and images and avatars on a screen. Why bother explaining why you’re not interested, when you can simply ghost? Why have any difficult conversations at all, when you can just…not?

Glass Half Full

In my glass-half-full perspective, I only want to engage with people who are courteous anyway, those who treat others decently. I like to think that anyone who treats me without the respect I deserve – be it in business, in dating, or any other form of engagement either in-person or online – doesn’t deserve what I have to offer anyway. And so when the world feels extra rude, when I don’t feel like I’m being treated well, I tell myself: anyone who deals with other people this way, isn’t someone I want to deal with in ANY way.

And it works! I deserve better.

Everyone does.

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