7 Things Seth Godin Can Teach You About Event Planning
Leaders can learn a lot from reading and Seth Godin is one of those authors you just want to sit down and have coffee with. His practical advice speaks to professionals in a variety of industries. These quotes can help you see event planning from a new perspective and may inspire you to forge your own path.
Seth Godin may not be an event planner, but this best-selling author writes about personal branding, leadership, and building community components that are very important to an event manager’s career. If you’re struggling with parts of your job, these quotes may help you see things in a different way. If you’re not struggling, they’re just good, common sense reminders of how our hyperconnected world is changing.
“In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.”
Even if your immediate vicinity isn’t filled with event planners, you are now competing with the world. When you look at it that way, we are all competing in a crowded marketplace. You need to find a way to differentiate what you offer from everyone else.
“And it turns out that tribes, not money, not factories, can change our world, that can change politics, that can align large numbers of people. Not because you force them to do something against their will. But because they wanted to connect.”
This is an incredibly powerful challenge for event planners. Create a place in time that people feel connected to. It’s a natural occurrence to want to find that group you feel a part of, your people. It’s how we used to live – in tribes – together. People are looking for a group that they can join and say, “Me too. These are my people.” Events can do this for them, if only for a few hours or days.
“Do you know what people want more than anything? They want to be missed. They want to be missed the day they don’t show up. They want to be missed when they’re gone.”
Have you ever noticed people on Facebook announce when they’re going to disappear for a little while? Why? Because they want someone to notice. In the quick moving social media streams that are people’s lives these days, it’s easy not to notice the comings and going of others. But there are many out there who cry to be noticed and these people announce their departure like they’re leaving for good because they long to be missed. They want to be noticed. They want people to acknowledge that they were there.
If you can accomplish this in your events, if you can take a sea of people and make them feel like their departure would matter, they will return next year and the year after. It’s easy to make someone feel welcome. But making someone feel like the event wouldn’t be the same without them is the calling.
“Change almost never fails because it’s too early. It almost always fails because it’s too late.”
Innovation is something event planners who want to excel in their profession must embrace. This means occasionally walking on an icy pond that could crack. It might give way and you might go for a frigid swim. Then again, it might not. You may have a glorious time skating around with the wind in your hair. If you don’t try that pond, you will forever remain on the shore watching everyone else enjoy themselves and doing wonderful things.
Don’t be afraid of that change. Experiment. From a business perspective “It didn’t work” is far superior to “I always wondered.”
“If you can’t state your position in eight words, you don’t have a position. ”
Event planners don’t necessarily need a “position” but you can apply this same quote to your job. Yes, it’s easy to explain what an event planner does – plan events – but who do you plan them for? What is your specialty? What are you doing that others don’t? You need to say that succinctly and be ready at any time to tell people. Because let’s admit it, “I plan parties” doesn’t even cover half of what you do.
“The competitive advantages the marketplace demands is someone more human, connected, and mature. Someone with passion and energy, capable of seeing things as they are and negotiating multiple priorities as she makes useful decisions without angst. Flexible in the face of change, resilient in the face of confusion. All of these attributes are choices, not talents, and all of them are available to you.”
In his book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? Godin references how there used to be two roles in business. You were either management or labor but now a third party has appeared and these people are those who figure out how to flourish without rules by making a significant impact on their industry and beyond. Event planners should strive to be “linchpins.” The brilliance in doing so is that it doesn’t take natural-born talent. You can develop these skills and make the choices as referenced in this quote that will make you wildly successful.
You can continue to walk in the paths plowed by others or you can map your own journey, and by doing so, attract a crowd of followers and become indispensable to those you work with and beyond.
“Life’s too short’ is repeated often enough to be a cliche, but…it’s true. You don’t have enough time to be both unhappy and mediocre. It’s not just pointless, it’s painful. Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you ought to set up a life you don’t need to escape from.”
This is probably one of the main drivers for anyone who has ventured out on their own. Work/life balance is difficult for event planners. Hours are long and hectic and business time inevitably bleeds over into private time. But when you love what you do, when you have a passion for it, and it gives you energy, you don’t watch the calendar checking off days leading up to vacation. You find moments of joy that provide you with those needed sabbaticals in the middle of your hectic life. Event planning isn’t for everyone, but those who have a desire to do the work and are passionate about it will find great fulfillment in their ability to design a life that works for them.
Seth Godin is a well-respected keynote speaker, author, and marketer. One of the reasons he is so wildly popular is because he delivers his message in bite-sized chunks. His blog posts are two-minute reads. Godin has a way of getting right to the point, and after he does, you find yourself thinking, “Yeah, exactly,” and you feel like you had that advice in you all along, you just hadn’t been listening. It’s probably time we all start listening.
One final thought as you read this and wonder how you can apply Godin’s advice to your own business:
If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.” ― Seth Godin
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