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As we enter the New Year and set our goals for the next 12 months, many of us want to make a difference in our chosen career and ensure our skills stand out for all the right reasons. In the fast paced and competitive events industry it is important to stay on top of your game and strive for constant improvement.
Regardless of whether you are studying, just starting out or have been in the industry for years and managed hundreds of events, here are some of my top tips for how to become a better Event Manager in 2015.
1. Practice Makes Perfect
The simple fact is that the best way to become a better Event Professional is to gain more experience. In ‘Outliers’ Malcolm Gladwell explains the concept that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to make you skilled or an expert in any field. Volunteer, take paid work, run your own events.
Seize every opportunity to hone your skills, work on a wide variety of events, large and small, and experience every role within the events team. Every event is unique and unfortunately there is no magic formula. You need experience to intuitively know and plan every detail.
2. Read Widely
From theoretical event planning text books and industry magazines to eBooks and blogs there is a plethora of current information available about every element of the industry. Dedicate time each month to keeping up to date, identifying trends and learning about new technologies.
After every event project ensure you reflect, analyse feedback and discuss with your team and the client how to improve. Enjoy the praise but look most closely at any negativity or areas rated average. Share anything that didn’t go to plan with the wider team, along with how the situation was dealt with and lessons learnt. Don’t sit back and be complacent, no matter how big a success the event was. Every small detail can make a difference and there is always room for improvement!
4. Use Technology Wisely
Keep yourself sane by making the most of tools and technology which can make your job easier. Steer well clear of technology that takes up too much of your valuable time for little reward or clear purpose. Understand the process behind the technology too so you can understand better why it is important and the value it is adding.
5. Engage with Thought Leaders
Social media breaks down barriers and is a great way to keep up to date and connect with influencers that can challenge your way of thinking and working. Take part in Twitter chats, join and contribute to LinkedIn groups, watch thought leaders on YouTube to see new perspectives and trigger new ideas.
Go to industry events and hear from some of the top speakers in the world of events. Feel inspired by the fast-paced and exciting industry you are a part of.
6. Find Solutions Not Problems
We make it our mission to find a solution to any problem a client throws at us. If we are asked to do something that we know from experience will be a bad idea we will of course explain our reasons for why we have reservations. Importantly though we then try to find a workable solution for the client which will deliver their vision but in an achievable and practical way.
7. Attend Events
As an Event Organizer I find it hard not to be silently critical of other people’s events, constantly thinking ‘why have they done that?’ and ‘I wouldn’t have done it that way!’ It can however also be enlightening to see how another Event Planner has brought their vision to life and to think about the thought process behind every decision made. Marvel at the things that have been done well and enjoy having time to immerse yourself in the event experience rather than being the person working tirelessly behind the scenes!
8. Think and Question
Involve every member of the event team and brainstorm ideas on a regular basis. What would the ideal event look like? If time/money/resources were no barrier what changes would we like to implement? How do we improve the attendee experience? How can we overcome this challenge/problem? Why do we always do it that way – is there a better way?
When planning an event try to think through the journey of every person attending the event and their different needs – e.g. delegate, speaker, exhibitor, VIP, media, wheelchair user.
9. Take Care of Yourself
To be your best and give 100% you have to take time out, switch off and recharge. All work and no play is not a recipe for success. Sleep is also essential! Take time away from your computer screen, zone out from your to do list and get some fresh air at regular intervals so you can come back to your desk refreshed and positive.
This post gives some helpful advice and tips from expert Dani Stevens: The Event Planner Lifestyle Boost: Take Care of Yourself While Planning Successful Events.
10. Love your Job
I believe that the best way to be the best Event Manager you can possibly be is to ensure that you remain passionate about your job. Planning events is often cited as one of the top 10 most stressful careers and it is not something that can be done by halves.
If you don’t love what you do then I would urge you to find a more peaceful alternative to earn a living that doesn’t demand such long hours and high blood pressure! When you truly enjoy your job a simple natural smile and your enjoyment for your work really shines through. Believe me - it makes a difference!
This post has explored 10 of the ways I strive to be a better Event Manager. What are your top tips for being a better Event Planner in 2015? How can you ensure that you are the best Event Professional you can be? Can you identify with these tips and will you be putting them into practice going into the New Year? I would welcome your thoughts in the comments below.