Are the most important lessons for event planners the lessons that we learn ourselves?
Everyone in the event industry gets their start somewhere. Whether it is through education or an internship, somewhere along the lines you get your foot in the door and start your journey into this rollercoaster ride of a career. But, how do we really learn what it takes? For some of us it comes through higher education or observing someone we respect in the industry, but perhaps many of the most important lessons we learn in our career must be learned on our own.
Learn from Mistakes
When you are in the moment, mistakes can be really disappointing and can sometimes have an negative impact on your event. However, the great take away from making mistakes is that you learn so much about what can do to improve your future events and the way in which you manage them. Some of the most important skills you learn as a planner will come through making errors and learning from them.
As you move through your career you will become much better at predicting these “disasters” from occurring and you will have the skills to prevent them before they happen. So while you may be disappointed when you make a mistake, try to remember that you are learning and improving as a result.
The other great thing about mistakes is that you don't always have to be the one making the mistake in order to learn from them. With every event you attend or customer service related experience you have, take a step back and look at how you can learn something. Often times you learn the most when you are attending events organized by other people. These opportunities can be a great place to observe and gain knowledge from the mistakes (or successes) of other event managers. Think about what you would do differently.
Don’t be afraid to be different and unique in your event planning approach and your style as an event manager. By taking on new and innovative ideas you will set yourself apart and you will learn so much more about the industry. Many people in the event management space like to stick with what works and what has always worked for their events, but this can become very boring and mundane over time. Some of the biggest and most well-known events worldwide have taken risks and done things differently to achieve success.
Read about new technology, find ways to incorporate it into your events and don't be afraid of change. While it can be scary at times, change can teach you so much and help you to really grow and develop as a professional and an event manager.
Escape Your Comfort Zone
When you are first starting out as an event manager you should really try to explore as many facets of the industry as possible. You may think that you know what you want to focus on in your career, but if you never try a variety of experiences how will you really know?
Find internships or volunteer for a variety of events to give yourself some perspective on the various options that exist within the event space. You will be amazed at how many wonderful connections you can make and at how many different and exciting niches there are within event planning.
Take time to really dive deep into all of the knowledge and information that you can gather about the event industry. Reading information on Event Manager Blog, staying up to date on trends, learning from articles and case studies that have been written about the event space is a fabulous way to learn from other planners without necessarily having to connect face to face.
If you enjoy having a more interactive learning experience, connecting with other planners through networking groups or online forums will give you a great chance to interact and ask questions of fellow colleagues. Most people within the event space are very nice to work with, happy to share their knowledge and usually a lot of fun to be around!
Make this a priority throughout your career. Never stop learning and truly take the time to continue your education and relationship building. You can always learn something new that will improve your events and your potential as a planner.
Take On Board Feedback
Feedback can be a little tough to face at times, but it can also give you some of the most valuable information about how you can improve and advance your career. Seek this feedback out by asking for it from clients, coworkers and managers. Others will be impressed by your desire to improve and they will most likely be willing to help guide and shape you into the best planner you can be.
On the flip side, you want to be sure to take all feedback with a grain of salt, because everyone's opinions and perspective can vary. However, keep in mind that within all feedback is a bit of truth. Don’t be afraid of feedback because it is an incredibly useful tool that, if used properly, can help you to get ahead in the industry.
Soak It All Up
Once you have the chance to start learning in event field you should take the time to truly observe the people around you have become successful in this industry. Pay attention to their communication tactics, management skills and the way they interact with their team. Find ways to emulate their positive actions and apply these tools to your style and work ethic.
Sometimes you may notice actions that you don't want to repeat. This knowledge can often be just as useful as positive interactions. One thing is for sure, you will work with a broad variety of people throughout your event management career and with each interaction you have the chance to take away valuable information that can be gained by simply just observing.
Becoming an all-star event professional takes time and an immense amount of effort. To learn all of the skills and tools can take many, many years of practice and education. To be honest we are never completely finished learning. You have to take action and pave your own way to really learn what it takes to be successful. Find opportunities to learn from formal education, hands on work and internships. You will soon find that what you take away from these experiences is ultimately up to you and the effort you put forward.