For a long time the event industry has just been identified with glitter and shallowness. The modern event planner is an independent and skilled professional. Join the #proudeventprof movement.
When I started writing about events in 2007, there was a tendency to think that we were good at taking care of centrepieces and floral and that was pretty much it. I guess we have Jennifer Lopez as The Wedding Planner to thank, right? What an amazing stereotype.
How many times did you try to explain to your relatives what you did, yet they still did not understand? How many times have you said you worked in 'hospitality', because others may not comprehend?
What I saw in the trenches was substantially different. I witnessed individuals who knew their stuff, who took their job very seriously. Largely respected by their teams. True leaders.
Yet when attending large industry trade shows a different aspect of us resurfaces.
I am confused.
I've had this recurring thought in my mind. A thought that I need to funnel in this blog post as it is driving me crazy.
Speaking at and attending many events for eventprofs, I constantly see two attitudes, two approaches.
There is the Kiss Kiss approach.
How can I sum up the Kiss Kiss mentality? Kiss Kiss is that very superficial and fake salute we have been exchanging for a while in our industry. It is that 'I don't care who you are, but this is how we say hi around here' mentality.
It's that feeling that you almost have to disguise how good you are because others don't understand. I've felt that way many times in my career and I've jeopardized some projects for that attitude.
Sometimes it is fueled by that recurring thought that you don't really need to read and keep yourself informed because you are an expert. That thought that you don't actually care about learning, because events are about doing things. That thought that canapés and fam trips are more important than learning.
Because you know people, because you are a member of an association, because you've been in the industry for 15 years, because you have clients.
Oh boy, I've felt that way many times.
Then there is another approach, the #proudeventprof movement.
I see it often in part of my audience, when I speak at events. They have that fire in their eyes. They are capturing every single word I say in my cranky Italian accent. They do the same for each speaker. They sit on the first row at every session, they take notes, they share them on social and discuss with peers.
These eventprofs read about innovation, they keep themselves informed, they have invested in education, certification, webinars. They believe they are great, but can be better. They don't believe "not having enough time" is an excuse. They are masters of time management.
But most of all, they are proud of what they do and they make it clear to their family and friends. They don't need to hide behind knowing some celebrity to justify their job.
You have one decision in front of you. You can be a Kiss Kisser or a #Proudeventprof. You cannot be both.
#Proudeventprofs are a movement with no specific age or gender. #Proudeventprofs are strong willed and motivated individuals that get things done. They believe that what you know wins over who you know.
They don't need to hide how good they are behind kiss-kisses and they keep fueling their knowledge with doing, hacking and learning.
Their network is made up of individuals that keep themselves informed and hack their event to make it better. When you see them at mundane, kiss-kissy events, they feel out of place. This is not because they are shy (which they can be sometimes) but because they don't like fluff, they like action.
#Proudeventprofs are strong women and men that can change the world. They know how to implement a re-marketing campaign while keeping 20,000 attendees safe. They can stream live on Periscope and recruit the most inspiring speakers at the same time.
They have made one decision. They invested in themselves.
A New Industry
#Proudeventprofs don't care about what the industry says about itself. They are building a new event industry that puts events and attendees first. An industry where glitter has little space if not to make attendees sparkle during award nights.
They don't accept celebrity status if the walk is not walked. They repel font size 10 in presentations. Actually just the thought of PowerPoint makes them sick. They don't accept tradition if it doesn't translate in success.
I like to think that if you read this blog, you are part of this movement. One step at a time, the industry is dealing with you, innovative bunch. With less kisses and more meat.
More and more colleagues are leaving their kiss kiss mentality behind and becoming stronger, more empowered professionals. They are investing in themselves instead of relying on what they have today. They are not ashamed of what they have achieved because they built it for themselves.
The good thing is that this new movement is really open and welcomes all those that want to change. No membership fees. So if you feel you have even a tiny drop of Kiss Kiss in you, let it go and join the revolution.
I am tired of Kiss Kiss. Are you?