If you’re graduating with a degree in event management, there is so much exciting movement ahead for you!
Event management is one of the most difficult jobs. From creatively generating event plans to organizing the moving pieces leading up to the event and seeing through a perfect execution, there is a ton going on.
Tools like meeting scheduling software and event scheduling software (or even online scheduling software) make life heaps and bounds easier. Appointment-Plus is trusted by over 500 event planners to effectively manage conferences, trips, meetings and trade shows. Using software is the first step in keeping your busy schedule straight.
Partnering with Appointment-Plus allows clients to better utilize their free time that would have otherwise been spent coordinating the smallest of details. Mobile apps allow managers to keep in touch with and monitor event staff and attendees. Advertising is made simple to syndicate. Advanced reporting streamlines information on staff and attendees. Book Now buttons allow attendees to instantly book events and gigs. Enhanced Point of Sale software makes charging for events and packages completely seamless.
But enough talk about software for now. Let’s dive into event management tips for all of you breaking into the industry.
Best tips for event planning careers:
You thought joining clubs was just a resume builder for college and graduate school? No, no. Clubs and professional organizations are essential for a healthy event planning career. There is no better place to network and gain access to real-world, first-hand experience than event planning clubs.
Joining clubs before graduating is your best bet. This allows you to get a feel for the event industry in your area and determine whether or not it’s the market in which you want to build your career. Offer to volunteer at events for others in the club. Make connections that you can utilize post-graduation. In event planning, having a network you can rely on is everything. Last-minute changes always surface and tidy, last-minute solutions will make or break your event- not to mention your reputation and career.
If you’ve already graduated, stay in those clubs and join more. Be a source of information for students and future event planners. Continue to bolster your reputation and become a sought-after manager for whom to work. Word travels fast in this industry; be part of that word curation.
Staying in clubs during your career is important for remaining relevant and in the know. There is no better way to interact with your competitors and potential teams. It seems that somebody always needs a helping hand and in a club, one can be found- aka you could be that helping hand!
- Experience, experience, experience.
Event management requires you to play a dozen roles, each of in which you should be an expert. Intern, volunteer and get jobs in every capacity that you can. Management might be the goal, but under-management roles are essential to understanding how to manage everyone in the business.
Getting clear experience on what it is like to be in each role that you will someday direct will give you perspective when it is your turn to call the shots. You will gain a better sense of communication, difficulties and effective solutions that could make the operation run more smoothly.
Take your experience-gathering a step further than role experience and dive into as many industries as you can. Even if you know you want to be in wedding planning, get experience in corporate events, sports banquets and boutique gatherings. The more experience you have outside of your own niche, the more prepared you are for any situation that comes your way. A future employer will not overlook your readiness and will be undoubtedly impressed by your versatility.
- Niche time.
Although you want to collect as much experience in all industries as possible, you want to spend the most time in your industry of preference. This becomes your niche. Volunteer to work at the side of a leader in the industry and gather any experience you can.
When it comes time to hire, your industry interviewer knows she does not have to spend time training you on the basic ins and outs of the setting because you’ve already made it your niche. You know what type of parties and pace the clientele prefers and how to best accommodate everyone involved.
Creating your niche now makes you an expert in the industry way ahead of schedule. It will come with a level of clout that far precedes your name, and that’s exactly what you need to get ahead.
We said we were abandoning the topic of software for now, but schedule software is truly a must have. It does not matter how organized and detailed you are, you need backup.
It is inevitable that one day, one plan will slip out of sight and your client will not understand how or why you had no technological scheduling backup.
There is no excuse in the events industry for missing dates and times- everybody is just as busy as you are! A scattered schedule comes with the job and it is expected that you can handle it.
Invest in a scheduling assistant that works best for your industry, your clients and your own preferential interaction with technology.
This takes us back to networking in clubs and organizations, and it should be noted that we are striking the relationship chord again. Relationships in business are everything. There is no one-man show. If one man is getting the credit for an empire, it is because he’s done an unmatched job of building a network of specialists on which he can rely.
You will not rise alone, and will not rise in bad company. That said, pick your tribe now. Be selective with whom you want to work, work for and have work for you.
Never overlook a potential teammate or hiring boss. Nurture your relationships as much as you nurture every line on your resume. Be kind to others in the industry and instead of looking to get ahead, look to how you can forge a path to success together. Colleagues are bound to have different skill sets and it takes a true leader to string together the best crew.
- Stay calm in constructive criticism.
A calm spirit in feedback will make for your smoothest sail toward greatness. Criticism is inevitable; and regardless of delivery, it is up to you to make the most of your feedback. If it is presented in a manner you find offensive, smile through the experience and take a moment to collect yourself afterward. Breathe through any harsh sentiment and then extract the comments that were related directly to your work.
Understand that feedback is not limited to your current project. It will be threaded through all of your future work and be what pushes you ahead of the competition.
Responding well to feedback will be impressive to your boss and colleagues and it will give you a better work experience. Being overly sensitive and allowing yourself to get worked up over criticism only results in an anxious you. So make the choice to be calm and understanding in these situations.
Make sure to accommodate change right away. Every bit of constructive criticism is just that- construction. It is helping build the foundation of your skill set and future career. Feedback in the professional world might be a bit a scarier, but it is not different than a suggestion on an assignment for a better grade. It makes you deliver a better product next time.
Getting yourself to events after endless hours of work and school is not easy, but it is worth it. Networking with industry professionals makes your well-rounded, more likely to get a job and most likely to get the next, better job. Be present in your industry and show that you care. After all, you’ve joined the world of events.
Acting as an attendee of events is dually important because it gives you further insight into the event attendee experience. Take a moment to gather what is delightful and what is completely throwing off the vibe of the evening. Make notes on your observations and apply them to your work and projects.
Lastly, events generally host speakers and presentations of new tools. These are real-world updates that you will not hear about in lecture until next year. Take advantage of events! The amount you will learn will always make the couple hours of time worth your while.
If you are stressed out just reading about this list of objectives when entering the professional world, then it is a good time to think about your outlet of clarity.
Event management is busy. It is stressful and it is around the clock. You need to be on top of your game at all times, yes. But you need to find a way to be on top of your game and the best way to do that is to relax.
What? Relax? As an event planner? Yes, find the time to get away from work, and decompose. Take a walk, go for a run, write, or visit with friends. Do anything that gets your mind off work for an hour and then go back to it, reinvigorated.
Finding the right way to get back to center is vital in this industry. Going too fast will only end in crash and burn, and that will not help get you anywhere. So start now. Make time for outlets. Figure out which hour of the day most allows you to detox and destress and make it a mandatory part of your routine. It is okay to say no to a request because you need to make sure that you are the best version of yourself when showing up for events and part of the planning process that secure success.
Make time for you! You are number one.
- Keep learning!
Make every opportunity an opportunity to learn. A networking event is never a chore. It’s an hour to find one valuable person who can share insights on the industry and teach incomparable real-world lessons.
Volunteering at an event in a different category is not a waste of time. It is a chance to get a first-hand glimpse at how other events are running and what new technology is being used.
Seek out online resources. Follow event planning Twitter accounts to stay up to date on what is new in the industry.
Event management is constantly evolving, and you want to evolve with it to stay on top.
Teaching is also one of the best ways to grasp information and solidify it in your memory. Reach out to younger classes and offer meet-ups where you can impart your wisdom on future interns and graduates.
Every day is an opportunity to learn; treat it as such!
- Be prepared for anything
You have a goal of where you want to get, and you should keep it. But be open to the path taking curves to get you there. Every experience will offer you valuable skills and insight on the industry. Take them with poise!
It takes years- sometimes decades- to build dream careers. Some years will feel slower than others, but that’s okay. Take it as an opportunity to fill up your calendar with networking events and volunteer opportunities. Keep collecting experience and insight and be patient with the process. You’re going to get to the top; you’ve already begun the climb.
Autumn is especially busy for event planning and management. This is the time to invest in event scheduler software. Between Back-to-School, college football, NFL kick-off, Fashion Week and a looming world series, life is abuzz come the autumn to winter months!
Don’t miss out on the many tools that Appointment-Plus has to offer and help you kick start your career.
We wish you the best of luck in all of your event planning endeavors, and hope that you will reach out to keep us on the journey with you as you march forward through the your event planning adventures.