Event Content, Community and Collaborations

As Event Planners, high-stress levels are part of the game. We are well-trained to absorb this pandemic anxiety. Our real problem lies elsewhere - what do we do when there’s nothing to do?

We’re usually rushing to venue site visits or juggling dozens of projects at the same time. But today we’re on some level of lockdown or on furlough waiting for live events to return in September (or October...or January!). We have no events to plan, just cancellations and postponements to manage. So the question remains, what do we event organisers do to use our time and unending energy?

Let me suggest something - have you heard of CPD? You are probably already doing it! The full name is Continuing Professional Development, and it’s vocational training, career development, learning new skills or improving old habits. All this by finding self-motivation, setting achievable development goals and documenting yourself.

Allow me to explain.

Up to date knowledge is key to professional success.

Why do we feel the need to keep learning even though we’re already professionals? We don’t have exams coming up at the end of June.

As this article argues, food is the energy for our body, and information is the power for our mind, and I couldn't agree more. Learning new skills makes us healthier professionals.

As employees, managers, CEOs, we need to keep up with trends and new technology to improve our performance, to develop new creative ideas, to see things from a different angle, to handle positive criticism and to construct relevant feedback.  Every day there is a new app or platform that everybody’s using, and I’m always curious to find out why. You need to feel confident in your job and should not miss a marketing opportunity simply because you don’t know what Tik Tok or the next social media trend is. Nor do you want to lose a client because your company has not been educated on environmentalism, ethics, or the sustainable development goals from the UN.

So Eventprofs, let’s dive in, shall we?

Continuing Professional Development for MICE Professionals

So we need to learn, but where do you start? First, understand that you’re doing this for you and only you. So, be true to your interests and don’t put too much pressure on yourself - COVID times are tough enough!

Similar to when you go to the doctor, always start by checking your current state. Review your skills, analyse your strengths and weaknesses, and audit the competence on concepts or tools needed for your job on a daily basis.

Still not sure? Here are some ideas to get you started...

The Basics:

  1. Improving the qualities many eventprofs have: Public Relations, Networking, Flexibility, Organisation, Communication, and Mindfulness (this article has some great ideas).
  2. Upgrade your vocabulary. The industry is full of specialised lingo and buzzwords you need to know. Here’s a good place to start making sure you’re up to date.
  3. Software Tools: Are you using the best tools available to you and your team? If your company uses CRM’s, make sure it’s the best one (there are dozens out there). You can better organise your team with Project Management Software (have you heard of Asana or Mondays?) and Communication tools (are you using Slack yet) too. Get out there and discover what works best for you.

Leveling Up:

  1. A/V Requirements - Live events will come back, so now is a great time to get familiar with the types of equipment most events rely on. Think projections, screens, sound, video, and staging. I'd also recommend learning how to read A/V quotes which are often confusing.
  2. Floor Planning - Study spaces and sitting styles, you will need to guide your clients on the best way to set up future events respecting social distancing.
  3. Hygiene - this topic is more important than ever in the “new normal”. All event professionals need to understand the new requirements to host events in the countries and venues they choose. Check out the safe meeting protocols.
  4. Legal Measures - When was the last time you have reviewed your contracts? Do you understand Force Majeure? Now’s the time to become an expert...
  5. Creative Trends - Event blogs can stimulate your ideas and you can start using Pinterest as a browser.

Advanced development:

For those of you that believe you’re already an expert, there’s always room for improvement. Consider enhancing your knowledge around a specific concept or tool. For instance, to be a marketing guru or an influencer in the MICE industry:

  1. First dive into the concept by listening to podcasts, Ted talks, or webinars in platforms like BrightTALK or IBTM world.
  2. Try following and getting in touch with people like Mariska Kesteloo and Sabrina Meyers (check out Mariska's podcast interview here).
  3. Think about which tools will help you to master the topic and take the SEO free class of Neil Patel, or the Google Analytics Academy.
  4. You can also take advantage of fantastic free platforms like Coursera or EDX, allowing you to study topics from The Strategy of content marketing to Introduction to sustainability or even a new language. If you need a certificate though, you’ll have to pay a small fee.
  5. To go further, if gender equality is one of your battles, subscribe to the Professional Women Network and The Female Quotient. Every week they have new conversations and mindset moments, a great opportunity to find inspiration, mentors and add more substance to your marketing strategy.

Obviously, we all need to know how to host a virtual event too, so make sure you understand all the available platforms. I recommend starting here for an introduction, and here to help choose your platform.

So MICE friends, ready to tackle a new personal challenge? Share your trainings and developments in the comments below as we're all here to learn!

Want to know more about CPD? Here is a technical explanation.

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