Considering a Career in Event Management?
The Good News, The Bad News, & How to Make It Happen
When people hear event planner, they tend to dream up an image of glamour and glitz, fabulous outfits and parties, getting paid to schmooze with VIPs, and drinking lots of wine.
Or they think of The Wedding Planner - falling in love with your clients and running around with a clipboard...while drinking lots of wine.
If you're considering event management careers, I have good and bad news for you. An event management career is hard work. It's research, budgeting, long hours, tight deadlines, dealing with frustrating clients, following up, then following up some more, and then realizing you need to follow up again.
An event management career is very early mornings and late, late nights. It's being over-caffeinated on event day and dying to go to bed by 10pm, but having to stay up to complete a post-event report.
The good news is, it's also like The Wedding Planner – minus falling in love (unless you're one of the lucky ones). You'll have your moment to dress up and let your bun down. You'll work with companies and individuals that you can name drop during your Tinder date. You'll receive free products and a mountain of samples to try.
You'll sit down after your event has ended, take a deep breath, and feel a gigantic sense of accomplishment because after months of creating the world's biggest bags under your eyes – you did it. You organized a successful event. Then the praise and compliments will flood your inbox from attendees and suppliers and suddenly, you forget the nights spent stress eating brownies and you're itching to get started on your next event.
Oh, and you'll definitely drink lots of wine.
But before we get there, let's take a step back.
What exactly is event management?
While other jobs don't have clear definitions, this one definitely does and according to Cambridge Dictionary, event management is "the job of planning and managing large events".
There's a saying that event managers are jacks of all trades but masters of none. That's because we're great at looking at the big picture and grand ideas. We know enough about AV to know that we want the experts to install our rigging and lighting. We plan and we manage events, but we're also planning and managing people for our events.
So, how do you know if a career in event management is for you?
1. You're a people person
If you love meeting new people, then you will thrive in this career. Event management is all about people and you will constantly be working with others from your event team, to vendors and attendees.
If you don't love people, you can always grow your skillset. Start by grabbing a copy of timeless classic and best-seller, How to Win Friends and Influence People.
2. You're very organized
There are countless details involved with every level of event management, so organization is a key skill to have. With strict deadlines and so many little details, it takes extreme organization to bring together a successful event. If you keep a meticulous diary (I'm looking at the Virgos) and can keep to a timeline, then you're on your way.
3. …but you're also flexible
You can plan to your heart's content, but something will always go wrong. You need to be quick on your feet and resourceful to solve the problem. You should be able to work under pressure and get the job done – there's always time to cry about it after.
4. You're a creative human being
Whether you work as a freelancer or with a corporation, creative ideas are golden. In this industry you need to focus on experiences that will wow your audience. All you need to do is pair your creative ideas with the logistical capability to execute them, and you've got an award-winning event.
5. You're full of passion and energy
As previously mentioned, a career in event management is hard work. You need to be passionate about your event and your job to get through all of the rough patches you'll experience.
And how do you even begin to get into the event management world?
The easiest way is to volunteer. There is a whole world of companies and events that will happily take you on as a volunteer. You can volunteer for one-off events doing simple jobs such as customer service, or take on bigger roles where you volunteer for a not-for-profit.
I volunteered for an event where I ended up meeting Rachel Zoe. On another occasion, I volunteered for a charity event hosted by a well-known and respected organization, and afterwards I was offered an internship.n. I raised my hand to volunteer as an event coordinator with a non-profit, ran a small but mighty fundraiser, and as a result, I've developed relationships with big household name brands. Volunteering works.
Alternatively, if you love structured learning and coursework makes you feel more comfortable, you can complete a course in event management. I decided to study an event management course halfway through my degree and I absolutely loved it. It was a hell of a year to get through, but at the end of it, I had a technical skill set to back up my experience. Plus, I made some great friends along the way.
The important takeaway is that you don't need the qualification to become an event manager, but you do need the experience. If you type "event volunteer" into Google, there will be pages and pages of opportunities, so grab one. Say yes to as many as you can, work hard while you're there and soon you'll have your own event network to rely on.
Then before you know it, your first event will be over, your event management career will be on the rise...and you'll find yourself drinking lots of wine.
It's been six years since Sarah Cooper graced us with her 10 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings. But how on earth can we appear smart in our new virtual world, in which for many of us, going to work is just sitting in one long series of probably-not-necessary Zoom meetings?
1. Dial in.<p>Dialing in rather than joining via the link instantly boosts your credibility. Who calls into Zoom meetings? People who are still busy and important enough to be leaving their houses! But you needn't actually be one of those people, or even more than a foot away from your computer to pull off this maneuver. (Remember, this article is called *seeming* smart, not being smart.)</p><p><strong></strong><em>Bonus: </em>If it's a large meeting at which attendance will be taken, the person running the meeting will inevitably ask, "Who's calling in from 443-322-2121?" That's when you raise your metaphorical hand, jump off mute, and say "[Your name] here. Really looking forward to hearing your perspective on [meeting topic]." And voila! You've stolen the meeting spotlight.</p>
2. Don't come on camera—ever.<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ0ODU5OS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNjMwNjI3OX0.4fLyq2CvkZAJ7n_03esZepY37mOdyGdDdTEUYt5XEU0/img.png?width=980" id="bc7e6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fbbf21cc5d8c863b30654ae6993b04f5" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p><br></p><p>Much like the "dial in," this technique works because it makes you appear aloof. If <em>The Crown has </em>taught me anything, it's that the key to maintaining a sense of mystique and prestige is to keep people at arm's length—and if you absolutely <em>must</em> touch them, wear a glove.</p>
3. Only communicate via chat.<p>Once you've mastered the art of staying off camera, you can level up by communicating exclusively via the chat box. Don't come off mute at all, even if the speaker asks your opinion. You are the elusive chatter and you will not be forced into actually participating in said meeting.</p>
4. Ask to share your screen.<p>Being aloof is great, but it's all about balance. Sprinkling in some active participation will really shock and impress your colleagues if you catch them off guard, so save this technique for when you've strategically <em>not </em>participated in a string of meetings.</p><p>Spend a few minutes prior to the meeting prepping a few inspirational slides with words like "synergy," "optimization," and "redefining 'culture'", or spend a few minutes poking around in Google Analytics. </p><p>Then wait for the opportune moment to say, "Can I just share my screen for a moment? I have some really interesting data I'd like to share...." and BAM — brilliance established.</p>
5. Show off your Zoom-saviness.<p>Try saying, "You know you can mute people, right?" to the host when they beg whoever's got the lawn mower and crying baby in the background to put themselves on mute for the nth time.<br></p>
6. Create an alter ego.<p>This tactic requires commitment, but the pay off is certainly worth it. Join the Zoom meeting from your normal account + name, and then join it again on a second device from an alias. Have your alter-ego ask some probing or stat-based questions in the chat and have the answers ready ahead of time. It should work something like this:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>Your alter ego Charlene</strong><strong>:</strong> "Does anyone know what percentage conversion rates increased by in Q2?"</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>Real you</strong>: *doesn't miss a beat* "It looks like Charlene has a question in the chat. That would be 36%."</p><div>Never mind that no one on your team knows who Charlene is or why she's at this meeting, they'll be too blown away by your brilliance to notice. (Bonus points if you use this strategy in conjunction with techniques 1, 2, 3 or 4!)</div>
7. Place an obscure object in your background that exudes intelligence.<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ0ODYxOC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNzk5Njg2Mn0.V9_-3Ij3v_QndseqlrXRt5Nn39EJ97-itjls5zzYPf8/img.png?width=980" id="a369d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="604a2f04b53c2e3bc801bfa5256f367b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p><br></p><p>We're talking a telescope, or perhaps a hardcover copy of <em>War & Peace </em>(no one need know that its only purpose in your life is as a makeshift yoga block).</p><p>If you don't have any suitable props at your disposal, do not despair: download some screenshots of Sheldon's apartment from <em>Big Bang Theory </em>or the chalkboard in <em>Good Will Hunting </em>and use those as a virtual background.</p>
8. Ask "Is this really the best course of action given the current climate?"<p>Economic collapse, COVID, racism… No need to specify whether you're referring to one or all of the above; just sit back and watch your boss squirm amidst the ambiguity.</p><p>This strategy pairs very well with techniques 2 and 3. You can prep additional vague-but-probing questions ahead of time and pepper them into the chat box throughout the meeting:</p><ul><li>How will this scale?</li><li>Do we really have the bandwidth for this right now?</li><li>What's the value-add here?</li></ul>
9. Remind everyone that you have a paid Zoom account.<p>"Oh, it looks like we're getting the 40-minute warning. I have a paid account, do you want to switch to my room?" It's helpful, with just a touch of condescension. Everyone knows condescending people are smart. And everyone knows that people with paid Zoom accounts are super important.</p>
10. Tell everyone you have a hard stop.<p>When pressed for details, share your philosophy on "work-from-home" balance and how committed you are to getting up once an hour to walk to your refrigerator.</p>
11. Ask the screensharer/host to "pull something up" for everyone.<p>Ask the presenter to navigate to a screen that only you know how to navigate well. Laugh maniacally while they suffer from crippling performance anxiety. Let them struggle for as long as is tolerable before saying, "Oh you know what? I can just share my screen if you want. That would probably be easier." BAM you're the hero. Don't worry, no one will even pause to consider that you could have proposed this course of action from the start.</p>
12. Say Zoom fatigue as many times as possible.<p>If you're too tired to employ any of the other strategies, just say "I know everyone is experiencing a lot of Zoom fatigue, so we can keep this meeting short." Then hang up as quickly as possible. Meeting averted! </p><p>After all, there's no better way to demonstrate your intelligence in a virtual meeting than to demonstrate why it wasn't really necessary in the first place. </p>
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