Being an event planner / event organiser is one of the most dynamic jobs in the world, as well as one of the toughest. For the last few years I’ve looked at the role of the event organiser to try to keep up with how much it has changed. The “event planner / event organiser” role has changed quite dramatically in this year alone!
So, now is the time, to look at the NEW tasks and the NEW areas that we event professionals are expected to be able to cover.
Skills needed for organising an event grow, and grow every year
If you want to move from being a good organiser to a great organiser then you must ensure that you concentrate on adding new skills each year. New event organiser skills will really help you develop, and stay at the very cutting edge of your profession. But what skills should an event organiser / event planner focus on as we make our way through 2017?
Here’s our list of new event planner skills that the cutting edge planner should add or hone:
1. Be social
To properly understand social media, event planners have to be social. It is great to see an increasing number of event planners blogging and taking part in twitter chats and forums. Planners have to share, follow, post and engage. If we become super users of social media our events will reap the benefits.
2. Become a listener
We have to ensure we listen to our stakeholders, our attendees, visitors, exhibitors all the way through the whole event management process. More than ever people are willing and able to give us their opinion. We have to collect, monitor and act on these opinions. In an environment of increasing competition we can no longer simple move on to the next event; we have to listen to our stakeholders.
3. Understand the indirect and direct impact of your events
The more events we run, the more of an opportunity we have to make a positive impact in the locations we run our events, or at least to minimise the negative impact we may have. I have covered the impact of tourism / events in Barcelona in previous posts. I think more event planners should be, at least aware, of the “impact”, both positive and negative of our events.
4. Understand the power of Live Video
Live video is already playing a huge role in our events. Julius Solaris at EventManager blog pointed to it being the most important development to hit events in years. I would agree that it is important for events. But in terms of skills to be added to Event Planners, it is no more important than the other areas on this list. However it is crucial that event planners familiarise themselves with the technical aspects of live video. It is a space that is continually evolving.
5. Buddy up
Planners can reduce costs / save money by “budding up” with other planners. Bulk buying and working with other planners (both internally and externally) is an area that will quickly and impressively add value to your events. Too often we just don’t have the time to ask our network for recommended suppliers or rarely would we ask to buddy up for pruning services or transport. Time to change!
6. Become a quick fire designer
We have to promote our events using more engaging material. The modern event planner can knock you up a cracking flyer in only a few minutes. This is becoming an increasingly important part of the modern event planner’s arsenal. Basic design skills are fast becoming crucial for any role which has to create engaging content.
7. Boost your project management skills
As our events become ever more complicated, event planners have to master the project management discipline. Not only do we have a lot of complicated tasks to oversee, or complete ourselves!, we are also likely to have to manage a number of staff and contractors. Events have always been closely tied to project management, but that relationship is becoming much closer.
8. Know how to find the experts
To deliver the best possible event is becoming increasingly impossible for one event organiser or one small team. The successful events are adding experts to help them deliver the best possible event. The modern day event planner does not have to be an expert but they do have to know who those experts are. The modern event planner must have a “little black book” or at least the ability to search “event consultants UK”, for example, to find experts who can add value to their events.
So fast paced is our industry that I imagine I will be able to add at least a couple more skills before the end of the year. Being an Event Planner / Organiser is a day job like no other!
At the Event Innovation Summit in Barcelona in October a charming Spanish Gentleman and I got speaking about hashtags. As you do! He said he had seen the Event Innovation Summit hashtag being used and advertised but wasn’t sure exactly why the organisers and everyone else would use it. I very briefly said they are great and I have been going on about hashtags for a while!
We then started talking about EIBTM. He said “how can I get the most from the #eibtm? I said that would depend form what perspective he looked from. Was he talking as:
- an attendee
- an exhibitors
- a speakers or
- the organiser
Using EIBTM as an example he wanted to understand exactly how a hashtag if used properly could add value to his next event. I said I would drop him a note. And here it is in Blog format. I’ve looked at how each stakeholder could use the event hashtag to best effect.
How to get the most out of the #eibtm (or any event) hashtag
Now I am using the #eibtm hashtag as a live example but the outline really could be relevant for ANY event hashtag.
And I will look at how each stakeholder can use the hashtag to get more value from the event. With one week to go to EIBTM I would love to see an increased awareness of how useful the tag could and should be. So please feel free to forward on the Blog.
So first up and most importantly: how attendees should make the most of an event #tag
1.Use it to keep up to date. As we build up to the event the hashtag is a great way to find out more about the event in an easy, hassle free way. At a large event there is a lot going on. If you want to stay on top of what’s happening simply FOLLOW THE HASHTAG. Following the #tag is easy. Just type it into the search function in Twitter and save the search.
2. Use it to help you network. Most of the people and organisations using the hashtag in the run up to the event will be attending. You can use the #tag to help make the most of your time at the conference.
– Is there anyone who is ‘talking your language?’
– Is someone they tweeting about the areas that you want to know about?
If so why not contact them and ask to meet up? The hashtag is a great way to open up communication with people outside of your network who have similar interests.
3. Use it to help you decide what to do at the show. You have a whole host of choices at a show the size of EIBTM. It is impossible to go to every stand or to see every speaker. So use the hashtag to help you make those decisions. If you aren’t sure about a session why not see if that speaker has tweeted using the hashtag? (in the speaker section below I will cover what they should be tweeting about) If they have tweeted I would say he/she is more likely to have put more effort into their engagement and involvement with the show. The same goes for exhibitors. As an attendee I will be using the hashtag as a pointer to the sessions I should attend and the stands I should visit.
How speakers should make the most of an event #tag
1. Use it to provide more learning. It is unlikely that any speaker is really able to get everything over to those gathered to listen to her during their short session. So use the hashtag as a way to point to extra content. It’s a great way to get people to do a bit of prep before they attend your session – perhaps a blog on the issue you are covering or other content related to the session.
2. Use the hashtag to engage with your audience. Jump on the hashtag and use it to check and tailor the content you are covering. Ask your potential audience. After your session use it to see if you missed anything out of your session as well as highlighting more content related to your session.
3. Use it to promote your session. You want the right people at your session so use the hashtag to tell people who that is and why they should attend your session.
How exhibitors should make the most of an event #tag
1. Generate leads. Follow people who use the hashtag. Retweet their great content. Start engaging with attendees before the event. Try to make sure that the people who arrive on your stand already know who you are and more importantly that you have taken the time to know who they are.
2. Shorten your sales pipeline. Use the hashtag to see who is attending the event. You won’t have a complete list from the organisers so use the hashtag to find out. Find out a bit more about their business via their Twitter profile. Contact them if they are relevant, if you think you can really help them. With this proactive approach you could have them arrive on your stand to discuss the proposal you’ve already worked on.
3. Don’t just highlight that you are taking a stand but highlight why people should seek you out. Upload links to content using the hashtag. Demonstrate that you understand your clients business by commenting and retweeting.
Use it to prove that you are committed to your customers and serious about doing business at the show.
How organisers should make the most of an event #tag
This is the simple part. As organisers we can add so much value to our events if we lead on use of the hashtag. This link explains how organisers can best use the hashtag in detail.
But in general all we have to do is promote the benefits (like I’ve listed above) to our stakeholders. When people use our hashtag there is so much in it for us so we have to put that bit more into it. We have to educate and inform. And most importantly we have to lead and demonstrate that we really know what not only we are talking about but what our attendees, exhibitors and speakers want to talk about.