In my early days in events and trade show management, someone said to me “Once you’re on that rollercoaster, it’s pretty hard to get off“. And they were right.
Now, some young talent might be thinking about whether their career should take them into B2B events, conferences, trade shows and stuff like that (rather than in wedding planning, accounting or even banking)
Let me give you my 10 points that make me love what I do and motivate me to get up in the morning and welcome every new day in this fascinating business!
Hope you can relate to some of those points.
- Professional background? Doesn’t really matter! Don’t get me wrong: that doesn’t mean anyone could work in events! In fact, a good mixture of talent is the best recipe for a great events team, people with organization skills, sales pros, communication guys, people with backgrounds in the industry you are working in etc. I do admire the university degrees that are being offered in the meantime for event management, but they are not the only way to start a great career in events. Career changers are welcome!
- Working in events, you’ll meet a lot of people who share a passion for what they do. It is what many people dream of doing. Sure enough, working in events is not always 100% fun, there are dull tasks, too, and it is stressful. At the end of the day, every event has a deadline. The nearer it draws, the more hectic it gets. But nothing beats the feeling when an event comes to life as planned, and when you can share these moments with a team of like-minded people who have been working loooong hours to make that moment happen!
- Panta rhei. Nothing ever stays the same. Every event is different, and re-inventing the wheel is part of our fantastic journey as event organizers. “That’s how we always did it” is a sentence that you won’t hear from great event guys.
- Event guys speak the same language – whereever they are on the planet. That struck me in particular during my time at the World Association of Newspapers, where my team and I organized a portfolio of roughly 40 international events per year, from Dubai, Bangkok to Vienna, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Moscow. Where ever I went, I met people who were on the same wave length. And you make friends easily when you all know what you’re talking about 😉
- Creativity is required in more than one way! Not necessarily the same creativity you would need when you work in an advertising agency. It’s rather the creativity that you need to design attendee and exhibitor experiences before, during and after the event. That is a kind of creative work on multiple levels: meeting design, interaction design, web, advertising, email marketing, social media, print advertising, sponsorship campaigns… There is no end for creative ideas!
- Business orientation and entrepreneurship make a great event professional. What good is it to create the most captivating event with no one attending! A good feeling for the needs of your target audience – and what they’d be prepared to pay for – is essential for a successful event organizer.
- Events and digital: A perfect match! There was a lot of talk about how digital media would replace face to face meetings and exhibitions. Hasn’t happened. People want to meet in real life, they want to know if they can trust a person or a vendor/exhibitor, and that trust can not be built by digital media alone. That said, events are the perfect playground for digital extensions of the real life encounters. A partnership made in heaven.
- Kaizen is the Japanese philosophy of continually improving all functions. Literally, it means “good change”. When working in events, you are eager to scrutinize every detail in the process before, during and after events, aiming to improve customer experience, workflow efficiency, your bottom line and – last but not least – the way your team mates and you collaborate.
- Bringing people together is what events are all about. Did you enjoy inviting guests, preparing food, being a good host? Then there is a good chance that you can do the same thing on a different level, too, staging conferences or trade shows. Essentially, those kind of events are a success when people meet, learn together, get inspired and leave the event doing things differently than before. Hopefully better than before 😉
- Wow-factor: The first event I was involved in as a marketing and events trainee was a huge fashion show in Cologne, with more than 1000 guests, presenting quite unusual stuff by Belgian designer Walter van Beirendonck. As the final scene of the show, 120 models, both professionals and street models, were standing on a sort of giant cake, placed on the Tanzbrunnen in Cologne. Wow. That was the moment when I knew that I’ll probably keep doing stuff like this my entire life. Now, let’s be frank: Not all events are like that. But still, the feeling you have when something long planned for comes to life is simply very hard to beat.
All in all: Don’t hesitate to test the waters of event business. You’ll pretty soon find out if that is your cup of tea or not.
In case it is not your cup of tea: Rather go for something else, because you won’t be happy doing this.
In case it is your kind of thing: Be prepared to continue for a loooong, loooong time…!
What brought you into events? Look forward to your stories!