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Event leadership | 4 November 2015

10 Tips to Be a Better Event Planning Consultant

Sydney Dawes

For you, events are like works of art: each starts as a vision. From this vision, you carefully lay out how to get to the finished product. Step by step, the vision forms into something with substance. Through time, effort, and some struggle, your event grows into something more and more tangible.

Despite your event planning skill, there is always more you can do to better serve your clients and the events you plan. That’s why we have created this list of tips to be a better event planning consultant. Add a few of these best practices to your repertoire and make every new event a masterpiece.

1. Have an open mind

As you progress in your career, you’re bound to develop your own personal style of planning. It’s important to be open to the suggestions of your team members, clients or event volunteers.

Even if they don’t have as much experience as you, problem solving should be a collaborative effort.

To keep an open-mind, in “7 Ways to Be a More Creative Event Organizer,” Bizzabo blogger Siobhan Becker suggests you should encourage all event stakeholders to come with each meeting with at least one new idea on how the event can be improved.

Not only will it help to improve the overall event, but it will also make key members of the event to feel as though their opinion is valued.

2. Find an organization method that’s right for you

Let’s face it: there’s no way you’ll be able to memorize and recall all the information necessary to plan for your event. Utilize tools and resources to aid in your planning process. Selecting a world-class event management software will help you plan better events in less time. In addition, you might want to consider incorporating some task management tools into your workday, to help you keep track of key-deliverables.

3. Stand out on social media

LinkedIn. Twitter. Facebook. Pinterest. Tumblr. It’s crucial to keep up with all of them so that you can build your brand and attract potential clients.

Create Pinterest boards to build your network. Pinterest allows users to pin the things they find interesting; this is your opportunity to let your or your company’s personality and aspirations be known. To broaden your network, pin content that is relevant and interesting to your followers. Also, keep search engines in mind and write detailed descriptions on both your boards and pins.

Utilize Facebook to market directly to potential clients. Most professionals have a Facebook account that they check throughout the day. This gives you an amazing opportunity to reach out to people who may be in need of your services. To promote your business, post content that is interesting, has good graphics, and does not appear too gimmicky. Sharing genuinely helpful content on Facebook will position you as a thought leader in the planning industry.

Finally, connect to like-minded professionals using LinkedIn. LinkedIn has a ton of neat features to help you get your foot in the door with potential clients, such as LinkedIn Communities, which allows users to post content to people in similar industries. Another great tool is LinkedIn Pulse, which allows you to read content from key industry influencers while also providing LinkedIn users with an opportunity to share their own original content with connections

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4. Build connections that last

Although you’re in charge of a majority of the grunt work, your clients are still a driving force in the event’s debut. Research your clients to find out their basic financial information and their competitors, it will help you position yourself as someone who’s interested in building events that help them achieve success.

Consider setting up Google Alerts for your client’s company and their top competitors. This will help you stay on your toes as you’re working with their company. You may even consider emailing clients information you’ve found on competitors that you think is relevant, to demonstrate that you have their best interest at heart.

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Throughout your time working with your clients, let your them know you appreciate their business by referencing your clients in newsletters, emails, and social media posts, even after their event has passed.

After a successful event, ask if they are willing to be references for you. It will make finding and converting new clients faster if you can use positive experiences you’ve had with past clients to demonstrate just how great of a planner you are.

In addition to having clients agree to act as references for you, consider collecting quotes from them that you can use with potential clients as a way of winning new business. Create a document with all of your customer testimonials in one place so that they’re ready to share at a moment’s notice.

5. Read event planning blogs

When all else fails, look toward the words of others. Many of your fellow event planners, along with event-planning businesses, have blogs packed with knowledge on how to expand your network and better your skills.

Check out the top 20 event industry blogs to keep in the know.

6. Keep your team up to date

Effective communication is a building block when constructing a successful team. Thus, you and your team must be on the same page in order for an event to run smoothly.

To ensure everyone stays up to date, consider asking your team to provide you with a daily progress report containing information on what they’ve accomplished that day and what needs to be finished later in the week.

Establish a group chat through apps like GroupMe, WhatsApp or Slack to make team communication easier.

7. Focus on Millennials

Figuring out how to hire and train event talent is crucial. You can make your job a lot easier by getting better at attracting millenial candidates. After all, they are the largest employed demographic to-date.

According to Inc., members of generation Y tend to “remain detached from institutions, but closely networked with friends.”

If your company appears too impersonal, you’ll deter them from working with you as a client, or working for you as an employee.

Instead of portraying your company as institutional, portray it as a group of people who are passionate about creating memorable experiences.

By that same token, it’s not about the salary, it’s about the fulfillment.“Various psychological studies are showing that all people — not just Millennials — are happier when their money is spent on living, rather than on having” (AdAge).

Build an event planning company that focuses on providing great experiences to attendees and clients and you’ll find it will be easier to attract better clients and better talent.

8. Create interactive events

We live in the era of short-attention spans: many audiences struggle with distractions, and speakers often have a hard time holding their attention. Keep your audiences engaged by allowing them to soak in information in a fun, interactive way.

A growing trend among event planners is to use either virtual or augmented reality during events. Submerge your attendees in a new world, or add to the one that already exists. For example, the Consumer Electronics Show featured a pavilion for virtual and augmented reality, which allowed attendees to don a headset and peak into a simulation of the life of a Fashion Week model.

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Interactive event elements will become increasingly popular at live events in the coming years. Event organizers who can master these new technologies now will be ahead of the curve in the next few months.

In addition to virtual and augmented reality, there are a number of other anticipated event trends that will become increasingly prevalent at the most successful events and conferences. For more information on the future of event technology, click the button below and download our event trends eBook!

9. Make an event emergency kit

Even with the most thorough planning, sometimes things just go wrong. Maybe it’s a defective cable, or maybe the Wifi is acting up. Don’t let these minor mishaps set you back, though! Be sure to include these backup tools in your emergency toolbox to avert event disaster.

  • Ethernet cables (in case wifi goes down)

  • USB Drives

  • Extension cords and power strips

  • Display cables (HDMI or VGA cables)

  • Mini display cable converters (for Apple computers)

  • The contact information of people in charge of:

  • Duct tape or glue dots

  • Laptop and phone chargers

These small items will save you when you’re in a pinch, and they may even let you come out as the event hero!!!

10.   Follow up with clients and team members

After all is said and done, thank the people who dedicated their time and effort to helping you coordinate the event. Whether it’s through thank-you cards or a newsletter, recognition goes a long way.

You could also send your clients a satisfaction survey to see what their overall experience was and to learn how you can improve as an event planning consultant in the future. Free survey tools like Typeform are a great inexpensive way to collect and analyze feedback from your clients.

Conclusion

There are many different types of consulting. Sometimes lessons learned in these different fields are applicable to events, in other cases there are certain lessons that can only be learned through event consulting.

Aim to be a better communicator, a more open-minded leader, and an efficient messenger by keeping your team members informed.

Be prepared for anything life throws at you by having an emergency kit on hand. Stay on your toes with a task management app and a few favorite event planning blogs, and utilize social media to broaden your professional horizons.

Take the next step in your work relationships by creating goodwill and building trust with your clients, and appeal to the next generation of clients and employees.

Dive into virtual reality to excite and engage guests and request feedback from your clients so you can build upon the skills and expertise you already have.

To be an even better event planning consultant, click the button below and  check out some of our awesome resources. Your brain will thank you.

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