How to Attend an Event as an Event Planner

Last week my family attended a local baseball game. Around the third inning of the game, the large, digital screen started acting strangely. I was quick to comment on this event failure to my husband, and we discussed what might be done to fix it. That’s the event planner in me. Anytime I see something go wrong at an event I’m attending, I try to figure out a way to fix it, or at least think of what I would do if I was in the planner’s shoes.

It’s hard to turn off the “event planner” inside you when you attend a function you haven’t planned. However, especially when it comes to spiritual retreats and training events, it’s important to sometimes simply attend and enjoy, without the pressure of planning and executing.

If you are attending an event rather than planning it, keep these tips in mind:

  • You need spiritual refreshment. While it is possible to worship and be spiritually renewed during your planned events, it is hard. Something always interferes. The room is too cold. The speaker is running late. The video doesn’t play on cue. Someone is complaining about something. If you have the joy of attending an event as a guest, soak in the time you have without the added stress. Allow your spirit to be renewed.
  • Be reminded that mistakes will happen, but they are often unnoticed by most attendees. They happen with events you plan. They will happen with events you attend. As an attendee, realize mistakes happen, and see how, in the grand scheme of things, they are often not as big of a deal as you make them when you are the event planner. You will notice some of the smaller mistakes easily, but try to focus on the bigger picture, realizing most people don’t notice the small mistakes.
  • Take notes. It’s okay to “borrow” good ideas from other people. One great thing about attending events outside your own is for a different perspective. You have great ideas, but others do too. Learn from them. There may be ideas you can incorporate into future events.
  • Enjoy yourself! It’s okay to have fun at someone else’s event! Meet new people, experience new things, and be willing to let loose a little. After all, you aren’t in charge, and no one is looking to you for the answers.
  • Make connections. Introduce yourself to the event planner. Perhaps you can build a relationship where you trade event registrations in the future. For example, you could comp the registration fee for the event planner at one of your events in exchange for comped registration at one of their events.

Earlier this year I had the privilege of attending a writer’s conference as an attendee rather than a planner. It was an amazing feeling walking into the auditorium, realizing I had no responsibilities for the evening except to enjoy myself, worship, and learn. And, though it was hard to turn off the event planner mindset at first, I quickly became engrossed in the conference as a participant. And, it was a blessing!

5 Thoughts On The Growth Of Meeting Planners

A recent article on salary.com, listed Meeting/Event Planner as one of the top 5 fastest growing jobs in America. Matter of fact, it’s number 4 on the list behind Physical Therapy Assistant, Biomedical Engineer and Home Care Aide.

That got me thinking “what is behind this growth?” Here are 5 aspects that that I thought might be behind people becoming Meeting/Event Planners.

  1. Social aspect. If you’re like me, you’re very outgoing. This leads you to want to host events, get to know others and connect them to things you think they might enjoy.
  2. Ministry aspect. Since you’re reading this blog and its focus is on Christian events, the ministry aspect is probably a huge factor in your decision to be a meeting/event planner. God has gifted you with the talent to be an organizer, and you’re using that gift to be a meeting/event planner. As Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians this is your part of being the body of Christ.
  3. Servant aspect. This goes hand and hand with ministry, but I believe it involves a higher calling.  These are the types of people that want to be behind the scenes.  They don’t care if their name is called or not, they’ll be there to do the planning.
  4. Popular aspect. We seen a lot of growth in Pinterest. Watching these boards has given you several ideas to plan a meeting or event, and you’ve decided to give planning a try.
  5. Startup aspects. The startup costs to being a meeting/event planner are small. If you got a good laptop and smartphone, you’re ready to go. Some businesses require you to have a store front (rent) or inventory (cash flow). Those might be areas you get into down the road, but there not necessary to get your business up and running. The costs to start websites has decreased as well with the emergence of WordPress and similar platforms.

What do you think has lead to this growth?

You Don’t Have To Know It All

We all have this feeling inside us that makes us want to appear smarter than we really are.  I have it.  You have it.  It is us not wanting to appear vulnerable.  But I think every once in a while it’s ok to not know everything.

Let me give you an example.  One of my favorite books is Decision Points by George W. Bush (don’t worry, we’re not going to get political.)  On his second day in office, the topic of stem cell research was brought up.  President Bush stopped the conversation and asked for an explanation of what is stem cell research.

In the example above, I see the Leader of the Free World admitting he doesn’t know it all.  That’s pretty big!

Now it’s important to set aside some caricatures of President Bush in the mainstream media (i.e. Saturday Night Live.)  This man obviously did not get to be President by being a slouch.

As an event planner, you have teams to lead.  They may not work directly for you, but they’re sound engineers, multi-media producers, caters and others.  Every once in a while, it’s ok to stop them and ask for an explanation of something they said.

Let’s look at the sound engineers.  They deal with lots of technical jargon.  Speaking from someone in the entertainment business, I have to stop them and ask for an explanation.  And it’s ok.

All it takes is a polite reminder that you don’t work in that area.  They’ll be very understanding, and take the time to talk you through an issue.  Especially when you’re paying them for their time.

I hope this post will remind you that we’re all humans.  It’s ok to be one and not appear to know it all.

4 Ways We Promise To Show A Little Love

Earlier this year, CareerCast.com came out with their list of the most stressful jobs for 2012 (read here). Not surprisingly, soldier, fireman and police officer were all in the top 5.  What I definitely did not expect to see was event coordinator/planner at #6. After reading the article we responded by posting 5 stress relieving tips for meeting planners (read here), along with how to put together a meeting planner survival kit (read here). Hopefully you found at least one of these posts helpful!

At Ridgecrest we recognize how challenging and stressful it can be for the person planning their group’s meeting or retreat. Therefore we want to do everything we can to make planning an event with us a great, positive experience. To help make this happen, here are 4 ways we promise to show our event planners a little love:

  • Take the time to really listen – We know you’re busy and trying to juggle a boat load of details and a myriad of distractions. Whenever we talk, you will have our undivided attention as we discuss your meeting needs.
  • Be a problem solver- Let us know what problems you had with your last event and we’ll work closely with you to solve them. We want to help make you the hero!
  • We’ll offer suggestions/alternatives – We handle hundreds of meetings every year. This gives us the opportunity to see a lot of great and not so great event ideas. We’ll be sure to share ideas we think could positively impact your event and our feelings won’t be hurt if you choose not to take us up on a suggestion.
  • We’ll always say “thank you” – Your ministry is important to us and we’ll never take your business for granted!

As a meeting planner, how else can we show you a little love?