Because I started my post-college event planning career five years before joining Reinventing Events, and obtaining my CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) accreditation, I certainly felt I had a good handle on planning events. Which is my first point, planning in general, is ALWAYS an ongoing learning process. Even with a repeat meeting, a new problem, solution or realization always comes up. Therefore, I’ve included a shortlist of the most impactful learning lessons that I’ve experienced from this past year working for Reinventing Events.
Part of a team
The biggest change for me was not being the sole planner of a meeting anymore. Previously working for an organization as the only meeting planner, allowed me to work at my own pace, know every detail of every meeting and bend over backwards to be sure 400 packets get re-stuffed with the correct items…by myself. While it was at first an adjustment to work with others on an event, I’ve learned that it’s great to have colleagues who understand and can relate to what you’re doing and act as a team on and off site. There are so many moving parts to an event that learning new tools to work together is another area I’ve gained in. Task management tools such as Asana lets you see your ‘to-do’ lists each day, but also those of your teammates so everyone’s in the loop on a project. A team allows others to give input and support in ways you don’t get when working by yourself. Those that work with Reinventing Events, can tell we truly love what we do, so having a whole team like that can make you feel really proud of the outcome, plus having someone by your side at midnight on a late load-in can sure feel nice.
Working in Wineries with Vendors
I previously worked with many hotels, which usually serve as a one-stop shop so that no outside vendors are really necessary. This was one of the things that got me most excited about working with Reinventing Events, the possibility to work at non-traditional venues with multiple vendors to make the space our own. I really enjoy reaching out to vendors with a solid RFP (request for proposal) and making sure our needs can fully met before suggesting them to a client. I’ve also learned that it can enhance your event’s experience to ‘feel out’ vendors and see who provides the best proposal and best service before there’s even a signed contract.
In terms of venues, non-traditional event space can be such a cool experience for your attendees and also a big challenge for event planners. One of my favorite non-traditional venues in the past year was a winery on Treasure Island in San Francisco. Seeing a stage and screens next to rows of wine barrels was really neat. It definitely provided a unique meeting experience versus a traditional conference space. I learned that non-traditional venues can have their quirks and not come with the full-service that hotels do, but it just means you have to plan a little differently.
Lights, camera and all things AV
Projector, screen and a microphone, ready for a meeting? Not quite! If you’ve ever seen an AV (audio visual) proposal, there can be many line items that I know I never knew of, and even if I looked them up, I trusted that we needed it. Well in the last year, I have definitely strived to learn more and more about all that goes into a production. Not only because we work with many clients in the tech industry, whose reputation requires a high-quality event, but as a meeting professional in general I should know what I need to ask an AV vendor for, not the other way around.
Earlier this summer I completed a four week online course entitled, Technical Meeting and Event Production. Aside from learning the various AV equipment and what each piece does, I learned what kinds of questions to ask AV vendors and how to ensure we’re getting exactly what we need for our event.
While this may be my shortlist, there have been so many learning points from each event I’ve done over the last year. I love learning how to better myself and the events I’m producing time after time.
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