Do you have what it takes to be a success in the Events business? For all of the amazing things we are privileged to experience, it regularly rates among the most stressful jobs in America – just behind the dangerous jobs of military, firefighters, police and airline pilots. I have had a first hand look at it over 30+ years in the business, and the number of moving parts, moving targets and changing deadlines means a successful event professional has to be organized, dedicated and able to change direction on the fly. Most of their largest events take place while everyone else is home with friends and family, or tucked comfortably in bed, so a passion for your role is a must.
So, what does it take to achieve success? The title of this column sums it up nicely. The most obvious or simplest solution is rarely the best one. You must have a brain full of resources and options, many of which you have never tried before.
For Courtney Fields, our team’s Creative Designer and former Event Producer, there’s nothing better than receiving a hand-written thank you note from a client. She describes it as her “love letter,” words of affirmation from her client. For Courtney, smiling clients and participants are the icing on the cake and the reward for all of the behind the scenes research, education and work that creates a successful “eventprof”. She knows then all the hard work she devoted to the planning and execution helped her to hit a home run.
What is the secret recipe to ensuring your guests will have smiling faces? Selecting the right partner is the first step, knowing that they have an experienced design team and production team behind them. A partner that understands your objectives and has the resources to deliver them in a way you would have never thought of.
When we ask for a call to go over your event, it is because we really do want to understand what is important to you, as each event and its objectives are different. We want to understand:
What’s most important to you and your stakeholders?
How you want your attendees to feel and what you want their journey to feel like?
What is something you want them to remember the most about their experience?
What is the experience you’re hoping to create so the design team can get creative from your description?
The second step is to understand more about the team you’re working with. How do they stay current, and what are their resources? Courtney describes some of the ways she develops her resources: “Being on the Board of NACE New Orleans, I plan and attend monthly education meetings and events. Since these are industry professionals, there is always the challenge to give them something new. I travel to events like SXSW, to get ideas and experiences from outside our typical world. I also follow a variety of #eventprof groups and professionals and sit on webinars regarding trends and other ‘hot topics.’ One quirk, I always watch the Victoria Secret Fashion show. While that might sound silly, the event does set the tone the following year. When traveling (whether for work or personally), I also try to do something with local flair, to see how other destinations create experiences. I love living like a local in my own city, so I want to experience others as well and this helps me develop new ideas.”
As a mentor in the industry, Courtney’s advises her mentees looking to be a student of the hospitality industry not to be afraid to taking risks, knowing you will sometimes be learning from your mistakes. It is the only way to learn. But in this this business you can always stretch your boundaries, leading you to “Go the Extra Mile, It’s Never Crowded.”
For your next meeting in New Orleans, our Creative Designer Courtney is ready to show you what she has learned on the Extra Mile.