Event Planners: Where Do You Find Inspiration?
Posted by: Deborah Pannell
Monday, July 18th, 2011
In the ongoing blogalog with Tahira Endean, we’ve been exploring the different ways we find inspiration for our work in the events business. Now that Jenise Fryatt has also joined the conversation, we’ve gotten back to something I blogged about a while back – the theatrical roots of the special events world. To me, the central theme here is that an added dimension of fun and enjoyment helps inspire us to do our best work.
I think we can all agree that putting on a special event is tantamount to producing a show. There’s pre-production planning, rehearsal (preparation) and production. The show/meeting/event has to start on time and most definitely has an audience (exhibitors/clients/visitors/participants/attendees) to please. And the production team definitely plays the role of the performers, striving for a genuine connection with the audience and preparing for the inevitable accidents that will create some unexpected (and hopefully welcome) surprises along the way. And of course, we’re all hoping for rave reviews on opening night!
But where do you find the inspiration to take a multi-layered and potentially high-stress project and turn it into something that you can get really excited about?
If you are a professional event planner, chances are this is not a problem. Most planners love what they do, and it’s this passion for their profession that keeps them in business. This also goes for the event production people who work behind the scenes. Most of us are either show folk or tech geeks, and given the nature of this business, every event is a fresh opportunity to be creative, solve some new problems, and work with a team to make something wonderful happen. Although the hours are very long, and the work can be very stressful at times, it’s rarely boring, and that’s not a half bad way to make a living, as jobs go!
But what if you are not a full time event planner? What if you work for a company, and it’s part of your job to plan a yearly conference, or a team building event, or even the annual holiday party? What if you view these regular events with a mixture of dread and horror? Is there any way you can find a unique kind of pleasure in planning an event so that instead of “tackling a task,” you begin to think of it as an opportunity to channel some of your own personal inspiration in a positive direction?
I say yes!
Based on my own experience and the advice I’ve received from other event professionals, here are some ways you can truly engage yourself in planning your event, so it becomes more than just another boring work task:
1) Events are designed with people in mind – people like you and me. That means that if something makes you happy, chances are it will also please the people who come to your events. This could mean anything from the venue where you choose to hold your event to the colors you choose for the decor to the food on the menu. Even if you’ve been given directives from above, suggestions that come from your own taste and experience may be a welcome addition to the plan, and will get you personally excited about the project.
2) People like to have fun. It’s true. Even at business meetings. People like to enjoy the food and drinks during their breaks. They like to have pleasant conversation with new people. They like to laugh, even as they’re learning or conducting business. Perhaps you can incorporate some fun into your event via a new type of activity, such as bowling or karaoke, or a team sport like softball or volleyball, or improv or even ballroom dancing! Think about fun things you like to do, and how you could incorporate those activities into your event. You might be surprised at the receptivity of your planning team to some of your more creative ideas.
3) Incorporate a cause you really care about into your event. More and more planners are including some charitable dimension to their events. Of course, some events are planned specifically as fund raisers. In those cases, it goes without saying that if you are passionate about the cause you are supporting, then you will easily be able to devote yourself fully to the project and find willing supporters. But even the most straightforward events can be transformed into something really special, by adding some kind of give-back component. Think about some cause or charity that has a theme that is compatible with your client’s product or a mission that will contribute positively to your corporate identity. Again, if you are personally excited about this, it will go a long way to getting others on board with your plans.
Bringing a personal dimension to your work as an event planner will have the dual benefit of making it more enjoyable for you as well as inspiring others on your team and leaving your attendees wanting more. And you know one of the prime directives of show business… always leave them wanting more!
Photo by eye of einstein
Posted with the permission of Deborah Pannell | Originally posted @ http://www.eventwist.com/blog/event-planning/inspiration-find/