While completing my Masters in Communication Studies, I had the opportunity to work with one of the leading event management agencies as an intern. I felt lucky, just like any struggling actor. Mumbai was a bustling city and for someone who has grown up and lived in towns the size of one of its suburbs, it was also a bit overwhelming.
Anyway, I was supposed to shadow one of the tough young rising stars in the organisation. He had a reputation of “standing” all through an event. I worked with him through the night on couple of occasions and figured out why. The guy just stood there through out the set up prior night making sure everything worked. I learnt a few things in those two months.
Execution: What looks good during the planning stage needs the magic of execution in the night. There is nothing left to chance. One has to toil through the details a million times and ensure the people partnering with you also do so.
Versatility: At times there is no fail-safe in any event. In the events world one should be flexible to last minute changes, cancellations by important dignitaries or some of the products failing to start. You might be at your wits end but it is important to remain witty in the face of challenges.
Enjoy: Events are great fun, months of planning comes to fruition and working with multiple stakeholders enriches knowledge. An opportunity to work on 360-degree communications plans and execute it.
Navigate: The learning is also rich. Navigating the same set of stakeholders through some tough conversations, choices and decisions. Managing relationships in such events is like trying to drink water from a water hose running in full force.
Triumph: But all this is worthwhile, especially on day one of the event. You have achieved everything; the management is happy that you did not let go of the end goal and saw things through. You also feel happy that something which was conceived at a macro level and worked on micro details is over and has been delivered beyond expectations.
However, this does bring me back to the earlier point- how much did you stand through all of it? Or was it you who withstood all the challenges while managing the project? Tired feet and drained mobile batteries might provide the answer.
In the corporate world in B2B, we generally participate in two to three marquee events in a year. Customer-focused events are smaller in scale and size and can be generally managed without much of a hassle. A few companies have also started creating curated customer events where the focus is on end to product and solutions. Events are a great communications medium, done right it even become memorable!