I took part in a very interesting #EventPlannersTalk on twitter last night and the question of personal development came up. I’m currently on my own personal development journey after spending a number of years in the events industry and I’m quite often asked what advice I would offer other aspiring event professionals or people looking to make a career change like me. So here goes…

1. Set your personal goal and objectives

Would you set out on a journey without having an idea of your destination? probably not! Take the time to think about what you want from life and set yourself some goals and objectives, it’s a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future and for motivating yourself to turn your vision into a reality. By knowing what you want to achieve you then know where you have to concentrate your efforts and it will give you the overall perspective that shapes all other aspects of your decision-making. Spend some time brainstorming then select one or more goals that best reflect what you want to do.

My personal goal is that I am passionate about people and the events industry and want to remain working in an industry that I love and that for me is all about creating memories and experiences. However, I want to be in the thick of the action, I want to be involved and a part of it, that’s what motivates me and motivated my decision to change from sales to operations. I want to do something I’m passionate about, that will make me happy and that’s fun, after all the moment you no longer enjoy something isn’t that the opportune time to make a change?

Setting a goal can also be applied to all areas of your life not just your professional life however, it’s important to make sure the goals you set are ones you genuinely want to achieve and not ones that your parents, family or employers might want. If you have a partner then it’s always important to consider what he or she may want also however, make sure you also remain true to yourself.

It’s also important to be in the right mindset and have a understanding of what it takes and means to be successful but also have your own interpretation away from the mainstream of what success is. Success is not just a six figure salary and a fancy job title, it can be a whole manor of life achievements so it’s important to be clear on what success means to you.

2. Have a plan

Once you know what your personal goals and objectives are then create a plan with smaller goals, these plans can be for one month, six months, 1 year or even 5 years, whatever takes your fancy, then create your to do list and have things to do today that will help you achieve your goals tomorrow.

At this stage, your plan might include reading books, completing a diploma course like me, networking, a mentorship, there is lots you can consider. It’s also important to have a think about the 5 Ws, who, what, where, when and why and also how?

Set yourself some KPIs (key performance indicators) so you can review your plan and make any changes to ensure it still fits with what you want to achieve and you are on the right track, and as a back up it’s always useful to have a plan, B, C and D!

 3. Network, network, network

I like to think of this as the ‘Eventcourse’ mantra! One of the first things you learn with Ashdown Academy is the importance of networking, building up your connections is a crucial part of being a great event professional and having good contacts that can step in quickly should anything go wrong and hand you a lifeline is essential.

But it’s not only for this reason, I know from my years working in sales that our industry is incredibly competitive, someone will always come along that can do it bigger and better than you. Business is not going to find you unless you have a monopoly and a unique offering that nobody else has, you have to go out there and find the business or give them good reasons to come to you and you do that by networking and communicating. People also buy people and having great relationships is so critical in the events industry, it is the foundation of everything that we do.

It’s also important to network with your peers and industry leaders, find out what they are doing, have conversations about what they find works well and not so well, you’ll pick up some great tips and advice. Remember though you shouldn’t blindly accept a leaders advice, it’s important sometimes to question, take away what you’ve learnt and then put your own personal spin on it.

4. Don’t be afraid to take a risk

Go for it! Don’t wait for someone to tell you that you’re ready, take a risk and jump in. The events industry is constantly evolving, if you wait to be told to make that step you’ll get left behind, we work in a creative industry take advantage of that and perhaps be one of the innovators!

As Jackie Mulligan during our Twitter chat explained last night, it’s not about taking a leap off a bridge without a safety net, but more don’t be afraid to take the step forward.

I’m going to let Mr Richard Branson take over here with a very inspiring quotation:

Richard Branson Quotation

It’s important also as an event professional to be diligent but also it can help if you are quite tenacious. Having a clear course of action and being determined is never wrong, but do remember to learn from any mistakes you make along the way, here’s another great quote from Mr Branson:

Richard Branson Quote 2

There are so many opportunities in the events industry, I have never been out of work since I started back in 1997, I have changed roles but that is mainly because there was always a new opportunity that presented itself to enable me to do that. There are so many facets to events that there will always be something new that you can consider trying and when an opportunity presents itself you should weigh up the pros and cons, keeping in mind your personal goal of course, if the pros outweigh the cons then give it a go and then give it all you have!

5. Communicate and share your successes

The way we communicate now isn’t just changing, it has changed. Social media is so intrinsic to everything we do but also gives you the tools you need to communicate effectively with your industry and peers without the need for an expensive PR team behind you. You can start a blog, tweet, take part in online group discussions on Linkedin, share your successes and remember it also gives you the opportunity to gather feedback to make changes for the future.

Don’t think of it as bragging. I may touch a nerve here with a few people but there are so many suggestions that we should brag more, and in particular that women should be bragging about their achievements more. There is a big difference I feel between sharing and bragging. In my opinion bragging is “I did this and I’m great”, do people want to hear that? Not necessarily. Sharing is more “I did this and it was great because it achieved this”.

So use social media to communicate and share your experiences and achievements. Also don’t be afraid to take an active part in events and committees and take part in industry discussions, even consider creating your own events. Consider speaking at events or being part of a panel and maybe, just maybe, there may be something you share or create that someone else can learn or be inspired from, there’s no better appreciation or feeling than that is there?

So to round off, always have a personal goal and a plan, have a passion for what you do and if you don’t make the change. Remember to network, communicate and share and last but by no means least don’t be afraid to work hard!

And to finish off, some more wise words from Mr Richard Branson:


Until next time #Eventprofs…