Upon reflecting about being part of the event planning process for MsCareerGirl.com September connect and now looking ahead to planning the November 17th connect and a holiday party for December, I have to say there are certain things an event marketing rookie needs.
Firstly, I would like to point out that at some point everybody is an event planner. Have you ever planned someone’s birthday? Bridal shower? Baby shower? Or maybe a football viewing party or a local fundraising event? Many times even at your job you may have to put together a networking meeting, an office meeting, a dinner of some sort, or one thing or the other that needs an event planning touch. So, whether it is your job or aspiring job 😉 or something that you only do once in a blue moon, here’s my two cents on the “3 must have’s”:
1. Every eventmarketingrookie needs a planner. It sounds simple but it cannot be said enough. Planning is about 85% of an event. I definitely believe that to fail to prepare is to prepare to fail. Use your computer, use your phone, use a hard copy planner; I actually recommend using all three if you can. Whatever you do make sure you have your dates, your times, your goals and all that jazz WRITTEN DOWN. Simple as that. That said, what is your favorite way to keep your event together? Are you more of a paper and pen person or is your smart phone indeed your “life?”
2. Every eventmarketingrookie needs a network. What does this mean? Well, it means that you know someone who can give you a good discount on a rented location. It means you have built a great relationship with your local flower shop. You are making good friends with caterers and food service personnel. You are going to events to meet people in your profession. You are meeting people who have nothing to do with your profession but who are taking an interest in you and your events because you are taking an interest in them. Meet people. Meet people. Meet people. Do it at your coffee shop and at the local bar or hangout. Do it at the gym, at your place of worship, and yes do it on twitter. Go on http://www.meetup.com/ and see what everyone is doing around you! A good way to have people remember you too is to carry your business cards everywhere you go and be sure to take theirs and email them within 48 hours or you will be forgotten! It’s not easy to do this. In fact it is scary and difficult. It takes courage and practice. Nonetheless, I am convinced that you just never know who you’ll be lucky enough to meet when you just have some confidence to say “hi” and with a smile of course. Am I missing anything?
3. Thirdly, every eventmarketingrookie needs an entourage. Think of the hit TV series Entourage which I must admit I never really followed too closely. One thing I do know is that anytime there was something major, the whole group or entourage was there. In other words, make sure you know people who are going to do their best to be at whatever event you are planning. This could be your family, your current or former classmates, your colleagues, etc. You need a solid group of people that you know have your back and will not only show up, but will show up with people. Now, if you are lucky enough to have a notorious social butterfly in your network, thank your lucky stars! If you don’t, well, make friends with one and if you have it in you, become one! The reality is if building a network is hard, multiply the difficulty level by ten and that is how tough it is to build an entourage. It takes time, patience and a lot of personal investment in other people. Let me be clear: your entourage is part of your network but your network is not your entourage. An entourage, however, can be redemption when the chips are down because an entourage always shows up!
So, how far am I with these three? Well, I must say I have the first one practically perfected and I am working really hard for the other two. I am trying to go to meet ups, I’ve found a free monthly membership at a gym, and of couse through MsCareerGirl.com and all the people Nicole knows, I am meeting people. Through hard work, persistence and patience though, I am sure I will get to where I want to be. It does help that I have an interesting story and that I am willing to tell it! Most importantly, I believe everyone has a story too thus I am willing to listen. While we are on the subject of meeting people, if you live in or around the Chicago area, below are a couple of events that are good places to start this weekend and one save the date. But before I give you those, let me know: what are your top 3 things for event planning? And if you have any other great ideas for how to go about meeting people or cool events coming up, let me know and I’ll add it to the post.
Chicago Film Festival October 6th-20th http://www.chicagofilmfestival.com/
Chicago Marathon October 9th http://www.chicagomarathon.com/cms400min/chicago_marathon/
Chicago’s “Little India” October 7th 8p.m. Sher Punjab Indian Restaurant http://www.meetup.com/Ethnic-BYOB/events/32216302/
Wine tasting through all of October http://languedocadventure.com/events/chicago/
SAVE THE DATE: VelvetStyle Social Mixer, October 16th 2p.m.-5p.m. at the D.O.C Wine Bar, Lincoln Park