Last Updated on October 7, 2021
One of the more important (yet least cited) jobs you have got, as an event manager, is to keep abreast of what’s going on in your industry. Possessing up-to-date knowledge of the current conversations, news, and controversies affecting a given field allows you to make your events more current, relevant, and interesting to attendees. Consequently, being completely out of the loop (or worse, possessing an outdated notion of an industry) could easily result in boring, irrelevant, or valueless events.
It might sound like a herculean task at first. With all the other tasks on your plate, how could you possibly keep track of what’s going on? Where could you possibly find the time?
Actually, keeping up with current events in your field is pretty easy, if you know where to look.
Find Yourself A Mentor (Or Two)
A more traditional method of keeping track of an industry’s pulse – and a great choice for novice event planners – is to find yourself a mentor, either within your chosen field or within your organization. Not only can they help keep you updated on industry news and offer their experienced perspective, they can help propel your career. If you choose well, your mentor could end up being a longtime friend – and colleague – who will go the extra mile to see you succeed.
Attend Trade Shows
Another means of keeping yourself in the loop (and one I highly recommend) is to keep track of any relevant trade shows and conferences near you. Whenever there’s one going on that’s practical to attend, do so. Not only will events inform you and increase your knowledgebase, events are a great place to network and potentially meet new clients and vendors. Plus, you’ll be able to get a look at how events in your field are typically run.
Hint: events are an opportunity to present yourself as a thought leader in your field. Set a goal of presenting at an event – as part of a panel discussion or leading a topic presentation.
Check Your Social Networks
A lot of people tend to discount social networks as a valid source of information. This is a mistake. So long as you’re seeking out the right people, social media is a cornucopia of knowledge. Do a few hashtag searches on Twitter, seek out a few subreddits on Reddit, and develop out your professional network on LinkedIn. Qualify whom you follow. Are they an industry leader whose viewpoint and expertise you trust? Web forums aren’t technically social networks, but are interest and topic specific – get connected and engage with one or two.
Hint: you can’t follow everyone and read all publications, obviously! So pick 3-5 sources and follow them regularly.
Read A Blog
The day when blogs were chiefly the domain of conspiracy theorists and lonely people ranting about their cats have long since passed. Today, many blogs are actually incredibly reliable sources of information, with some of the better-known bloggers renowned throughout their industry for their high-quality work. While you should still be careful which blog you follow, it pays to do a bit of light reading every now and then.
Helpful Tool: can’t decide which blogs to follow. Set up Google Alerts for a few related, highly targeted keywords. Then, content relevant to your keywords is delivered straight to your inbox.
Join An Organization
Chances are fairly high that whatever industry niche you’ve chosen to focus your event business in has a few related trade organizations or meet-ups. It might be worthwhile to join one, both for networking purposes and to keep you informed about what others in your field are focused on. Again, as with attending conferences, meet-up groups are a great way to discover opportunities to collaborate.
The more you engage with your industry, whether through off-line events or online social media, the better you will serve your event clients. Relationships build business – your networks of partners, vendors, and relevant knowledge will grow and give you more tools to better do your job.
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