Last Updated on October 7, 2021
As I’ve said on multiple occasions, event planning is just as much about managing people as it is conferences and shows. Today, I’d like to revisit that topic in a little more detail – we’re going to discuss the importance of networking to your career as an event manager. Trust me, it’s essential.
As any businessperson will tell you, business is just as much about whom you know as it is what you can do. You need to be able to connect with the right people – to work your way into the good graces of men and women with the right connections. That’s especially true in the world of event management – yours is a job that’s basically all about knowing people.
I should explain.
As an event planner, who you know determines pretty much everything about your profession. It determines which clients will be referred to you. It decides which vendors are available to man a particular event, which partners are willing to sign on with you, and how much you’ll pay for everything from security to catering to A/V equipment.
Having a few marketing professionals in your black book can go a long way towards bringing in more guests, while being on good terms with influencers means they’ll be far more willing to host keynotes at a conference.
At this point, I hope I’ve made it pretty clear – your job is to be a people person. In your field, building relationships is just as important as hosting a trade show or conference. So…how exactly do you build up your network?
The first thing that’s worth mentioning is that you should not think of the relationships you’re building as tools. Don’t look at people in terms of what they can do for you. That’s the hallmark sign of a user, and most people with even an ounce of business savvy are very good at picking up on that kind of attitude.
Instead, think of what you can do for them. Approach them not as potential business partners, but potential friends (even though they’re the former). What do you have to offer them that’ll make them want to establish a lasting relationship?
One tip I can give is to approach every interaction as though you’re hosting a mini-event. Treat the people you deal with as attendees – their enjoyment and entertainment is your job. Put your storytelling capabilities to use, and make sure you’re always paying attention to their mood and body language.
Make sure you establish yourself as memorable without being too salesy or pushy.
Basically, put your people skills to good use. If you’re in this profession, you’ve got them.
Event management isn’t just about running conferences or trade shows. The ability to manage people –to build a network of trusted peers, partners, and vendors – is every bit as important as the other skills in your repertoire. In short, there’s only one thing to say: if you aren’t a people person, then you’re not cut out to be an event planner.
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Whether you’re running a trade show or a corporate fundraiser, Facebook is going to play into your events in some fashion. That’s simply the reality of the world we live in.