This year, Vivienne and I proudly celebrate ten years of running events in Ireland. We have learned so much in ten years of Event Management - more than you could ever learn from books or in college. We fell into the industry after being scouted by model agents eighteen years ago. From the outset, we were learning on the job for what would, unknown to us then, become our passion.
This year at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cork, I realised that after years of dealing with all types of businesses, clients, charities and organisations that it has finally come together for us. Years of working like crazy has paid off so much so that I am viewing the last ten years as training and from here on in - we are in our absolute prime. And an asset to anyone who books us, if I may say so! We have seen every scenario possible in Event Management and had the biggest hurdles thrown in our way, sometimes an hour before a big event but have learned to stay calm, measured and use our combined skills, extensive contacts and creativity to always find a solution. Here are some tips that we have picked up along the way for anyone starting out in Event Management.
1. LISTEN to your client
Know your client's needs and goals from the project they have hired you to run. Set out expectations and the goals they want to achieve from the outset and understand your client's target market.
2. Work for RESULTS not Praise
In fashion especially, we encounter many people who want to be involved in Event Management for the glamour. But they soon realise that the side we work on behind the scenes is not at all glam. Your work should speak for itself, it's not enough to attend events and look pretty. Clients want results and will always gravitate towards the worker who is rolling their sleeves up to help out in any way possible.
3. COMMUNICATION is key
Time manage your project, set out your objectives, schedule and communicate this with both your client and all your team to ensure the maximum possible result in the end for the client. At all stages of the project keep clear lines of communication open Luckily we are in a golden age of communication with smart phones, wifi, internet etc so we are all contactable 24/7. Much to an Event Manager's delight - but not everyone!
4. Work with like minded, POSITIVE people
Surround yourself with a good tribe! It goes without saying that to be successful and happy in your work, regardless of the field you are in, you should close yourself out to negativity and only work with positive people. Negativity only breeds negativity. I personally break out in a rash when I hear people bitch or gossip, it's so small minded and not how people at the top conduct themselves. The bigger our business has grown, the more the positive and hard working people rise to the top and shine out and the negative nay-sayers sink to the bottom. The more successful you become, the more people will try to pull you down, unfortunately. I could write a book about the crazy people I have encountered over the years but I appreciate each and every one of them for showing me the person in life and business that I don't EVER want to be. So keep a cool head, avoid wasting your energy focusing on the negative and keep your eye on the positive outcome by working with positive people. Often, it's people who aren't that experienced in business can be the most demanding, as they are not used to how things go and they have a problem passing control to other more experienced professionals. Again, keep a cool head, assure them you are in control and if they are still uncooperative, write it off as a lesson learned and move on to more fruitful and rewarding relationships and projects.
5. Build the Best Team
Find the best talent to provide the best service. And treat your employees well. As Richard Branson says, your staff are the most important thing - once you have happy staff, they will look after the clients and the rest looks after itself. So nurture your staff so that you can provide your clients with the best. We have been blessed at Lockdown with the most amazing team throughout the years and they never let us down. We manage over 100 models from fashion to photographic to all ages and sizes in our Commercial Division. Not to mention all the AV, catering, presenters, production crew and venues that we manage and liaise with at every event. So managing the right team is key to your client's successful outcome.
6. Learn from your Events
Always debrief after an event. Ensure the client was happy, ensure the audience/attendees were happy. Get feedback to grow your business and become better at what you do!
Finally, everything happens for a reason. Viv & I have both personally and professionally had huge struggles through the years but we support each other, work even harder and always come out the other side shining. We never give doubt a second thought. Loyalty, professionalism, unwavering belief, positivity and a big bubbly glass of champers together has always gotten us there in the end.
We are looking forward to kicking off 2016 being received by the Lord Mayor of our beautiful city at a Civic Reception for Viv & I for the work and positive changes we have put into the local fashion industry to grow it over the last decade. We couldn't be more excited - and we still feel like we are only just beginning!!
If you ever have questions on Event Management or have an event coming up that you need help with, feel free to drop me an email anytime. My email address is on the homepage of the blog. I love to hear from other like minded people in the industry. Stay tuned for our new Lockdown Events website launching soon! xo