In a field that is constantly evolving, ongoing education is the key to success.
While many event professionals have college degrees, certifications, and have completed courses in their chosen specialty, there is something else that takes a great crew member and elevates them to the top of their field … a love and dedication to constantly learning and improving their craft.
In an industry that is constantly changing thanks to evolving technology, event trends, and even new safety protocols, being a lifelong learner is part of serving your customers and being an irreplaceable part of the team.
For somebody who hasn’t completed much ongoing education and training, getting started can seem daunting. Luckily, we’ve put together a few tips to determine what kind of ongoing education is right for you, and how to make it happen.
Determining What is Right for You
Just as no two event professionals have the same background, skill sets, talents, and interests, there is no one set answer for what ongoing education is best for you.
Instead of following a predetermined path, take some time to think about where you want to go in your career. What new positions would you like to take on in the future? How would you like to grow or specialize your skills? What is some experience or knowledge you feel you may be lacking to take on more responsibilities?
In addition to evaluating where you want to go, think about where you are now and what do you need to get better at.
There may also be some refreshers that would be beneficial. Who is guilty of using a piece of equipment or completing a process so many times that, while we know the advanced ins and outs, we’ve forgotten how to complete its basic functions? Or, what have you mastered, only to see the standard updated several times since you were last trained? Are there best practices you’ve forgotten, or watched evolve?
These three areas are often great places to start. They allow you to think about what you need to do to get to the next level of your career, while also making sure you remain up to date on everything you currently do.
Where to Start
You’ve already determined where you’d like your career to go next, what you’d like to learn, and what you need a refresher on – now it’s time to plan your next move.
Start by building a roadmap between where you are now and where you’d like to end up, filling in everything you need to do to get there.
If you’re hoping to take on a more specialized role, or move from a common position into an expert one, what training will be required to make that happen? What experience will you be expected to have? If you’re taking on more responsibilities, what certifications will you need?
Research what exactly you will need, and how to get it, whether it be through classes, training, apprenticeships, or certifications, and build a schedule, outlining what your path looks like.
Most importantly, you need to hold yourself accountable. It’s easy to get busy and forget or delay investing in yourself – but it’s the only way to advance your career. Motivate yourself by joining online groups, such as Facebook groups, Meetups, and more with other like minded people. Subscribe to industry magazines, newsletters, and manufacturer updates, which will help you stay current on event trends, and allow you to know what may change over the next few years.
Having knowledge on not only what is happening now, but what will likely happen in the future keeps you ahead of the technology curve. Customers will look to you as a thought leader and know that they can count on you with future technological needs and that they won’t want to work with anyone else.
Making it Happen
The life of an event professional is very busy so finding time to commit to education may seem impossible! However, the life of an event professional is often cyclical and while there are times of year that have no breaks whatsoever, there is also downtime.
During your busy season, reflect on where you’d like to go next in your career and build your roadmap.
Then, utilize your downtime or slower event season to invest in your continued education. You’ll be less distracted when you’re on the road less, and will have more time to focus on what you’re learning – not to mention, it’ll increase your opportunities when the busy season starts again!
Pro Tip: Schedule formal training months in advance and commit to attending … even if a sweet gig comes around!
You can also work with event production companies that have regular access to a large amount of new equipment. Encompass regularly loans gear that is not in use to event professionals, giving them an opportunity to educate themselves and complete easy, solo training.
Aside from the obvious, this has another benefit. The teams you are renting from will watch as you actively learn about new gear, talk to you about new technology, and share any insights they may have. They’ll be the first to know about your new skills – and you’ll have created a closer partnership.
Being a lifelong learner can feel overwhelming – by nature, it never ends! But by visualizing where you want to be and taking the right steps to get there, you’ll grow as an event professional, create closer relationships with industry partners, and have an even deeper set of skills to call upon.
At Encompass, we have unique backgrounds that situate us perfectly to produce high end and complex offerings. We’ve worked in broadcast television, touring entertainment, live sporting events, and countless convention facilities across the country.
We have technical design experience and a disciplined process in place that allows us to easily scale events and shift from in-person to virtual without angst. There isn’t much that’s beyond our scope and we love the intensity of putting on events!
If you’re a planner working to create an event, seeking help with virtual event technology, or simply want to learn more … we can help! Sign up below to receive our updates (we promise to keep your contact information secure and won’t “overshare”).