Become A Corporate Events Manager: Understanding Events Management

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The US Labor Department predicts meeting planner and events management jobs will grow 16% in the next decade, a rate of growth much faster than many other professions.  Worldwide, almost $500 billion is spent annually on planned events. Becoming a corporate events manager offers varied and almost unlimited opportunities for an exciting career.

Reasons to Become a Corporate Events Manager

Events management is needed in almost every business, from government and retail, to fashion, sports and entertainment. The range of exciting challenges and unique opportunities is huge. Here are some of the compelling reasons to consider becoming a corporate events manager:

• Opportunity to work as part of a team to create unique events

• Opportunities for creative thinking (dont be like the Greek philosopher Plato who rejected the concept of creativity. )

• Challenge of being able to take initiative in working with suppliers, clients, and venue staff

• Opportunity to use superior decision-making skills

• Career opportunities as experience allows increasing responsibilities among organizations of all sizes and locations, maybe even overseas

• An attractive income level

Functions of the Corporate Events Manager

The events manager is the person responsible for planning and executing a corporate event, and is often also involved in the marketing, brand building and the communication strategy relating to the event. To ensure an event succeeds, the events manager is expert in coordinating necessary logistic, technical and creative elements. The requirements are multi-dimensional, including client service, negotiations, event design, scriptwriting and audio-visual production, logistics and budgeting.

Activities involved in early stages of events management include:

• Gathering all necessary information about the focus of the event, format (e.g. trade show booths or conference workshop), and expected number of people

• Identifying all the equipment and supplies needed

• Obtaining information about venue options including size and configuration of space, equipment and other services available

• Drafting of the initial budget

• Negotiating with suppliers and other service partners such as caterers

• Crowd management strategy and security planning

• Arranging for necessary video, sound, lighting and rigging requirements

• Scheduling

• Design of the site

• Identifying technical requirements, including accessibility, first aid, health and safety, and environmental considerations

• Assessing and managing risk

As the event date draws nearer and during the event, the events manager will also become involved in:

• Finalizing arrangements, including clear delegation of responsibilities

• Overseeing setup for the event

• Final scheduling, agenda planning and space allocation

• Staff and vehicle logistics

• Coordinating suppliers, dealing with client questions, and troubleshooting to ensure that everything runs smoothly

After the event, typical activities include:

• Dismantling and removal of event equipment and supplies

• Assisting in a post-event evaluation, including review of data and its analysis, as well as preparing reports for stakeholders

• Ensuring that all vendors are paid

Attributes of an Effective Corporate Events Manager

Being a successful events manager requires a unique blend of management, people and business skills. Here are the main attributes of an effective corporate events manager:

• Superior leadership and management skills, to execute a seamless flow of people and events

• Being able to connect with people and build effective relationships, because, in essence, events are all about people

• An ability to work under pressure, problem solve and to be flexible as unexpected situations arise

• Being able to attend to the myriad of details involved in a successful event is an essential skill

• Overall organizational skills are critical to the successful coordination of participants, presenters, schedules, suppliers and any other stakeholders

Qualifications for an Events Management Career

Rather than having formal training, some events managers have become qualified through on the job training, often working with experienced professionals to organize special conferences, events and meetings. It is important to be able to describe the scope of responsibility, the challenges and the solutions to prove the value of such an informal apprenticeship. Even managers with formal training benefit from being able to cite successful past experience.

However, in this rapidly growing profession, formal certification of one kind or another is quickly becoming the way to ensure acceptance into the field. In order to maintain their competitive edge, many employers require the completion of training courses. Also, a prospective employer views a diploma as a sign that the job applicant is dedicated and committed to the profession.

Several colleges and universities offer programs and courses covering all aspects of corporate events management. A typical curriculum includes:

• Introduction to the industry, describing various types of events

• Event planning, developing skills for event research and needs assessment, goal identification, critical path planning and event administration

• Event production, developing skills needed to integrate event themes, décor, audio visual and entertainment requirements

• Event financial management, providing information about developing and managing a budget for an event or for a company’s complete event strategy

• Event marketing, to ensure a disciplined approach to the planning and implementation of marketing strategies

• Computer skills necessary for efficient analysis and management of event functions

• Principles and techniques of successful promotion, to develop skills needed to interact with clients

• Business law as it applies to event management, focusing on employment and contract concepts

• Volunteer management and human resources practices, to provide basic principles about managing the support personnel for events

• Management of catering functions, to ensure successful food and beverage service

• Event risk management, focusing on the logistical elements needed for a successful event, and their associated risks

Depending on the educational institution, there are various certification designations possible. Some designations include a Certified Special Event Professional, a Certified Manager of Exhibits, a Certified Trade Show Marketer, or Certified in Exhibition Management. Other certifications offer international recognition, such as the Global Certification in Meeting Management designation.

Career Opportunities

There are many potential areas of employment available to qualified graduates of events management programs, including all sizes of businesses and corporations, not-for-profit organizations, and vendors and event suppliers. Entry level positions include marketing assistant, event coordinator, trade show planner, and conference coordinator. Potential employers are varied, including:

• Event management companies

• Corporations

• Hospitality, travel and hotel industries

• Advertising and public relations agencies

• News media

Even during a period of economic restraint, most organizations realize the importance of hosting events ranging from receptions promoting a new product to staff training seminars. Such occasions are seen as strategic investments in the life of the company. Becoming qualified in corporate events management opens doors to exciting and rewarding career opportunities.

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