Peter Gray, an independent Motivation Consultant, presents a regular Business Events News feature on current issues in the Conference and Incentive industries.
WHAT do you expect when you engage the services of a ‘professional’?
According to Wikipedia “...the term... describes the standards of education and training that prepare members of the profession with the particular knowledge and skills necessary to perform their specific role within that profession”.
So, how would you feel if, having appointed a ‘professional’ conference organiser (PCO), you saw in social media a message from the PCO you’d just engaged: “Hello, I’m a new Corp. Event Coordinator. I wanted to know if anyone has a template check list I can work from to get me started?”
Not impressed, I would have thought. And yet such appeals appear regularly on LinkedIn (and this one actually did).
Some people seem to think that organising an event is simply a matter of following a check-list. Admittedly there are a few events where following a check-list will result in success, but there are many more where an experienced operator will make a considerable difference. Quite apart from the risk posed by engaging a rank amateur, a successful event - whether it’s a meeting, a conference, an incentive program or reward, or a stand-alone event - reflects on the client and taking an inexperienced operator to task afterwards isn’t going to redeem a client’s reputation.
In Australia there are accredited courses available to people who are serious about becoming part of the business events industry and there are many more companies that are willing to let enthusiastic employees learn on the job - with their careful guidance. However, being part of a team planning and delivering a successful event is not an exercise in democracy and new entrants have to learn just what their contribution needs to be and when actions or suggestions may be welcome... or not.
It is little wonder that people outside our industry find it difficult to equate what we do with the more established professions when there are no visible signs of accreditation or stated requirements to abide by professional and ethical standards and we don’t charge for the work we put into our proposals. Industry bodies such as MEA and PCOA have long promised to promote accreditation as a professional requirement to be demanded by prospective clients, but nothing has happened yet.
The amount of work that goes into producing a bid document or proposal is considerable and there is a move to charge clients for the Intellectual Property contained within them. The reality is that while the big companies are willing to give away their ideas (or re-quote on somebody else’s) for nothing this is not going to happen.
We live in an era of instant gratification; when it is expected that everything can be obtained at the touch of a button. But event management is not an instant industry. If they are to be successful events have to be meticulously planned in advance, not just ticked-off on a list obtained via social media.
Peter Gray is an independent, Accredited Incentive Practitioner and motivation consultant. He can be contacted at email@example.com