Coming off attending ISES Eventworld, it was fortuitous that the book I brought to read on my flight was Leadership Gold by John Maxwell. As a board member of the ISES-NCC chapter, we attended the conference early for some of the leadership training and I found that to be very useful.
The best thing about getting involved with an industry organization is not just the networking and business opportunities, but education and growth (both personally and for your business). As a vendor I know we often thought much of the education wasn’t well targeted for us (we typically don’t need to know how to negotiate contracts with hotels, for example), but you can learn from many diverse disciplines. The key is to think about how it’s relevant to your own business and that’s something we do all the time since we’re event photographers who have got to hear some incredible speakers from Presidents, world leaders, sports legends and some of the most brilliant minds alive today.
Some of the lessons learned from Leadership Gold include:
– “As a leader you should always challenge people to move out of their comfort zone, but never out of their strength zone,” Maxwell says. This is something important when working with an organization’s board too. As you build out your committees and the board itself, you have to look for people who’s strengths will improve your team overall.
– Don’t make the mistake of not asking what mistakes you are making. This really means to be sure to think about what can go wrong, and what you might be missing. I know we often think of what we are trying to accomplish and the goals, but not always thinking of what might not go right. Successful event planners know this well and are always considering what might go wrong, so they have a plan in place to prevent and/or deal with it should it happen. At the recent Venue Connect conference, I learned of the term “active shooter” which refers to a gunman firing at an event/location. Since the events in Aurora had just happened, they were discussing best practices in situations like that and that’s the kind of preparation that can literally save lives.
Of course as professional event photographers we hopefully don’t have to deal with things like that, but there are many other things you have to be prepared for, like having backup gear, insurance, etc.
At Eventworld, we learned a lot about technologies that are evolving the event space, and how best to leverage them. Social media is still hot, but more location based experiences are coming with RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) and NFC (near field communications). I posted about each day at Eventworld on the ISES Blog, so you can check out those posts for more detail here: (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4)