When it comes to breaking into event management, visiting events is crucial – after all, how else can you explore which aspects or sectors of the events industry appeal to you?
But if you’re clever about it, visiting events won’t just help you form your ideas and preferences, visits could give you access to vital information about what’s actually out there and show you first-hand what’s happening in the fast-moving events industry.
So which events are recommended for helping tick all your research boxes, whilst also inspiring and informing your possible event management career? After asking four event professionals working with Event Academy for their insider opinions, several surprising insights emerged:
Insight #1: The ‘top’ types of events might not be the ones you’d expect, so you need to try everything!
It’s widely acknowledged amongst event professionals that some events are “sexier” than others – indeed, weddings, festivals, sports events, private parties and celebrity events have all earned this reputation in recent years.
However, Justine Kane, Course Leader at Event Academy, points out that although these “sexier” events tend to be the ones the majority of students are interested in visiting and keen to gain experience of, they’re not necessarily the top ones within the industry itself, as she explained:
“It’s interesting, the biggest sector in the market by a long shot, by like 75% in the industry, is focused around conferences and exhibitions and meetings, so I would highly recommend that you try a bit of everything – try a sporting event, try private parties; try corporate events, try exhibitions, try a conference, you try everything!”
Insight #2: The ‘top’ events to visit are the ones which will give you the most opportunity to learn
When asked for his top events, another event professional, Chirag Patel, Freelance Production and Content Manager, also recommended the “try everything” approach, pointing out that the point of such visits is to learn, so you shouldn’t restrict yourself by focusing on specific types of event, but instead visit all events.
“You can learn from all. It’s important to gain an experience of all the facets of what’s required in producing a high-quality event and any event you can get involved with, and see, will help towards that goal.”
Insight #3: The ‘top’ events to visit are the ones where you can really see behind the scenes
Of course, visiting can be as passive or active as the event allows, especially when visiting as a member of the audience or target customer – a good way to gain a user-perspective on different event types, and help you to identify what’s new, popular and actually appealing to participants.
However, the real way to ensure your visits actively bring you that behind-the-scenes glimpse is by volunteering to be a part of them – indeed, all four experts we asked recommended volunteering as a way to make event visits into active research for your future career.
Jane Morley, Director of Superglue Ltd. wisely points out that:
“It [volunteering] provides you with absolutely invaluable experience to not only look at the types of events you want to get into but to look at the roles that are best suited to your character.”
So again, top events to visit aren’t necessarily specific event types but could be any event which welcomes your support as a volunteer.
Insight #4: Don’t think event ‘type’, think event disciplines
From sexy events to corporate conferences, when you’re first fact finding about coming into the event industry, it’s easy to pigeonhole events into popularly recognised types and think that these should be the main ones to visit.
However, this approach misses a crucial element that many of the industry experts discussed: there are disciplines within event types, which overlap and can be just as important to explore as specific events themselves.
Aspects such as the use of digital and social technologies are growing disciplines within the industry and can be an integral part of any live event – charity galas, celebrity parties and corporate award ceremonies alike.
So, seeking out events which feature an overlapping discipline such as digital technology, regardless of what type of event they are, may really inform your thinking about your future events career.
This is particularly relevant where digital technology is concerned, as disciplines such as technology become firmly embedded in event industry development, as Lorne Armstrong, Director at Event Academy, points out:
“This trend for digital has been coming and I think it’s now hitting a peak now, I think from now on people will really need to be able to do more than just deliver a live event.”
So any event, whatever its ‘type’ which makes disciplines such as digital and social technology central to delivery and engagement, would certainly be a top one to visit to help inspire your event management future.
Thanks to the insights from our event industry experts then, it’s safe to say that the top events to visit are those which will really inform about the next generation of event types and disciplines and those which will really offer inspiration to the next generation of event managers.