Think back to when a friend could plan a get-together, or an outing with little to no effort at all. These informal party planners seemed to just “know” what was needed for every occasion and could pull things off without a hitch. Helpful to have as part of your crew? You bet. But now, jump forward and think about your professional life. Professional events are more elaborate than a friendly get-together, and they require more (and larger!) boxes being checked to execute them well. These events can range from casual celebrations to make-or-break-the-deal meetings. Across this spectrum, an event professional can help ensure your event is planned and executed with expertise and confidence. But before you hire an event professional, it’s helpful to know what you’re signing up for.
Let’s start by debunking some common misconceptions.
They are glorified “party planners.” From a distance, it can look as though event professionals are only competent at “the party stuff.” In fact, designing an event is just one piece of a much larger puzzle. Because there is such a large scope of areas to manage, there are stringent qualifications involved in becoming a certified and reputable event professional. We will look at that more in a moment.
If you have an internal planning team, you don’t need help from an external professional. Sometimes organizations that have internal planning teams need the expertise of an external professional. Or, if you don’t have the luxury of an internal event professional, you can benefit from external perspective. Your external event professional hasn’t had the relational history of someone on the inside of your organization. And sometimes, that’s a great thing. They bring fresh eyes and ears to elements that can affect your event, whether it be budgetary, conflicting perspectives and ideas, or other issues.
Our favorite misconception: Anyone can do the job. Actually, the benefit is that your event professional is not you. The idea of bringing someone in who is not part of your organization is that you will get some objective and professional input. You have other responsibilities, and your event professional can navigate the big picture of your event while tending to the small details. Additionally, time is money. Unless this is your industry, many professionals simply don’t have the time it takes to design and execute a flawless event.
Now let’s take a look at what event professionals are.
They are professionals. When looking at distinguishable attributes that differentiate event professionals, the Events Industry Council’s CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) certification is the global standard of excellence in the field. Historically, the number of professional events was a fraction of what it is today, and the dynamics were less elaborate. The Events Industry Council developed the CMP certification in 1985 to bring quality and standardization across the board, providing clients with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are in good and capable hands. CMPs are required to meet rigorous experiential and educational standards in the following areas:
- Strategic planning
- Project management
- Risk management
- Financial management
- Human resources
- Stakeholder management
- Meeting or event design
- Site management
There is a much more diverse skillset and expertise for CMPs than many people realize. The work they do is broad and requires competence and efficiency throughout.
Not only are they relevant, but they are also trendsetters. Event professionals always have a finger on the pulse of work culture. They create what is new and has not been seen before. So not only are they aware of what is relevant, but they create what is relevant. They possess an expertise in adapting to changing trends, and they can manage stakeholders, sites, and budgets. They are simultaneously project and people oriented. If you want to host an intimate dinner party in a restaurant’s newest private dining room, or determine which travel destination to host a retreat, a qualified event professional will be able to advise regarding these points with ease.
They are creative. Constantly filling their toolbox with new ideas and perspectives, event professionals think outside the box, while remaining practical and rational. From content to venues to networking, they are able to offer fresh vision and opportunity to clients, in whatever sector they’re serving. They know how to get it done. Collaborating with vendors is what they do. They handle the research and stay connected to those who will assist in making your event happen creatively and professionally.
They are people who love their work. Because of their expertise in planning, management, design and other areas, event professionals typically see the end result while they are immersed in the process. There is great joy in the connections they develop with clients and the project aspect of seeing things through from start to finish.
Whatever your industry, whatever your meeting or event, don’t just “wing it.” Put yourselves in the hands of a competent and creative event professional who can truly take the helm for a bit and allow you to watch your vision come to life, right down to the last detail.
The leader of Carter Group Creative is a certified meeting professional (CMP) who will work with you with expertise and ease! Connect with Carter Group Creative and let’s discuss what you need!