I’m pretty proud of my career. I quit uni (against most people’s better judgement) after giving it a go for six months. I’d always wanted to work, and I dutifully went to intern for my sister for a week… and didn’t leave for another three years… I’m now a Client Services Director at a Software Company (which is more exciting than it sounds!) but in the last ten years I’ve been working, without doubt my favourite part of the job has been marketing and events.
I’ve worked on some of the biggest brands in the world – from beauty brands (the stories I could tell you if I hadn’t had to sign an NDA would make your toes curl!), to one of the most famous car brands in the world. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world; from Milan to speak to 500 licensees for one conference, to running a team in Barcelona, hightailing it to India to assist on a 10 day event, overseeing an event with delegates at City Hall, speaking to another 500 licensees in Sitges and more!
I’ve learned a lot. Some of these lessons I’ve learned the hardway(!) and some I’ve learned through listening to work mentors.
Today I’m going to specifically talk about surviving events, and I’d like to start posting more career stuff as it’s something I’m so passionate about.Hit me up if you have any questions or particular queries or features you’d like to see!
Let’s get into it, shall we?
- YOUR SHOES ARE EVERYTHING. I actually forgot this one until recently. I nearly missed a flight to a conference in Sitges because I was wearing heels to totter through the airport. What. An. IDIOT. Trust me when I say, fold-up flats are the best invention you could ask for. Whether you’re manning a stand, or meeting journalists and walking them through hotel security to interview a panel of judges, you’ll be grateful for the break it gives your poor tootsies!
- If you’re heading to an event where you’ll be staying a while, and you’ve got checked baggage take a spare outfit / underwear and your washbag basics (toothbrush, deodorant, make-up wipes) in your hand luggage. You’ll be grateful in the event your luggage gets lost that you’ve got clothes to tide you over your first dinner until you can get to the shops.
- Daily briefing print outs (printed the night before), and daily briefings in general. Grab your team an hour ahead of the event beginning and take them through what the event plan for the day is – who is to be expected where and when, and what’s expected of them. If everyone knows where and what they’re meant to be doing, as well as what everyone else in the team is doing, there’s little room for error!
- The key to a smooth and well run event is ~good~ great organisation. From point 3, but also in the months in the run up before hand. Banners measured for size, brochures printed, business cards stapled to the front of brochures to hand out – the list of quick-win tips goes on and on, but all of them fall back to ensuring you’re highly organised.
- Phone calendar – Use it for the entirety of the event even if you’re not big on it usually. Preset 30 min reminders detailing who your next meeting is with and copying and pasting your background research on them into your reminder will ease the pressure off you big time!
- All of the cables. ALL of the cables. Multi charger keyrings should be your best friend – and not least because a delegate is bound to ask you … ‘do you have the type of charger that fits my <obscure phone>’.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – sounds simple, doesn’t it? But if you’re talking non-stop to people, on your feet all day, running around – and especially in a hot country – keeping well hydrated will be a total saviour. Also coffee is your new best friend. Trust me.
- For day events (like trade shows) – the bigger the bag, the better – preferably a rucksack. As much as I love to wear a killer outfit with oversized handbag in tow, when you’ve got a laptop, charger, spare cables, purse, heels, makeup bag, half the stationary cupboard, stain remover (thank me later) and more in your bag, you’ll be glad you’ve got a backpack you can fit it all in and that you can tuck away for the duration of the day…
- Filming – consent and enhancing the film quality. Trade-shows are expensive, and they’re noisy. This usually means that a.) you probably don’t have tonnes of budget left for a film crew, and b.) you’re probably not going to get much sound clarity. You can get clip-on microphones which plug into your phone, and clip on to the person – this will decrease the background noise and get you some amazing soundbites! Don’t forget if you’re photographing people on your stand, or getting a brief video interview with them, you need to get their consent to use it in your marketing materials.
- Have fun! Events should be non-stop, but you will work so hard, and the feeling of a job-well-done after will have you on such a high. Without doubt one of the best things about event work is celebrating with your team after; you will have been relying on each other solely for the past few days (possibly weeks!) and it will be hard work full of ups and downs, undeniably it will be stressful and there’s usually – at some point – the accidental snapping at one-another. The post-event drinks / dinner help everyone give moments pause for just how much time and work they’ve committed to achieving something really great, and ensuring everyone does that in a situation where they realise it’s been a team effort is an invaluable part of event work.
Would you like to see more from the Running In Heels series? I’m thinking about doing some interviews with some of my favourite high-flying career women, as well as more tips posts like this and Q&As where I’ll take questions on Twitter and answer them on here…
I’d love to know what you think!
This is such an interesting, and really unique post! You’ve got so much experience to share that I think so many people would benefit from. I’ve never really had much opportunity to go to events for work, other than show home and housing development launches! You’ve shared so many great tips already here, things I would never have thought of – multi charger keyrings?! Who knew! I’d love to hear more of your advice on things like interview tips and preparing, and also how you deal with difficult clients in you current role, I know from chatting to you how stressful it can be! Really looking forward to more of this series!
You always make my day don’t you! I’d be pretty keen to see a show home – although I know in reality with my messy streak my house would never stay looking like a show home for long at all! Multi charger keyrings are one I learned the hard way … so many things… so little battery! Awww those are such great ideas for further posts, I’ll definitely be sharing some thoughts around them!
Thanks for your comment beautiful girl
Such great tips for busy days and events! I’m sure it can be pretty stressful so it’s great to have some handy tips!
Aw thanks Steph!
Excellent tips, chick! I’m going to come back to this post again and again in the future!
Isn’t she amazing!
This was such a great insight to your life and your job sounds so much fun! Wearing heels is something I cannot do so I praise you for doing so to begin with! Thank you for sharing all your tips, they’re very helpful tips for when I expand my empire and I’ll be living that high life orginaing events (I’m currently in events too) and I’m lucky their more causal and I can wear trainers! Would love to see more of this series!
Jessica & James | http://www.foodandbaker.co.uk / http://www.foodandbakertravels.co.uk
hahah it takes it out of me and I’m glad I always have the flat shoes to back me up! Oh amazing – I didn’t know you were in events! I’d love to hear more about the events you run!
I loved reading this. It’s so interesting to hear more about the sort of work you do. I definitely agree with the shoes – I spend most of the day on my feet, so when I wear heels my feet are killing me by the end of the day. I usually have a pair of emergency flats in my bag. I’d love to read more of this series. I’m putting this in my favourites to refer back to!
Thank you so much, Kat! Hahaha I tried my hardest to wear heels at an event recently and I genuinely thought I was going to have to be carried out of the venue at one point – thank goodness I had my flats in my bag! Aw, I’m really looking forward to writing more on the series – let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see!
I am in AWE. Honestly, I think it’s admirable when someone does what they feel is right, despite judgement from others (like you, leaving Uni) and jumps into something else. I’m glad it all worked out for you and it sounds like you’ve built an incredible career for yourself. I really wish I did the same. Although I guess it’s never too late, is it? Amazing post, as always! xxx
Ohhh Jenny your comment just absolutely made my day! Thank you so much. It took a lot to leave uni in someways but I knew it was completely the right thing for me to do. It’s taken a long time but I got there in the end! And you’re totally right; it’s never too late!
This a great post, really unique too as I haven’t read anything like it before but as always I love it! Huge congrats on doing so well for yourself with your job and career, super proud and and happy for you! Your job sounds very exciting and great that you get to do a variety of different tasks. Thanks for sharing your experiences and tips!!
Awww thank you so much, Kate – I’m so glad it’s made for a bit of a different read to the usual! Hahah it’s exciting *most* of the time but some of it I need to motivate myself through with a tea or 3!
Some really great tips for events xxx
Thanks hun, so glad you think so!
Aw wow I am really impressed by your Director role! What an exciting career! When I used to work in events I needed everything printed out and written down – it made me feel much calmer seeing the schedule ahead on paper! And from your tips it sounds like you’re a pro when it comes to prepping for events! x x x
Ahh, I had no idea that you had such an amazing career Kate- go you! These tips are actually quite applicable to my job,i definitely have to bear the footwear and hydration ones in mind! I use my phone calendar for everything, otherwise I would just forget where I should be all of the time. It’s so handy for keeping you organised though! I’d definitely like to see more of this series, it’s something different but really interesting!
Wow, your work sounds incredibly full on, I bet it can be very stressful at times but equally, it sounds so so rewarding when you pull off one of these fantastic events! Being able to travel so much for your job sounds like such a perk in my book, I just hope you’re able to explore a bit of these lovely cities that you visit as well as looking after delegates and their phone charger needs! 😉 Using your phone calendar with reminders is a golden tip, it’s something that I definitely need to start doing more because my phone always tends to be in my hand, whereas trying to find the right piece of paper with your schedule written on can sometimes be a total nightmare! Really looking forward to hearing more about your work in this series, it’s a really unique blog content idea and I can’t wait to see more!
You’ve shared some awesome tips for busy working days babe, I’m sure they’re going to help a lot of people. 🌸✨
With love, ALISHA VALERIE xoxo