There is a huge amount of planning that goes into a corporate event. As well as planning everything you have envisaged for the event also consider what could happen in the event of X, Y or Z. You have to consider the weather for example. Even at in indoor event, extreme weather can affect people’s travel to your destination, location and venue. If you are organising an event in central London for example, public transport can be an issue for those travelling to the event with Tube strikes.
We mentioned in our last article when you do your venue site visits to check for the WIFI. You could find on the day that there is an issue with the WIFI signal. Be prepared with a back-up solution should your expected plan fail. As a corporate event planner/co-ordinator/manager you need to think out the plan from start to finish and consider all the variables, so you can be prepared and one step ahead.
Your client will be relying on you to think for them. You are the expert and you must be sure that you keep focused on the details. There is an incredible amount of information that is gathered during the planning of a corporate event. EVERY detail counts. Even the smallest thing that gets missed can have a huge impact on the day and cause a lot of stress and look very bad to your client and their customers or internal team.
You get to work with so many different people, join their teams and invest yourself in these projects. You form wonderful bonds during the planning process that can last well beyond the lifetime of an event, and the sense of achievement once you have successfully delivered the project is fantastic.
You have the pleasure of seeing projects from start to finish on a regular basis and have the opportunity to work on a vast array of different events. Who knows what the next event will be!
If you are good at creative problem solving, that’s great. You’ve got a head start and this might be the role for you! Add a stop watch to that problem solving and you are in training for working in corporate events. Especially when you are onsite! You will need to able to think fast and resolve any manner of issues that come up calmly, quickly and effectively. A swan gliding across the water in the eyes of the client with your legs madly peddling under the surface. You begin to trust your instincts and make quick decisions to ensure successful delivery.
Always assume that the delegates know nothing, so be sure to provide full and clear information. Some delegates won’t read everything (or anything) properly, so plan how to manage that. You need to consider all the questions they may have and all the mistakes they may make. Then move on to the ones who don’t want to do it quite the same as everyone else and ‘could you just make an exception for me’.
Have clear processes and rules about registration and payment. Make it as simple as possible to understand. When onsite, make sure signage is clear, so they know what to do and where to go. Provide all the information you can to assist them along the way. Remember you know the event inside out they know only what you tell them.
The thing you least expected to happen will inevitably crop up, big or small. If you are ready to think on your feet as we mentioned above, then you have an advantage. However sometimes you just have to accept you can’t control everything. Good humour and flexibility with get you a long way in the industry.
You may have some opportunities to travel to amazing locations and you may even get a chance to look around those places but be mindful that you will be entirely focused on the event and the client, so you may find that it isn’t as glamorous as you’d imagined. Be as time efficient as you can be - on a flight or a train journey use the time wisely and work or take the opportunity to rest while you can!
You will have some incredible experiences but travelling can also be tiring and living out of a suitcase can be hard after a time. Make sure you have realistic expectations and always enjoy the ride!
I had made the decision not to return to work after having children even before I got pregnant with my first child. It was a personal choice because I couldn’t bear the thought of missing out on anything as my children grew up. As it turned out this was easier said than done. I had my first child in 2014 and my partner and I moved out of London in order to afford me not going back to work. That was hard for both of us as we had family, friends and a life there. None the less it was the practical option. My next challenge as a new mum was one I never saw coming. I was bored.
I had my first job at 14 waitressing in a local pub at the weekends and I worked part time from that point on throughout my education, including University. Since being a ‘grown-up’ I’ve worked abroad, I’ve worked in small offices, global head offices and even on Super Yachts. I had always worked! When I discovered I was pregnant I thought not working and cuddling a baby all day would be the dream. I had no idea that I would miss working.
So my bundle of joy arrived and I set about my new job, which was the hardest job I have EVER had. I loved my son (still do most days!), marvelled at his cuteness and all the milestones he reached, but I missed my independence and the stimulation of working. I felt pretty down about it. So, I started back to work when my son was 9 months old. I found the perfect job role working evenings at the nearby hospital on a reception desk. It was ideal - my partner came home from work at 4.30pm and I went to work for 3 hours every week night. At the end of the shift everything was complete, no handovers, no work sharing and no stress. More importantly no childcare bills!
After my daughter arrived two years later, I was already starting to think about where I might go next. I wanted more of a challenge and to start making a plan for eventually working full time again. However, as I had originally not planned to work, I had no clue how to do that and look after my children. Childcare is expensive and we couldn’t afford it. Enter ZiaBia!
I first worked with Vicky back in 2007. Vicky worked at the agency managing the first Global Sales conference of the FMCG where I was a PA. It was a fantastic experience and we kept in touch over the years. Just before I left to have my son, I met Vicky and Debbie and heard all about their new business. In 2016 I decided to see if they used freelance staff and to my delight they said yes. A few months later I started doing ad hoc freelance work for them. As a PA, I had organised many conferences and meetings in the corporate world and enjoyed that part of my role the most.
My new ‘side hustle’ worked out so well. I worked from home and they accommodated my situation to allow me to set out on my next journey. In March 2018 I joined ZiaBia as a permanent employee working 15 hours a week. Throughout the whole process Vicky and Debbie kept my family priorities in mind. They are always flexible and considerate about finding a way to work that benefits all of us. I started working one full day a week and spread my other hours out over the evenings and weekends.
Since starting at ZiaBia I have always felt supported, even when I have needed to change my working hours or days. Vicky and Debbie fully appreciate my priorities and that makes balancing my job as a parent with working much easier. I feel valued and in turn I work hard. Being present for my children means I can be dedicated to my working hours without feeling distracted. This makes me a loyal employee, fully invested in ZiaBia, which is a win win situation. I feel very lucky to have found myself in this position.