How can we better support event professionals?

baby holding finger - thtstudios - 151079254_5486c264e7How can #eventprofs help guide/mentor those new to the industry? was the topic of a fascinating August 5 #eventprofs chat† (archive), moderated by the “Queen of EIR“, Jenise Fryatt. The chat was noteworthy for its energy around two initiatives that emerged during our hour together:

  • An online resource for answering event industry questions
  • An online resource for matching volunteer mentors and mentees

Responding to the energy, I registered the domain www.eventprofsanswers.com during the chat and set up a skeleton website. As you can read in the archive, many chat participants were enthusiastic about this action, and asked how they could help move these initiatives forward.

Since the chat, I’ve had offline discussions about developing the website. Most correspondents have been positive, though a minority has expressed some reservations.

Here are some of my conclusions and questions arising from the discussion so far:

  • I think it’s important to have the widest possible initial discussion before proceeding further. We need to find out what other #eventprofs think, and hear from professional association members and the associations themselves.
  • I’m not aware of significant attempts to use online technologies to address the two initiatives, other than the ad hoc use of Tweeted questions using the #eventprofs and allied hashtags. Perhaps there are existing resources we’re not aware of?
  • There seems to be evidence that some event professionals, especially perhaps those who entered the industry through non-conventional paths (like me), would appreciate a central online location for posting questions and finding appropriate mentors (either online or face to face). How easy has it been for you to get your events-related questions answered? What has your experience been with the availability of and satisfaction with existing industry mentoring programs?
  • I have already received a number of individual and association chapter offers of support (thank you everyone!) If you would like these initiatives to be implemented in some fashion, what are you willing to contribute to making this happen?
  • Do you have suggestions for additional online initiatives that would address event professionals’ needs?
  • I want to make it clear that I am personally completely open to the process and the organizational structure used to implement these initiatives. Perhaps an online resource would be run by a group of volunteers, perhaps it could become part of an existing professional association’s online presence and services, perhaps it would remain an independent presence that is formally supported by an association’s staff. What do you think?

Lots of questions! I, and I believe the professional events community, would like to know your responses. Either comment below or write me privately if you prefer. I look forward to everyone’s input!

†The #eventprofs chat is held on Twitter each week on Tuesdays 9 – 10 p.m. EST and Thursdays 12 – 1 p.m. EST.

Image attribution: flickr user thtstudios

Crowdsourced site visit toolkit

toolbox - davemott - 4257800537_650aff5085_oI’ve just returned from a site visit for a June 2011 event in New Jersey, and on the drive home I thought it would be interesting to share the tools I bring when I’m checking out a possible location for an event.

And then I had a better idea.

Why not create a site visit toolkit that all event professionals could add to and improve?

With the wonders of Google Docs, this is an easy thing to do.

So, here’s the crowdsourced site visit toolkit. I’ve seeded it with my tools, but I’m sure there are plenty of neat tools and tips that I’ve missed that would improve the list. As far as I’m concerned, “tools” is defined loosely—feel free to add anything you’ve found useful when conducting a site visit for an upcoming event. You can add links to appropriate products and services that you’ve found useful with the Google Docs link buttonbutton on the Google Docs toolbar, and I’ve suggested a way to add tips as well.

I’ll leave the list as a publicly available document, though I may close it to further edits after contributions fall off.

So, crowdsource away!

(And don’t forget to add your name to the list of contributors!)

Image attribution: Flickr user davemott

Participant-driven association meetings presentation slides and resources

Here are the slides and resources from my June 18th 2010 presentation to the NE/SAE (New England Society of Association Executives) annual meeting held at the Colony Hotel, Kennebunkport, Maine:

Some Research about Face-to-Face Communication at Live Events.

Innovative Techniques in Conference Formats (slideshare).

NCDD’s Engagement Streams Framework helps people navigate the range of approaches that are available to them and make design choices that are appropriate for their circumstance and resources.

The Meeting of the Future.

On confidentiality: The Europe/Chatham House Rule.

Do You Allocate Enough Time for Interaction?

#eventprofs life-work balance survey results

life work balance 2799505769_6b61dac85b_b

Having agreed to moderate an #eventprofs chat this evening, I thought I’d whip up a short, anonymous survey on #eventprofs’ life-work balance. I received 21 responses in the ten hours the survey was open, and here are the results:

1. How many days in a week do you normally work?

1

2. How many hours in a day do you normally work?

2

3. How many hours in a day do you spend traveling to work?

3

4. How do you feel about the amount of time you spend at work?

4

5. Do you ever miss out any quality time with your family or your friends because of pressure of work?

5

6. Does your organization offer any of the following options for work/life balance? Are there options you would like your organization to offer?

6

Other comments:

6other

7. On a scale from 1 (extremely poor) to 10 (extremely satisfied), how would you rate your current work-life balance?

7

8. Please add any additional comments about your work-life balance here.

8

Title image attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/seeveeaar/ / CC BY-ND 2.0

What issues make it hard for event professionals to maintain a healthy work-life balance? What has helped you or others ? Feel free to add your own comments!