It amazes me how many planners in the events industry say things like; “I’m so dumb when it comes to tech stuff”. If you’re one of those event professionals that constantly puts themselves down, has a fear of technology, refuses to learn anything about tech, or if you are a supplier that has experienced these types of clients – then this article is for you!
Face Your Fears!!
Don’t be afraid! Yes – some technology can be complicated, but it doesn’t mean that you have to make yourself sound ignorant or of lower intelligence. You simply haven’t learned the language yet. Once you learn the language, it will make it easier for you to communicate with your suppliers and become more efficient in your job. This doesn’t mean that you have to learn how to plug in every piece of equipment or program a lighting board. It just means that if you now know some of the language and have some basic understanding of the processes involved, it would not only make your life easier, but also improve your relationship with your suppliers.
So what should you learn?
Simple – terminology and process. Do you know what an Ellipsoidal is? What about a Fresnel? Do you know the differences between these two and what each should be used for? If you answered no to at least one of those questions, it means that you would be a prime candidate for some education. There are some easy ways for you to get educated without breaking the bank.
- Attend technical seminars at industry conferences (Don’t be afraid of them!)
- Ask your suppliers to spend a couple of hours training you on the terminology that they refer to. Most quality suppliers would be happy to spend some time with you in their shop.
- Take notes! Keep a little journal and create your own technical dictionary. If you encounter a term you’re not familiar with at an event. Ask for an explanation, take a picture on your iPhone or Blackberry, and keep it for future reference.
- Invest in yourself! Ongoing education is key to your growth. Take an online class like the Event Leadership Institute’s five week Technical Meeting & Event Production course. You can never stop learning, as the dynamics of the event industry requires you to stay on top of you’re A-Game. Online education is becoming the norm for on-the go event planners who want to refresh their knowledge.
Ignorance is not bliss!
Unfortunately, some planners choose not to learn terminology and have even told me that they would rather not know. There is some sort of inherent fear of technology with a perception of extremely complicated terminology and process. If you simply spent some time learning about technology, you wouldn’t have to preface all your questions with “Stupid question, but…”.
Key advantages to learning the terms and jargon;
- You will be able to order the equipment you need without using the words “Thingy” or “Doo Dah”.
- You can speak with your suppliers in a common language, helping you communicate faster and with greater efficiency.
- Your clients will have more trust in your abilities. Isn’t that why they hired you in the first place? Shouldn’t you know this stuff? Aren’t you the expert in everything?
- Your suppliers will have greater respect for you. Not that they don’t already, but it helps in the communication to really show that you know what you’re talking about.
It’s not that hard!
At first learning the terms may seem like a daunting and unpleasant task, however, the more you learn and the more you use the terms yourself, the easier it will become over time. Don’t set an expectation that you read one book or attend one seminar, and you’ll be fluent or an expert. It takes some time just like learning any language. Learning tech is something that should be part of your professional development plan, and should never have a completion date. Since technology and process is always changing, you will also need to keep up to date.
So get started today! Face your fears head on and learn something new!
Michael Granek, MBA, CSEP
President | Event Leadership Institute
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