We asked Charlotte Gentry, Founder and CEO of Pure, an award-winning London based events agency, for her advice to eventprofs on navigating this turbulent time.
This is a terribly traumatic time for many people in the events industry, as they find themselves entirely disposable without a job delivering events. In these unprecedented times I would encourage those who find themselves in a redundancy situation, not to take it personally or think that they have been singled out in an organisation but rather to know that it is simply because there is no delivery of events on the cards possibly for the next 6 months.
So what can you do to create opportunities for yourself in the meantime?
Firstly, I would say to anyone, this has been an enormously valuable time to sit back, reflect and look at how you want to move forwards in your career and life in general. The world has stood still for at least 3 months and in that time, we have all had to slow down.
The advantage of working in the events sector is that the skills required to do so are largely project management skills. This includes budget management, organisational acumen and relationship management skills. All of these skills are entirely transferable. Ask the following questions;
- Which direction is the events industry going?
- Where are my strengths and weaknesses?
- What do I feel passionate about?
- Which sectors are doing well in the current climate?
- Which direction do I want my life to go in general?
By asking yourself these questions, you will come to the right conclusions about how to adapt your skillset and how to upskill if necessary. It's very clear that technology and a digital offering in the events sector is now an absolute must. An understanding of digital campaign strategy and event technology is paramount to be able to have the cutting edge when giving advice to clients, so look at social media courses, event technology modules and digital PR marketing campaign strategies to upskill in this area.
The days of simply looking at live event delivery as a stand alone offering are probably waning, so being able to talk to a campaign in a much more strategic fashion is also key. Looking at taking a marketing module which has a creative strategic element included would also be wise.
What else should I be doing to prepare?
When looking at the live event offering in the short to medium term, it is imperative that every operational deliverer as well as agency, knows how to deliver an event safely for when live events come back into play. Creating a number of unique ideas on how we can actually deliver events safely is key. Hire Space have been extremely innovative by producing the Safer Events Accreditation which means that you will be recognised in the industry as knowing how to produce an event with safety at the heart of the experience. For the month of August, Hire Space are offering 50% off Safer Events training to those made redundant (usually £95+VAT). Get in touch here.
There are lots of industry forums that #eventprofs should be tuning into. One of my personal favourites is the micebook "talks" webinars which are run by Chetan Shah who has done an extraordinary job during this time of bringing people in the industry together to collaborate and share their stories and journey.
EVCOM, the creative industry association, have also been producing webinars on a wide variety of content, called ‘EVCOM Sessions’ and have included topics such as ‘how to design a hybrid event’.
Look after yourself
Lockdown has been a very difficult time for many of us and it has been impactful on mental health. It is worth reaching out to Laura Capell Abra from Stress Matters, if you need some help on mindfulness or managing your own well being during this hard time. Gill Harvey from Blue Phoenix has produced an exceptional initiative for those who have been made redundant, and has created a support platform for this community called the Redundancy Support Map (have a look at my LinkedIn posts to see a link to the presentation).
This pandemic has affected the world economically and the events industry in the UK is not the only sector affected by this. It is a global issue, and we all have to find a way to paddle our own canoe during this hard time and to adapt to a changing world. I would encourage people not to feel afraid to ask for help, and seek mentorship during this time. I know many people in senior leadership roles who have been made redundant and who are seeking mentorship, this is a situation that affects everyone. During this time, kindness, compassion and understanding go a long way, as everyone’s circumstances are different and your line manager or boss is likely to be going through some extreme challenges as well with relatively little support, as it can be lonely at the top.
My parting advice?
Think positively, use this as an opportunity, don’t be scared and reach out to as many people as you can to get a variety of perspectives. Be proactive, not reactive and you will come out of this stronger and more determined than you were when you went in. My door is always open to anyone who wants guidance in any way.
We hope you found this piece useful. For the month of August, we are offering 50% off Safer Events training to those made redundant, as we want to help as many eventprofs get back on their feet as possible. For more information on the Accreditation, download our White Paper below and to get the discount submit your interest here.