Skip to main content

Welcome, students, to the School of Event Planning & Management! Class is now in session and we hope you are taking notes! This week we are featuring some AWESOME #EventIcons: Howard Givner (Event Leadership Institute), James Morgan (University of Westminster), Wendy Hultsman (Arizona State University), and Vern Baiett (High Point University).

Never Miss An Episode! Subscribe Now to #EventIcons! 

This episode is specifically geared toward students who want to get into the events industry. We’ll be discussing concerns that students have, advice for getting that first industry job, and we’ll also be clearing up some common misconceptions. On the other side of that coin, we’ll also be talking about ways for event industry veterans to stay current on trends, and teaching options for industry leaders. We have something for everyone! As always, don’t forget to check out the tips and Epic Resources that our guests shared with us (below)!

How To Subscribe:

Follow our iconic guests on Twitter:

Epic resources mentioned:

hbspt.cta.load(430132, ‘461d2199-2dda-43db-9a9f-38b4f2a3649a’, {});

Transcript of this episode:

Will: Hey everyone, it’s Will Curran from Endless Entertainment, and we’re back again, episode 38, 37 oh my gosh, of hashtag event icons. So excited to be here, we’ve got Laura Lopez in the background answering your guy’s questions, unfortunately Sean can’t make it today, so we are missing Sean. You have to be excited because we have an amazing panel, an amazing topic to discuss, but we’re going to just hold off and pump the brakes just for a second.


If you’ve watched this show before, you know that this is not a typical podcast, this is all about you the audience who are watching this right now, getting to ask all the amazing questions of these amazing event professionals. So, throughout the entire show, hop on Twitter with #eventicons, or in the question pane of GoToWebinar, you can submit your questions all throughout the show, and ask anything you want. Literally this is an ask me anything, your chance, do it, don’t miss out.


Ask the questions that you want to know. Also, while you are doing that be sure to Tweet, share your favorite nuggets of information that you learn, share anything you really really want on Twitter as well, and we are going to be live tweeting with you the entire show. Just hop on, share this on social media, #eventicons, pretty simple. Before we get into everything, I have to really really thank our guests, and be so excited because we have an amazing panel, today we’re talking about how we educate the future generations of event planners. How do event planners stay up on all the changes going on in our industry as we know it is rapidly changing as well.


I want to not delay anymore, and we really really got to get rocking and rolling, I’ve got to introduce our amazing guests. We are going to start off with Wendy Hultsman, Wendy is amazing, she runs the entire special events management program at ASU, which was my [inaudible 00:01:55]. Really excited to have her here. For those who have never heard about special events management programs, they do exist, in fact this show is a great testament of them. Wendy is just a badass when it comes to all things special event management, she manages all the content, she gets all the speakers in for all the different teachings of classes. Literally, everything I know has to be attributed to Wendy. I’ve got to give it up to Wendy for making it all happen. Thank you so much for joining us Wendy, and giving your view on the educational academic side of the event planning.


Wendy: Thank you for asking me.


Will: Awesome. Next up Mr. James Morgan. James is actually calling in at a very very late hour all the way from London. So excited to have him. James and I were hanging out at IMAX what was that? Three, four weeks ago. We were talking about it, and James is actually a PhD, and is a senior lecturer special events management, event management which is really really exciting, because I didn’t know that, and I said, “Oh my gosh, we’re doing a panel on special events management. We have to have you here.” I’m just so excited to have James. James actually comes with a ton of event experience as well, judges a ton of competitions, everything from event tech, to event management. I’m just really really excited to have you here James, and thank you for joining us.


James: Thanks Will.


Will: Awesome. Next up is Mr. Howard Givner. If you’ve never heard of Howard, where are you? Are you living under a rock? Howard runs the Event Leadership Institute. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s actually a really cool I guess you would call it for lack of better term, online college for event planners, event management, event professionals of all kinds to be able to go, get their CMP credits, get to learn more, there’s some really amazing courses on there. Just the amount of amazing content that they push out.


Literally these e-courses that you can learn everything you want to know, from technical meeting management, which our friend Brant teaches, to how do you manage catering companies, to what do you do when there is a fire at your event. Literally anything, so Howard is here to give us a perspective of what’s it like to be educated, and the continuing education go when it comes to the event managers, and the event professionals that we have out here. It’s a real honor, because I have learned a lot from you as well Howard, in the Event Leadership Institute, so thank you so much for joining us today Howard.


Howard: My pleasure.


Will: Last but not least, Mr. Vern [inaudible 00:04:29]. Vern is a #eventicon for sure. Vern was actually I think my first teacher I had in my special events management program at ASU, and for the longest time our company used to have this motto called crushing the box, which we actually stole from Vern, or acquired from Vern. Vern taught me a lot of things, and introduced me to a lot of people that helped kick start my event career. Actually, before even I go onto what he has moved onto, he has actually I think Vern you were the first person in the United States to get their PhD in festival management, is that right?


Vern: I don’t know if I’m the first, but I got my PhD at Arizona State, in the community resource and development with an emphasis on festivals and events.


Will: Awesome. Here to teach us a little bit more about the festival management, and actually is a very very very influential person in the Arizona events industry as well. We owe him a lot for what he has done. Now he has moved on from teaching at ASU, and now he is in North Carolina, literally he picked the other side of the country for us, and he is now teaching over at High Point University. Is that right?


Vern: That’s correct, High Point University in the Piedmont Triad. Close to Greensboro and Winston-Salem.


Will: Awesome, awesome. Thank you so much for joining us Vern, so excited to have you here, and honored to have my first event management teacher here on the show with us today.


Vern: Good.


Will: Awesome, awesome. Well, we have a lot of guests today, so we have a lot to go through, and a lot of questions. We’re going to start off with the first question, and give everyone a little bit of a background about what got you into the events industry, and why don’t you talk a little bit about what got you into teaching events, and educating the future event professionals, or the current event professionals. Why don’t we kick it off, Howard, why don’t you kick it off, how did you get involved in the events industry, starting your first company, to now running ELI?


Howard: I spoke at Penn State School of Hospitality Management about a week and a half ago, and I shared a story of how I got the bug of events being the social chairman of my fraternity 35, or however many years ago. At the time, I probably shouldn’t laugh about it, but the drinking age in Pennsylvania where I went to school was 21, and our school was in Philadelphia, so the duties of the social chairman involved driving across the Schuylkill River, and going into New Jersey to buy alcohol at the age of 18. Transported back across state lines, sell it without a liquor license, I’m sure we didn’t have liquor liability insurance, and looking back it’s a miracle, God forbid nobody really got hurt, or yours truly didn’t go to jail.


That’s kind of where I started it, was at school planning events. I think a lot of people who get into this industry at some point they had a passion for it. I don’t think people get to be in their 20s, and say, “Oh my god, I’ve always loved insurance, or actuarial science, or something like that.” In our industry, you get exposed to it in some capacity like that. My background is I started and ran an event company, that’s kind of what it was called back before you use the term agency. It was called Paint the Town Red, I started it by myself, and I like to say we took two steps forward, and one and three-quarter steps back, pretty much that was our pace. Eventually we added employees, and we grew, and I ran that business for about 20 years. I sold the company in 2008 to the global events group out of Spain.


They were the largest event company there, and they were looking to come into the United States. When I left, I really felt very passionately that there was a void in terms of the availability and the quality of event education. My focus wasn’t really on the people learning in schools, it was really we started by building the resource that I would have wanted my staff to have access to when we were planning events. Because, events have so many different types of variables, and clients, and different scenarios. It’s rare that you’ve got a person who is good at all those things. You can get somebody from a hotel who is good at food and beverage, and not know AV, or someone who is good at AV, and doesn’t know transportation. There is always something you are a little weak in, and so I felt the industry could have used a resource for people could just immediately jump in and get smart on something.


If your client’s CEO wants to use a Teleprompter, and you’ve never used it, you login 30 minutes later and now you can have a conversation and not sound like an idiot. That’s kind of my journey, it kind of got us to where we are. I’ve really enjoyed working with a growing number of college instructors who’ve probably have got about dozen or so that use our videos in their classes now, in conjunction with, or instead of textbooks. One of the takeaways I would say to the people watching this is the next generation of event professionals are coming into the industry far more educated than I did, and most of the people of my age, because we were just sort of self-taught. These people are coming in with a baseline knowledge that is far greater and more detailed than what we had. I think it’s a really good topic that you picked on today, and hopefully I can contribute as best as I can. I think it’s a great panel, and will cover all different sectors of education. That’s my quick little story.


Will: Just curious, how many courses, pieces of content does ELI totally have right now?


Howard: We started with a subscription-based, like a Netflix style on-demand library of short courses. Averaging 45 minutes or so, and those, excuse me, were designed to be unbundled, and so they are cut up into chapters from the beginning. We can let people do the micro learning thing. There may be a 40-minute thing on event insurance, and I could tell you right now, most people jump to that four and a half minute segment on how a certificate of insurance is filled out. Which is fine. I think we’ve got about 150 or so of those classes. Then three years ago we also added these structured courses, these we called them professional development courses, those are much longer, they spend 4 to 12 weeks. There are nine of those that run probably 2 to 3 times a year.


Will: Awesome, awesome, fantastic. Yeah, really great content. If you are not already checking out the ELI, you definitely need to log on and check out their content, awesome stuff.


Howard: Your check is in the mail Will.


Will: Thank you.


Howard: Thank you for the plus.


Will: I’m going to switch it over to Wendy, so Wendy, you’ve been running the special events management program at ASU for a little while now, can you talk a little bit about what got you into the events industry, and then how did you end up running this really innovative program that even when I was running an event company at ASU, didn’t even know it existed, and now it’s one of the leading special events management programs?


Wendy: Well, let me start out by saying thank you for having Howard going first, because I’m going to look into your website, and I definitely plan on using some of that information in the advanced class next semester, so this was great. I got into my interest with events through girl Scouting. For many years, I was involved in put this program on, put that program on, a lot of people as Howard found out, you have natural leadership abilities, and I found that in myself, and I shared my interest in towns with others. I wound up doing a lot of programming for a lot of people. My education undergrad was in physical education, but the Masters beyond is in recreation, and in recreation you learn how to work with large groups of people.


By working with large groups of people, I found that this is really fun. I mean it’s really fun to plan the programmatic aspects. When I moved to Arizona 27 years ago, I realized they had no special event education, or special events courses at all at ASU, so I started it. I started doing the first course 27 years ago, and we are still going strong with courses that a full slate of introductory courses, we also have an 18-credit academic certificate. We have a full minor also that students can join into. The certificate is the standalone certificate so that we have community members in it too. You do not have to be a registered student and a major in order to be part of this certificate.


We have done no marketing, and we seem to have our classes fill up, which is really nice. A lot of [inaudible 00:13:24] nonprofit, but I have students across the university, all over the University taking our courses, and the thing that I suppose is somewhat unique within our university is that everything we do has to have a hands-on service learning component. 27 years ago I hooked up with Vern, and when he was working with City of Phoenix, and my students have been working with event professionals in the field, ever since then alongside getting the classroom learning. It’s been nice. It’s been a nice ride, with full support from the University. Absolutely full support.


Will: That’s awesome, that’s awesome. For those who don’t know, ASU is a massive school, it’s at like 100,000 students now, or something like that?


Wendy: Yeah, I think like 95,000, but 95,000 still isn’t enough, they want us to grow, but who knows. Yes, it’s one of the largest universities in the US.


Will: Awesome, awesome.


Howard: Did you guys offer a major in event management?


Wendy: We decided not to offer a major and event management, what we are doing is concentrations in events management, we are aiding this on concentrations in our tourism program and event management, and in our community sports management program, and then we have the standalone certificate plus the minors. Within those, we’re talking about just with the certificate program, there is like 120 students enrolled in that. That includes having to take something online in the summer, so they are paying summer tuition. The minor has close to the same number of students and it, which is manageable. Because we don’t have loads of money to bring in other faculty right now. Everything we do except for one course and the certificate is on the ground in the classroom. We do not have an online program. That was a choice that we made not to do online right now, because others are doing it.


Will: That’s going to spark a question for me a little bit later, so before we get to that, I want to flip over to James across the pond to talk a little bit about his experience, and what got you into the events industry, and then what made you go down the path of doing the PhD, and becoming a senior lecturer.


James: I’ve been smiling a lot, because Aaron [Koffman 00:15:42] from Toronto is sending me messages on Facebook messenger. Excuse me if I crack up a bit.


Will: We got some fans.


James: Besides that, I started in event when I was at hospitality school. It continued, and then I did hospitality with events as work, and I went agency side, and I was working for a marketing agency, brands marketing, white marketing, etc. Now Nick [inaudible 00:16:18] is making funny jokes on my Facebook messenger feed, excuse me. That continued, and then I decided to go back to school, and I spent 10 years, I went back as a tourism planning degree, which is all about policy planning, place making stuff like that. Took all my events knowledge into that. Then I did a masters in town and urban planning, but oriented towards regeneration and culture, and that led to my PhD in culture regeneration, and how we use culture to regenerate places.


Then I was approached during that period if I would like to teach, and I said yes, so I teach at the University of Westminster on the undergraduates tourism with events management degree. It’s an honors degree. We also have a tourism with business management, tourism with planning management. We will sit within an architectural and built environment school in central London. I still work in the industry, I’ve got a startup or two.   The event Tech Lab which you know about Will. That’s a start up [inaudible 00:17:47] community, virtual community, 35 partners around the world. Yeah, and I still organize events which I love. I really love it. Yeah. That’s my story.


Will: I love it, I love it. Can you give everyone an idea of the different topics that you’re covering in the classes that you’re teaching?


James: Yeah, so because we are in architecture and built environment school, it is very much about the policy aspects of events, and then more about the design stuff. We do experience design, we teach the students how to sketch, how to use various bits of software to actually do fly throughs, and things like that. Then we also teach them the kind of theoretical side, like the [inaudible 00:18:41] production of space thesis, or Pine and Gilmores Experience thing. We do various things. Obviously, for the postgraduates bit of a more higher theoretical level. The undergraduates get three years of actually doing event stuff, and because we are in central London, we get a lot of opportunities from companies who want students to volunteer. They are getting a lot of practice while they go through their courses.


Will: Awesome, fantastic. I’m going to hop from one PhD to the other. Vern, can you give everyone, you have a really awesome back story, and kind of what got you in the events industry. Can you tell everyone a little bit about a quick background as far as what got you in the events industry, and then what led you to Wendy to teaching some of the classes at ASU where you are now?


Vern: Sure, well, it’s kind of interesting, because my story was just told by three other people. Actually in college, and my fraternity, myself and a couple of others, we decided to roll a flatbed truck in front of the fraternity house. Hire a couple of go-go girls, and we had the [inaudible 00:19:55] go-go. We were buying beer, it was mostly to meet girls, but that’s probably the first real event I ever did. Howard I know where you came from. I never thought of myself as an event person though, I was always a recreation person. I did my Masters at Arizona State back in the early 70s, and I had my first real job at a retirement community. I worked there for five years, as a look back, it’s real easy though, half of what I did was special events. We had parties, we had banquets, we had meetings of all kinds. All kinds of events going on.


I ended up working for city of Phoenix, as a parks and recreation supervisor, and we did a lot of big community events. The mayor of Phoenix back in the late 80s wanted to start an office of special events much like they have in Chicago. It was housed in parks and recreation, and I jumped over and joined in there. Spent almost 13 years with office of special events in Phoenix, and we produced the big events for the city. For the July and the big Christmas parade, and other things like that, but we also got involved when [inaudible 00:21:21] started to travel the first time, we got all the arrangements made for them to come in, and when the Phoenix Grand Prix was there, we were involved, or the NBA basketball All-Star game.


Got involved quite a bit in all kinds of events. After being there for a while though, 13 years, I jumped over to city of Glendale, which is a big suburb. They now have a hockey arena, and University of Phoenix football stadium. Super Bowls, jumped over producing more tourism type events. Working out of the marketing department, we had big [inaudible 00:22:05] events for the city trying to get people over there to visit our downtown, part of redevelopment and everything. I thought I retired 12, 13 years ago. Wendy called, and said, “Vern, you need to teach some leisure classes with us.” I had occasionally taught as an adjunct before, and so I showed up, and started teaching some general leisure classes, and within the first year we hooked up together, and put together this certificate she told you about. I taught in that for a long time. Three or four classes every semester. It was a lot of fun. Doing things.


I was there all the time. When the community resource department decided to start a brand-new PhD, I said, “What the heck.” I jumped in, that was in 2008. Took me five years to finish, but I got it done. I wasn’t going to study festivals and events, I worked in events for my whole life, and I said I know everything about events, I don’t need to do that. I took my first qualitative research class. I quickly learned that I didn’t, what most of us in the event industry don’t know hardly anything about, and that’s the actual on-site behavior of people at festivals and events, because nobody has studied it, nobody has really look into it. That’s been my specialty for a while. Three years ago I found High Point University just randomly.


They were looking for somebody to come in and take their minor, which had been around for about a year and a half, and turn it into a major. One of the first really bachelor programs in the United States. Although they are real popular around the world, in the United States we don’t really have very many bachelor programs in event management. I came on board here and followed 14, I think I had 16 minors at the time. Right now basically two years and a semester later, 2 ½ years later, I think we’re up to almost 70 majors, and 70 minors. It has taken off, it’s going nuts, just like our certificate program did in Arizona state, I think there’s a big need for it.


Will: Awesome, awesome. It’s really cool to see the differing levels that we have here. For example, with Wendy’s program you guys decided, “Hey, we are going to stick to minors and certificates.” Howard is doing the pure online model, where like you are saying, Netflix on the go whenever you would like. Then over across the pond, James is doing something completely different. It’s really awesome to see that diversity in the education that you guys have. I am really curious to know what unites you guys, and I want to know that obviously you guys teach, because there is still a gap between what people think they know, and what they need to know, right? All of us, most of us, well I can’t say most of us, because I did go to school for special events management.


Most people in the industry never got a formal education in this, it’s by the seat belts or whatever they say. My curiosity becomes what are the gaps you guys are seeing between what is being done out there, and what you think people need to be educated on? For example, are you guys seeing that with technology moving as fast as it is, do we need to be teaching more about event tech, and things like that, I think James is going to be like, “Yes, absolutely.” Yeah, that’s my curiosity, is where is the gaps you guys are seeing right now? When it comes to education and the areas that people need to know about, that they may be don’t even think about when it comes to event management? I will kick it off with Wendy, if you want to let us know kind of where you are seeing the gaps are, and where people need to fill in?


Wendy: Definitely event tech, but we are going to be working with that here next semester, and that I have hooked up with an event technology program, my class will be shaped around using their program, I don’t know if I can mention … I have no idea if I can mention who they are.


Will: Keep the suspense.


Wendy: No, so we will actually be designing, my students will be consultants in their semester long projects, where they’re competing against each other, the consulting groups, the design is something week, whether it be fashion week, whatever. We use their technology, so all of the advanced event students will come out technology knowledgeable, and this company came into all of our intro classes to introduce the product so the students would understand it beforehand. Technology is one thing, the other thing is a knowledge of budgeting. Almost every university student in all of our programs unless they have some personal background says that afterwards that, “Boy, I wish I knew more about how to deal with the money aspect.” Just understood how everything integrates, because this doesn’t just happen. Events don’t just get paid for. Those are the two areas which I’m trying to integrate, and educate the students more about. I do this by bringing in people who are in it right now. Find ways to have the students gain hands-on experience.


Will: Awesome. Do you think that’s there-


James: I think what Wendy is saying about bringing people in is key for educators.


Wendy: Absolutely.


James: We teach theory, but in order to teach theory, somebody has got to write the book, that takes three years to get. By the time they [inaudible 00:27:51], it’s getting published. The industry is like a rolling wheel downhill. We are always trying to catch up with what is really happening at the sharp end. We rely a lot on guest speakers coming in and doing stuff, and I think that that is the future of education, one aspect of it is having that industry engagement on a continual basis.


Vern: Jump in and tell you that I had a guest speaker last week, [inaudible 00:28:25] from a company out of Atlanta called World 50. She is an event planner, World 50 has the 500 top CPO’s in the world as their members, and she organizes meetings, and events with them around the world. The students were fascinated to know that she worked out of her home office here in High Point, and she did it with a laptop that was open, Skyping the whole day, the laptop is hooked up to a robot, it runs around the office, she meets with her staff, she goes to meetings. She virtually does her job, virtually, the whole time. Not only getting the people in from outside, but introducing technology at the same time. It was pretty amazing.


Will: That’s awesome.


Wendy: Well, can I add on to something James just said? Because not only do I bring the professionals in, but absolutely every student that goes through at least my classes has to work in someone else’s event. They have to gain the hands-on experience, and you can’t have a minor or certificate if you don’t have plenty of experience. If they don’t have a minimum of three events that they’ve worked at, they have to go and do that, no credit, otherwise you have to go and do the diversity of hands-on experience. That’s key, because then the students bring more information back into the classroom.


James: Yeah, absolutely.


Will: I was going to say, so Howard on your end, they talked about bring in experts, and you have primarily. That’s what all of your classes are taught by people that are in the weeds have done this before, and are true experts in their craft, whether it’s AV, or catering, or layouts. Was there a specific reason why you guys went that route versus trying to create all the content on your own?


Howard: Well, I just want to be clear. We do curate all the content on our own, and anyone who has developed any course or class content with us will attest to the rigorous process that we put them through. As an example, we have I don’t know, let’s say it’s an hour-long class on lighting 101. The instructor we work with is Richard Tatum, who is one of the foremost lighting experts in events in the country, and he started by developing an outline for us, and I looked at it, in this case I’m usually the one who reviews the material, and he kind of had it little I’m not going to say superficial, but it wasn’t that technical, and I said, “Where is the part where you’re going to tell people what a [inaudible 00:31:07] is, and what a par is, and what the difference is between an LED, and all these other things?


He said, “Well, planners don’t really want to know that.” I said, “You know what, actually I think they do, and they need to know that because a driving …” This sort of ties into your last question, a driving theme of all the content that we do, is not just to teach people how things work, and teach them the concepts, but it’s undergirded with this existential dilemma that most planners face, particularly in house planners, which is proving their value. There is no in-house planner who doesn’t worry at some point that their company may take away some of the work that they do, and either outsource it, or put it into the different business units, and have administrative assistants do it. That’s a common fear and concern.


There is not a lot of CFOs who when they are thinking of making cuts in some ways, whether it is a down economy, or they are just trying to be more efficient, if they said, “You know, let’s eliminate all the event planners.” No one is going to look at them and think they are crazy in the same way as if they said, “Let’s get rid of our IT department.” You say, “Oh, you can’t do that. Someone has got to run the computers.” Nobody thinks events are that complicated, and that is changing, but part of what we want to do is empower the planners through all the content that we have not just to understand things, but to be able to explain to their bosses, and their internal clients, this is why this is important. One of the gaps that I’ve been seeing out there, I totally agree with Wendy and James on tech, but where I would take it a step further is to teach people the ability to know when and under what circumstances certain technologies are appropriate to be implemented. To me that’s the heavy lifting, and you guys have probably seen this particularly in industry events.


Whenever there is a new technology, the organizer just thrust it into the meeting or the event, without really thinking about whether it feels organic, or it makes sense. To me that’s a really easy area for the event professional to prove their value to the client. Things are changing very quickly in the industry, particularly on tech, and lots of other areas too. In part because through social media and blogs, everyone can get access to everyone else’s ideas, and they can come in and say, “Well, what about we do this event, and we use this technology, and I want to use this white couch I saw on Preston Daly’s blog, but I want to light it with this blue thing that I saw …” The planner has got to be that curator of ideas, and can prove their value by saying, “Here is why I think this idea works, or doesn’t work within this event context.”


I will give you a really quick example. Digital polling, whether it’s using through your cell phone, or through a handheld devices that are distributed by a third-party vendor is a pretty good technology that is often really poorly misused. If you are sitting in a meeting, and the person on stage says, “Let’s do a digital poll here. How many of you are planners, and how many of you are suppliers?” Okay, well you’ll get the exact percentage on the screen in about 10 or 15 seconds, but one: that information could have easily been gotten by a show of hands, and two: using those devices 10 seconds may not seem like a lot, but it breaks the momentum, and it grinds the process to a halt. I would say that’s not a great use of that technology. If you were going to say, “How many of you planners have taken commissions and not told your client?”


Okay, now I’m with you, no one is going to put their hands up for that, that’s a great way to use. Or how many of you steal from your bosses, or something, or how many think you are underpaid? Now you are using technology in a way that’s actually going to move the needle further than if you just did a show of hands. One of the things that we try to often teach is the real value, or the real challenge is in being creative with a low budget, or finding ways to achieve your goals through an event that don’t require you to bring in a really complicated technology. Sometimes doing things that are low-tech, but get the job done, I think could be great. At the end of the day, if a planner can know which tools in their toolbox to apply to different situations, to me, that elevates them to the top of the list in terms of proving their value to the people they work for.


Will: That’s awesome, I definitely love what you are saying. Yeah, that’s fantastic.


Vern: Can I jump in Will, a little different thought in technology though? One of the things I discovered being in the communications school here a High Point, is we are working for example with an outside person to develop a special class on lighting, audio, special effects, all that. He actually has a local company, and he just happens to have a PhD in water hydrology which means nothing, but it allows him to teach at a university with an advanced degree. We are doing that, but the other thing we are doing is communication technology that people don’t think about. The latest maybe most of us put things together in PowerPoint, some of those things, but we are using end design now. We are going to the latest forms of Excel, and tying things in. The social media aspects. Staying on top of that. Technology moves way past just the physical these days, I think, it includes pretty much everything we do. I think Howard said, we’ve got to stay on top of it, or James, it changes every day. We are looking to try and keep on top of it every day.


Will: That’s awesome. Go ahead James.


James: There is a balance to be had between the way university budgets work. It is easier to teach social media and software technology aspects, then it is to teach the hardware. For university departments, if you are not in a music school, or attached to some sort of television school, where they’ve got the AV equipment, they’ve got the stage, and they’ve got the lighting, they’ve got the sound, universities don’t yet want to invest in that hard technology yet. That’s why I think the future needs to goes to kind of widen out the programs, because if you look at Howard’s website, and I’ve been through it, looking at the content, I’m on the [inaudible 00:37:46] education counsel, and we’d like to see what’s out there in terms of education resource, and we’ve had a partnership with the Institute for a few years now.


There you see anything from the session that you did Will, on the hard technology aspect through to stuff on the soft technology. I think that is where the universities in general are failing. Especially if you are in a business school, which in Europe, most of the events management programs [inaudible 00:38:24] business schools first, and hospitality school second. They’ve already built a kitchen in the hospitality school, they’re hardly going to buy better staging, and some lights. It’s holding us back I think.


Will: I love it, I love it.


Vern: Will, you remember how I told you to pick up the trash with technology?


Will: Yeah.


Vern: You remember what we taught in class, picking up the trash with technology?


Will: It has been quite a couple years.


Vern: Yeah, so it’s even down to that level. Do you need people with rakes and pickers, or where you’re using blowers, and street sweepers. You use modern stuff in this field all the time, and we’ve got to just make sure students understand there is better ways, technology really saves time and energy a lot. We’ve got to make sure they understand that.


Howard: With that said, I did a presentation last summer at the [inaudible 00:39:27] conference, which is a conference of educators in hospitality, and events, and things like that. In advance of that, we did a survey to about 50 or so people who hire within the industry, and those were either owners of agencies, or heads of event departments, or their the head of the new sales or something like that. We asked them to rank the skills that they felt entry-level employees, so people coming into the workforce out of college, where are they the least prepared, or where would they like to see them prepared more. The two things that were number one and number two, and you can kind of blend them together, were communication, and writing.


The examples I got, and the people who commented they didn’t just fill out the survey, they were like angry that people couldn’t write a fricking email, without a million smiley faces and exclamation points, and all caps, and whatever. I think that’s not to be underestimated, and in part that could be ironically an area where university event instructors can really help students, because I have two kids, I have a 20-year-old and a 15-year-old, and they don’t use email, email is not in their world, they use texting. That is a completely different language, it is on economy of words and characters, which is fine, but as soon as you get into the workplace, who knows, maybe in 10 years that will change as they all come in, but for the most part there is a hard turn toward email. You have to know how to compose an email.


Things we take for granted, are things that are the biggest complaints of people who hire new people. They are communicating to clients, and vendors, and venues and they are communicating initially similarly to how they would text message somebody, and it’s not representing the department and the company. There is one woman who heads the event [inaudible 00:41:27] at KPMG, an accounting firm, and they probably have 80 to 100 planners, and this is an accounting business, right? She is saying, this reflects your personal brand, and it reflects the departments brand, and we can’t have people talking to the outside world like that.


Not to take anything away from technology, because that is actually an area where incoming entry-level people can really add value, because a lot of the older people don’t keep up with the social media. As soon as one platform, they figure out boom, there is another one. When they come in, that’s a good skill for them to have, and they are often asked to do that when they get their first job, but if it comes at the expense of being able to string a few sentences together, then it’s going to hurt them.


James: I think that’s a general failing with the education system as a whole, rather than universities. People come to University to specialize in something, they go to school to read, and write, and add. Obviously, some universities have a very high value commercial agenda, and maybe the entry requirements are not as stringent as others. People are hiring [inaudible 00:42:40].


Vern: Howard also, my point we have a few things [inaudible 00:42:47]-


James: [inaudible 00:42:48] in the first place, because reading and writing is something that I learned when I was 12, 13 years old, by the time I could write an essay, that sort of thing. I’m sure you all could.


Vern: I was going to jump in here, and say some of the things we’re doing here, probably Howard would like. We have a human communication class where people learn how to speak, but then in all our event classes we follow-up and it’s not unusual for students to have to give anywhere from four to six oral presentations during each of their follow-up in all their event classes. We do the same thing with having them create flyers, and brochures, and posters. They learn the technology to do it, but now we make them practice it and use it over and over again. As far as their writing goes, one thing that is so different for me being in a communication school these days, we have we call it the rule of seven. Once we reach seven typos or grammar errors, or something in a paper, we immediately stop, and send it back to the student, and tell them it’s unacceptable until it’s corrected. I totally agree with you, it’s [inaudible 00:44:06] so hard. They did it, they learn as they go.


Will: I’m just curious from everyone else too, so other than the writing and the communication aspect, are there any other areas that you think that students are really unprepared for when they are entering into the event professional world? Wendy, any thoughts?


Wendy: Go to someone else, let me think about this.


Howard: While Wendy is thinking, another thing that has come up particularly in response to the survey that I mentioned, we started sending out a blog post every few weeks, specifically to college instructors to share some of these insights. There were two, and one of them, they were a little bit related. One of them is the importance of recognizing that events are in the hospitality world, and so it’s not just about walking around with a clipboard, and a headset, and barking orders at people that you might think of it on TV. You have to really have a good attitude, and a smile, and a pleasant demeanor, and people really have to get the sense that you’re dealing with a customer. You’ve got to keep the client happy at all times, and so things that we hear are that they look for people who have worked in restaurants, who have worked at the front desk at a hotel.


People who have worked in retail, where they have to deal with potentially obnoxious or illogical customers that complain, and have to keep a happy face on. That’s one, the other one is the sense of a pace, and the sense that when you are planning events, in the real world, it is not a linear pace. In many cases in college, and most of education, you follow a relatively straightforward plan. Classes all start on this day, this is when your break is, this is when finals are. It’s rare that you get curve balls in that process. The event industry is different. One of the things we are suggesting, and a lot of the people who teach at the college level are teaching … They are integrating planning of an actual event, sometimes it’s a mock event, but a lot of times it’s a real event, for the school, or for an online group or something like that.


Which I think is great, but one of the suggestions that we give is throw a curve ball in, two weeks before the event tell them the budget is cut 20%, come back to me with ideas. The guest count is increasing by 100 people, or whatever. Just to let them get comfortable with the fact that you can’t necessarily break things down and logically go A, then B, then C, sometimes a client pulls the rug out from under you, and if you are a real anal retentive person who that really throws sideways, then certain parts of the event industry are going to really rub you the wrong way. Those are things that are they are easy to teach, you don’t need a book for it, but they will help people know that, yes, the event industry is for me. They can address things that are on the soft skill side that can help them better prepare for what they find in the workforce.


Wendy: I can add to that now.


Vern: We actually teach them, we use an old French term, [inaudible 00:47:14]. We basically teach that at events you start at point A, but you don’t go to point B, you just start and you go. Go all over a little bit like smoke filling the room from a candle. It’s amazing, I think you would be surprised at how much probably Wendy and James and I throw curveballs. I think most events people understand that. I know Wendy and I are constantly doing it to students. I think some of that is probably out there. Getting them to realize that we’ve got to adapt, we’ve got to move things, things are never the same. I talk about chaos, I talk about ambiguity all the time. Because if you can’t live with it, you can’t really be in this field.


Wendy: Can I add something Will?


Will: Yeah go ahead.


Wendy: To both of them. I also think that those entering the field need to realize that they personally have to have endurance. Howard, you talked about that things go at a different pace, but at 62 years old, I’m constantly outpacing my students, and being able to have energy at the end of a day when we are working on event, and what’s up, because they are not used … So many they are not used to having to give energy and pace their own energy for extended periods of time. We know we have to do that in the event world.


The other thing talking about the curveballs, my entire final, and I’m sure none of my students are watching this, my entire final is an inbox, outbox type of situation, so they start with creation around a scenario about an event, and when they hand that into me, each piece of paper for seven different parts are something that could go wrong. They have to talk about how they can handle it, including a three-page meeting of all different people who are bringing up different things that can happen. As Vern said, we throw a lot of these things at them, and they know they have to respond, and if they don’t, they also realize that this might not be for me.


Will: Awesome.


Vern: I need to throw something out, I know we’ve only got a few minutes left here, but one of the things that we are doing here at High Point, and I would hope more people around the world do, and that’s teach experience design, I know that James mentioned earlier. One of the things we’ve discovered is that students are really good at the basics, they are good at the operations, putting the nuts and bolts together, but they really don’t understand what makes a great experience, and how you design it, and the thoughts behind it. We actually have a whole class on nothing but experience design. James, are you doing that too?


James: Yeah, we have at the postgraduate we’ve got something called creative experiences for events and attractions. That as well as another one event concepts. Those all to do with experience design, and all the theory related to that. Then they culminate in a practical event, where the postgraduates produce the alumni Festival. At the undergraduate, we have an event design and production event production, event operations which all leads towards staging an event scenario. That’s where a lot of curveballs come in. I remember last year, one of the venues pulled out at the last minute to do the student event. They all have to make a profit at their event that they produce in groups. They were I think it was three or four days before the event having to find a new venue. Yeah, it can be quite nailbiting if your mentoring them.


Will: I love the curveballs, because I mean yeah, as an AV guy, I’m so used to literally stuff hitting the fan all day long. I definitely appreciate the curveballs. Like Vern said, we only have a couple more minutes left, I just want to make sure everyone is doing okay on time, we started a little bit late, so we want to make sure that we get the full hour out of it. My question to you guys, I want to make sure that we get this question in, because we have a lot of event professionals actually tuned in right now who are either continuing their education, maybe we have some students who are also watching saying, “Hey, I want to get into this.”


For the event professionals out there are like, “You know what, all those things you’re talking about that need to be taught, I could teach that.” How would you recommend the best way for an event professional to get involved with either their school, or to get involved in teaching, or maybe even their school doesn’t have a program, how they could start something up like you did Wendy. What are your guys thoughts? I will start with Howard since I think that you have a ton of people probably approaching you wanting to teach classes all the time.


Howard: We are not an accredited college in the US in a lot of cases I think you have to have a Masters degree to teach a lot of courses there. I will tell you, we’ve probably turned away three quarters of the people who have submitted forms to teach who I know are teaching at other colleges. In a lot of cases they are in adjunct roles, and this is not a knock on anyone at the undergraduate level, I’m just saying it’s harder than people might think. One of the things that I learned early on is it’s having the subject matter expertise is only part of the equation. As an example, there were one or two topics that we did early on, where we brought in the rock star of rock stars, the owner of a top top company, I don’t want to see the category, because I don’t want to say anything out of turn, but this was like the best guy I could find, and when we finished taping it, and I had spent money to bring the crew on site, I just said, “It’s just to dry. It’s too dry, and it’s not engaging.”


The thing I would say first is it’s a commitment, it’s a commitment to not just that you know the stuff in your head, you have to find a way to get it from your head, and present it in an organized way so that the people at the other end can understand it, and apply it. Not everybody has both of those skill sets, so Will, for example you mentioned Brandt Krueger who does our technical meeting and event production course. He has done other tech related things. Brandt is a really good example, because he knows the material, but he also knows how to present it, not just visually, but how to talk to people in a way that they walk away thinking, “Wow, I really understand that.” It’s a combination of those two things. For us, on our site, you can go to the about menu, and there is a link for content submission. There you can fill out if anyone is interested, you can fill out your information, you can suggest a topic, and we do ask for a description, and for learning outcomes.


If you can’t quite get [inaudible 00:54:35] around that, I would say that would be a good first step. Don’t just say I can teach X, think about how you would describe it, think about some learning outcomes that people would get out of it. Be prepared to do some work. I would say the difference in what we do, and what you get at a university, versus some of the free content that is out there, and I did a class on this at the last PCMA education conference, it was free, or fee. Whether to charge for content in advance of a conference for example.


There are a lot of publications that offer webinars that are free, and things like that. Some of them are good, and some are not. I would say the burden of somebody who sells education, like we do, and like a university does, is you are not getting your money from advertising, and you live and die on the quality of the content. It has to be good. If you want to put your toe in the water, maybe try something … I have a webinar for an industry publication, where if it is not that good, as long as they got enough eyeballs there, and the sponsor was happy, it’s not the end of the world. Unfortunately, we have a different type of a bar, so our system is a little more stringent.


Wendy: [inaudible 00:55:53].


Vern: One of the things I would look for, we again, Howard mentioned the university, we have to have people with at least a masters degree. Even when we do that, and people come on board, one of the ways that we evaluate people, some of the adjuncts we’ve been able to hire is how they been making presentations at professional conferences. Because it’s one thing to just want to teach, but can you actually get in front of people, can you keep them occupied, can you make it work? I found that people that seem to be teaching at professional conferences a lot doing sessions, tend to be better at it. Just probably because they’ve had more practice.


Wendy: Yeah, and I wouldn’t bring in someone for the most part who hasn’t presented in one of our classes. I have to see them before, and I get a lot of requests. I can teach that just like you said Howard, yeah, we could teach that, I’m in town, blah blah blah. If I’ve seen them working, so I also offer them the opportunity, how about we come and visit you as a field trip, and let me see how you address my students there? They’re not just going to come in and teach, because we’ve had those flops. [inaudible 00:57:16] too much.


Will: James you have any thoughts on someone who wants to get into teaching that you would recommend for them to do?


James: I think if somebody wants to teach, and they’ve never presented before, that might be a problem. I agree with Vern there, and but saying that, we’ve got a great guy that comes into … He is a technical designer, a production designer, so AV, the lighting, the sound, the staging. Yeah, [inaudible 00:57:51] Will, a fantastic company they’re called Hawthorn Technical Production company, they’ve done the Queen’s birthday, and all sorts of stuff, they’re great. He’s funny, socially he is kind of quiet, sort of laid-back. When he gets in front of the students, he gets very animated and chatty. Although he doesn’t present or anything, it was I suppose a godsend getting him in, saying, “Look, can you come do a light show and tell please?” Was the starting point. Yeah, we don’t have any lights to show the students.


That’s one of my gripes. Yes, he’s fantastic. Some of the other ones are through field trips, I found a couple of people as well. It all adds up really into improving the industry engagement. The head of London and Partners, the lady that organizes all the major events for London, Tracy Halliwell, she’s actually become a research fellow in the department now, and so she’s presenting students all the time, but she’s a great speaker. I suppose there is no set rule really, it’s kind of a moving feast. We’re always looking for talent, and we find it in different ways really.


Howard: A good example of that, because a lot of media companies are putting on events, and in New York for example, the New York Times in their facility, the Times Center, they have a lot of events where they bring in celebrities or well-known people, and they’ve really tried hard to get their writers, and their print editors to do the interviewing. Some are good, and some are horrible, horrible. People who have no business, like really pulling your teeth out, and so it’s not for everybody. I think actually it’s easier if somebody is good at conveying material, and is good at explaining something, and engaging students, I think they can fill in a lot of the blanks by consulting experts. By bringing in somebody who can cover up on some of the areas.


I don’t think they have to be the uber uber uber expert, they have to know their material, and they have to know who to go to when they don’t know something, but I think if you have somebody who is let’s say three quarters the way there in their expertise, but is 100% there on the presentation skills, I think that’s going to get the job done. Because the way you judge this, is not on the teacher, you judge it by the students, and their ability to absorb, and apply the content. I don’t want this to turn into something where we are discouraging people from teaching, because I do think it’s a great feeling to give something back, and whenever I’ve taught in person, I always find it is the most gratifying thing I do in my work.


Even the people that I’ve had as guest speakers in the industry, to the classes I’ve taught in person, I make them prepare something in advance. If they can’t quite do that, even if it is a couple of slides, as we did this event, here is some background, here is what the client schools were, here’s what we did. They’ve got to kind of make a little bit of an effort to it, and I think Vern had said, if you haven’t presented, or maybe Wendy said, if you haven’t presented at an industry event, you really don’t have a sense of what you’re in for. It’s a very different thing, if you are at a conference, and there is nine breakout sessions, and yours isn’t that great, well, the impact on the overall conference is a terrible. If somebody is paying to attend a course, and the instructor is not that great, that becomes a big problem.


Will: That’s awesome, I love it, love it. Oh my gosh, you guys have dropped so many knowledge bombs, I mean I have so many questions I still want to ask, but we are running out of time, so I think this is going to definitely warrant a part two of this episode to continue the discussion debate around this. There is just so many questions from the audience that we didn’t even get a chance to get to from … I have questions floating around in my head, so I think we are definitely going to have to do a second part of this episode.


Just to be cognizant of the time that we have left, I want to end with the last two questions that we ask all of our guests when they come on the show. The first question that I have for you guys, is if you had one tip for event planners, or students going into event planning, that you think they can use to take their events to the next level, or improve their planning process, what would be your one tip for planners that you would give them today? Why don’t we kick it off, Wendy she is so excited, she’s got one ready for us, Wendy kick it off.


Wendy: I want to challenge event planners to hook up with these universities, and offer opportunities for students to get involved to help you out, or classes to do a portion of your event. You take the time to mentor the young folks, so that they have role models to follow.


Will: I love it.


James: I love that.


Will: That was fantastic.


James: I love that, that’s awesome.


Will: Drop the mic.


Wendy: [inaudible 01:03:12] Vern.


James: I’m going to steal your idea.


Vern: I’m going to too, Wendy you haven’t seen anyone since I was doing that for you?


Wendy: No I had [inaudible 01:03:22].


Will: Awesome. What about you James, what would be your one tip for planners for 2016, and into 2017?


James: Wow, that’s hard Will. I can just give them a bit of advice. It doesn’t matter whether the kitchen is on fire, and somebody is taking care of it, walk out the door smiling.


Will: That’s a good one. I definitely see that. Sometimes you just have to be calm and collected, you’ve got to be the duck paddling like crazy underwater, but look smooth sailing, right?


James: Yeah.


Will: Awesome, awesome. Howard, what about you, what would be your one tip?


Howard: So, before I give my one tip, I just want to add one very quick point, because unlike teaching in university, the people that take our programs are working professionals. I want to stress that we are in an age where you need to embrace lifelong learning, and that’s not just this industry, it’s every industry. There has been an explosion of online content, and in person content, and meet ups, and all kinds of things. In order to succeed, I think the learning never ends. By way of example, when people register for any of our material, we ask them one or two questions, one of which is how many years of experience you have in the industry. We’ve got pretty broad cross-section’s, and in case people take away that this is all about people who are in college, or university, 29% of the people that are in our material, and our programs, have 8 to 15 years of industry experience, and another 15% have 16+ experience.


They all take different things, and so I think the lesson here is you’ve got to constantly be taking courses and learning whether it’s even stuff, or Excel, or something else. The advice I would give for people in general to take their events up to the next level is actually get out of the event industry, and make sure that you are not just subscribing to industry magazines, and industry blogs, and industry newsletters. The really smart people particularly on the creative side, are getting their inspiration from somewhere else. They are looking at how store windows are being designed, they are looking at technology, they are going on Mashup, all types of other sites. That’s where a lot of your really good ideas are going to come from, they are coming from outside of our industry bubble.


Will: Awesome, I love it, I love it. Great advice, very great advice. All right Vern, last but not least, what’s your tip?


Vern: Before I give my tip I’m going to just say Howard’s words every year is a formative year, so I love what Howard said, because we can always learn. My tip, I thought about this in advance for you. You’ve got to be proactive. You have got to be proactive to be in this field. You can react to things, but you’ve got to think things out in advance, that’s why we have crisis plans, we don’t wait and react. When things go wrong, we thought about them, if they go wrong, what are we going to do, how are we going to handle it? I harp on my students over and over and over again in classes, be proactive.


Will: I love it. Love it, so good. Man, so many nuggets, I mean like I just have so many questions that I keep asking you guys. Awesome stuff, awesome stuff. I want to wrap up the episode with my favorite question as everyone knows, what cool resources, apps, gadgets, tools, that you guys want to share with the audience, whether it is something you made, or something you are using now, like your favorite pen, whatever it may be, I would love to know what your favorite resources are. Howard, I know you’ve got a ton of resources, I know you are the resource … Oh, wait, no James seems like he wants to go for it. James, go ahead and kick us off with your favorite resources that you want to share with everyone.


James: Okay. I’m really excited about this, it’s a bit of a plug. I’ve been doing research over the last year around experience-based event planning. How we democratize events, and crowd source ideas, and pull all that together to inform, or inspire event players to produce better events, and events that actually in the marketing process, it’s pre-event marketing really. As part of that research, I’ve developed this web-based tool called, and it’s a crowdsourcing tool for any type of events. You can crowd source ideas for entertainment venues, locations, keynote speakers, topics, panels, all sorts of things. Webinars, and yeah, I want to tell everybody about it.


Will: Yeah, awesome, awesome I love it, so right?


James: That’s the one.


Will: Awesome. They just type in like three takes them right on over to it, awesome, I love it, love it. Self-plugs are okay, we are totally okay with that here. All right Howard, you got some resources ready for everybody?


Howard: Sure. I will quickly just say, take a look if you haven’t been to, that’s where all of our content is I’ve been referring. I also developed a mobile app a number of years ago called Super Planner, which probably has about 30 different utilities and calculators. For people to follow up what I said before, about staying connected to lots of other ideas, and it seems overwhelming now, in part because every organization you join, whether it’s MPI, or if you are on the social tables list, everybody creates these aggregator emails. They send you a list of eight articles, whether it is every day, or every week. You might like this, you might like this. There is this explosion of content.


A really cool app that I’ve been using, which I think is free, is called Pocket. You install it on your phone, when you see an article you like, you click save to Pocket, and it syncs with your phone, and you can do it on your desktop, or anywhere else. For me, when I’m waiting for the elevator, or waiting for the train, or something like that, I’ve got two minutes of downtime, I open it up, and first I’m faced with all the articles that I haven’t read, and I feel bad, but then I can start knocking them off a little at a time. Not just for the industry, but it’s a way to sort of take everything that is coming at you, save it, put it in a place. It is not Evernote in the sense that you don’t really have the ability to take notes, and use it like that. It’s just a place like bookmarks and read things, so you have them on the go. I found it is pretty helpful for me.


Will: I love Pocket, it’s like my go to, same thing. Five minutes to read, go to get Pocket. Get for everyone who is watching right now if you want to download it, highly recommend. It’s completely free to use too, do you use the paid version?


Howard: I’m not sure what the paid version offers that the free one doesn’t, I don’t think I’m paying for it if I’m not mistaken.


Will: Yeah, I don’t pay for it either, it doesn’t really make sense I think to pay for it. Maybe they need to add more features.


Howard: Maybe, maybe.


Will: Awesome, awesome. Wendy what about you, what would be your cool resources that you want to share with everyone?


Wendy: All of you. Speaking to people. I am much more a speak to people, and listen to them, and that kind of person then doing a lot of stuff with technology. I look and see what other people are doing, and I speak to them, and I listen to things like this, and I follow around that way, and share a lot of stuff with my students. Through my experiences. The other thing though, I mean I have been in academia for almost 40 years, but I’ve also produced … I have my own nonprofit, and produce an event, which Vern challenged me and said, “You can’t make any money doing that. You are in academia.” I remember when he said that to me in my first year, I raised significant amounts of money for Make a Wish. Then I did it the second year, and the third year, and the fourth year, and I ended up with $96,000 that I gave to them, and said, “Well, I have too much else to do right now.” I still have the nonprofit. My other thing is making sure that every academic gets experience in producing their own events too, so that if you haven’t done already. Yeah, I have a PhD, but I can also produce events, Vern. Just like you. Just like you.


Vern: [inaudible 01:07:31] some money.


Will: That’s awesome. Wendy, do you have any suggestions on how people you are saying, get out talk to people, do you have any suggestions on how you recommend for people to get out there and talk to people? Are you hopping on LinkedIn?


Wendy: No, I’m going visiting-


Will: Oh, go to their event.


Wendy: I’m visiting other events, and I’m doing things that way, no, I don’t even use LinkedIn much. It’s just not my thing to do that, I can use it, but I like to go when I’m in an event, I like to go and speak to the people putting it on. Then find out who some of them are, and then email with them, and do stuff that way. I like the people approach. [inaudible 01:12:59] here. What?


Will: I was just saying you look for the people with the ear piece, and then you track them down.


Wendy: Sort of, yeah.


Will: Awesome, awesome. Last but not least, Vern, what resources do you have for everyone?


Vern: Okay, so really two things that I want to talk about. One real quickly though, is people in this industry don’t know what great experience is about. What I discovered is the way you find out is by observing people. One thing that I see some event people have, but not everyone, and I would encourage them all to have, is a journal. If you’ve got the journal, just an old-fashioned, write in the book journal, you carry it with you, when you are observing things, when you are seeing what is going on. You write it down, you’ve got it, it’s there, it’s easy to find. You do that, and it really helps you understand what people are doing. If you are walking around the event observing people, as almost like taking notes when you are doing ethnography.


That’s one thing that really helps. The other thing is a real common thing I guess, but I didn’t realize how important it was until I got here at High Point, in the communications school, and that’s LinkedIn. We actually require all students to have a LinkedIn account, and in our senior seminars we actually work with them to make sure they are professional, that they have some good examples of their work on there. I’ve had one graduate so far, and she got her job directly from LinkedIn. Where you can find jobs on LinkedIn, and they loved her website, they brought her in to interview. She was there. Sometimes it’s been out there for a long time, but it’s so valuable in this field, especially if you are a student, and you want to let people know who you are. Everyone looks for you online, LinkedIn is a great way to tell them who you are.


Will: Awesome.


Wendy: Will, along those lines, I keep a list of probably close to 1000 students now who have been in my classes, and so I have lots of people who are emailing into me, I have this opportunity for your students. I literally get hundreds of that.


Will: Guilty.


Wendy: Right. I ask those who are alums on there to keep in touch with me, and let me know what they’re doing, and let me know when they have opportunities for students, so I get a lot of emails from those who I have taught, and now are sharing where it’s gone from there, and that happens constantly, and that’s a nice way to keep up, and keep in touch, and it’s a good thing.


Will: I love it, I love it. I’m definitely guilty of emailing you whenever we have new jobs that [inaudible 01:15:49], so I apologize.


Wendy: I love it, hey.


Will: Awesome, awesome. Well, we have definitely gone over time, so I want to give a shout out to all the people attending, watching live, who have stuck through the entire hour and 15 minutes, 20 minutes that we have been chatting now. It is just so awesome to have you guys here. Again, I think we are going to definitely do a part two, because there was just so much we didn’t even uncover, or talk about. Just super exciting. I want to give a huge round of applause, and huge thank you to our amazing guests that we have today. Big shout out. Thank you guys. So, for all you guys tuned in right now, definitely tune in next week, we have an amazing episode, and I’m not going to give way just as usual, I don’t give away what is going on next week, because it is constantly having the best episodes we’ve ever had, and I feel like every episode is the best episodes we’ve ever had.


Tune in next week, 5 PM, Eastern until 6 PM Eastern, #eventicons. Also, if you didn’t know, we live tweet this entire show, so if you loved what we talked about, and you want to keep talking to everyone that is watching right now, and the people who are going to watch the recording, well, then you can definitely do that. Just hop on twitter and search #eventicons, and continue the conversation on there. Super-duper exciting. If you happen to be watching a recording, join us live next week. It’s definitely a completely different show when you get to ask the questions and interact with the guests live versus just watching a recording. We would love to have you there. All right guys, we’ve gone way over time, so I want to make sure that you guys can get on with the rest of your weeks, and we will see you guys all next week on #eventicons. Thank you guys all very much, and have an awesome day.


Wendy: Bye.


James: Bye.


New call-to-action

Will Curran

Author Will Curran

Information junkie, energetic, and work-a-holic are just some of the words we can use to describe Will Curran. Aside from spending 20 out of 24 hours a day working as the Chief Event Einstein of Endless Events, you can catch Will ordering a chai latte or watching The Flash with his cats. He is also well known for his love of all things pretzels.

More posts by Will Curran
Share via
Send this to a friend