How to Build a High Performing Event Team

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Last months tribe guide was all about dishing out the secrets when it comes to selecting the best event tech suppliers...we wanted this months guide to be a continuation of that. Great event tech is nothing if you don’t have a spectacular team to help you bring it all together - so this month we’re exploring the elements that make up a high performing event team.

You know better than anyone what that week before the event can be like….hectic, right?! A well-curated and managed event team will ensure things go smoothly, the inevitable speed bumps will cause minimal disturbance and possibly the most important factor of all: You won’t lose your mind during the process!

Over the years we’ve seen them all. The good, bad and the ugly when it comes to event teams...here’s our learnings and recommendations. Enjoy!

 

Hybrid teams are the best kind of teams

It’s all very well having an event team that’s comprised of your staff, but we think the best teams are made up of staff and suppliers. Having a key contact from each of your event tech suppliers integrated into your team means communication will be more fluid and less will fall through the cracks. After all, your suppliers are experts in their field - you might as well lean on their knowledge to ensure your event team is well rounded and efficient, right?

Your individual event tech suppliers should also be expected to work together - particularly those that are providing software that needs to integrate or play nicely with another tool in your event tech stack. That’s where the Tribe comes in! Our role in the high performing event team is to ensure that comms between your supplies (our partners) is happening behind the scenes in preparation for a seamless deployment on the day.

 

Start with a good kickoff

 
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Bringing your team together on day one for a meaningful kick off will set the tone for your team and how they’re expected to work together for the duration of your project. Create an agenda and share it ahead of time, expect to assign responsibilities, and create a clear action item list so that you can finish the kickoff feeling like things are being handled and moving forward.

Tribe partner, EventOPS specialize in creating planning and logistics software for events. In their recent webinar: 5 reasons to #ditchthebinder in 2018 they dished out their secret acronym to help you keep on track when designing your kickoff: DAY ONE

D decide on team organization and responsibilities

A Align goals and objectives for all stakeholders

Y Yield Actionable Items

O Open communication for questions comments and concerns

N Navigate any difficult items before they become distractions

E Excite the team

 

Make information accessible

Even the strongest of teams start to crumble if information is not easily accessible. Keeping important information, contacts, and plans inside your head or in a paper-based binder creates a bottleneck that's only going to slow the process down and frustrate your staff.

Using software here can help enormously. It’s secure, automatically organized and is accessible on any device, anywhere at anytime. As the overseer of the event, this tip also gives you the added bonus of being able to have a clear birds-eye-view of your wider team and all the activities that are happening at any given time.

 

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

 
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Building your event team should be looked at as an investment for many events to come. All too often planners look at their team as a group that will dissipate at the end of your event when you should see them as an asset.

Over time your team will build experience, get to know one another (and you) and they’ll learn from mistakes and wins made in previous events. All of those good team vibes are difficult to recreate, only really establish themselves over time and will be the magic X factor that sets your team apart from the rest.

Still not convinced? Think of it this way: your favorite athlete has just joined a new team. The team is alright, but they don’t win finals in their first year together. Rather than clean the slate and join a new team they instead decide to stay together, double down and build on their experience in year 1 so that they can win in year 2. Now take that mentality and apply it to your events...hey presto, you’ve got a kickass event team!

 

Appoint leaders

You’ve probably heard the saying ‘too many chiefs, not enough Indians’ - Well that’s true for events as well. Flat teams where hierarchy doesn’t exist is great for morale, but there comes a time when it’s equally important to appoint leaders within your group to ensure the different pieces of the puzzle are looked after.

Onsite registration is one of those puzzle pieces where it can all too quickly become a nightmare. Perhaps the queues are too large for your reception staff to keep them moving through, your lanyards have gone missing, or the printers stopped working. Whatever it is, it’s a nightmare and you as the event manager deserves to have the peace of mind that you have your best guy or gal on it.

 

Balance

 
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Of course, those final few days leading up to your event are going to be huge and frantic - it’s just the nature of the job!  When deadlines are less stringent and you’ve got breathing room make sure you allow yourself, and your wider team to make the most of that time. Relaxing and taking the time to get some shut-eye will keep your staff sharp when it matters and will generally improve the overall mood of your high performing team.

For a little more on creating work-life balance, check out this helpful guide by our partners at Hubb - designed to help you keep stress at bay when it matters.

 

Make sure they’re firing when it matters

Just like any machine, there is going to be the chance of burn out if you push it to 100 continually. Making sure your event team are firing on all cylinders when it really matters will ensure you get the most bang for your buck, so to speak.

The lead up to your event can be intense, but so is the day of. Particularly for those of you that run events that go for several days or event weeks - giving your team some cool down time the day before your doors open might feel scary, but will ultimately keep your team performing at their best for longer and will be the difference between a good event, and an amazing one where your staff are commended for their excellent service and organization...we know which scenario we’d prefer!

Replay: The Evolution of Audience Engagement - Tools and techniques to keep your sessions interesting in 2018

Audience engagement technology has grown dramatically over the years. What was once an area ruled by event apps is now a tool box full to the brim with intuitive systems designed to help make your sessions more valuable, useful, and memorable. 

In the first event intelligence webinar of 2018 we're bringing in the experts from Glisser to walk us through the evolution of audience engagement technology and shed some light on how you can make adopting these tools a pain free process in 2018. 

Viewers can expect to learn: 

  • Where audience engagement technology started, and where it's heading in 2018 and beyond
  • How to get your clients on board and adopting audience engagement tech
  • How to take your sessions to the next level with tech and why your attendees will love you for it

Watch it on-demand now

The secret recipe to selecting the best event tech suppliers

 
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You’ve probably experienced a below average event tech supplier at least once...it sucks, right? It’s the unfortunate reality that as this industry continues to boom, more and more businesses will join the race - some will be amazing, some will just ‘tick the boxes’ and some will fail to hit the mark altogether.

As an event planner, options are great but too many is overwhelming...the last thing you want is to get a supplier that doesn’t deliver. So, to help make it a little bit easier to navigate, for this months Tribe guide we’re revealing our very own secret recipe to selecting the best event tech suppliers...yup, the one that we used when we created the Tribe!

Method to creating an event tech dream team

Add: Kickass people

It’s an interesting discussion, and one that we don’t think gets talked about enough. The reason we’re taking center stage is because this was one of the very reasons that inspired the creation of the Event Tech Tribe in the first place. Our founding partners collectively have years of experience as event planners themselves, and as managers running successful businesses that are each best-in-craft in their respective fields. Our people kickass, which by default means the events they touch also kickass.

When we recruit new Tribe members, our first criteria is the caliber of the leadership - and the acknowledgment by those leaders of the requirement to be truly collaborative, innovative and customer focused. We also expect our leaders to be ‘present’ - speaking at events, presenting webinars etc. When their reputation is on the line, we know they’ll be playing their A-game all the time. You should expect that of your partners too.

Add: Flexibility

Your event tech suppliers should know that no two events are the same. There’s no cookie-cutter approach to powering an event and any supplier that forces you into using tools that don’t work for you may not be the best partner for your events.

Like salt, this ingredient requires a fine balance. Too much flexibility and you’re event tech deployment will run away on you, not enough and your deployment will be plain and uninspired. You should be able to lean on your supplier for advice and guidance, but they should be able to spitball ideas and work with you to put your special flavor into it.

One thing that always gets our goat is event tech suppliers that lock their customers into multi-year contracts - how can they know how your events will evolve and be confident their tech will be the best fit? What if you have a terrible experience and you’re locked in?  Look for partners that put you first and give you the flexibility to choose.

Add: Experience

As we said earlier, our industry is continuing to grow, meaning more and more event tech suppliers are going to continue popping up. It’s a double-edged sword scenario: you get endless options when choosing your event tech, but the options may not always be all that good. The newcomers are often missing the all-important X-factor: Industry experience.

Our rule of thumb here is to look for experience when assessing vendors, in fact, it was one of the key elements we looked for when defining the best-in-craft philosophy and building the tribe. Experience can come in many shapes or forms: it could be longevity as a supplier in the industry, it could be experience as an event planner or in a field that is niche to your events. Whatever it is, do your research and use it to weigh up your options.

Looking for experience in a supplier will help you splice out the event tech cowboys. It’ll also mean you’re not only getting good tools, but you’re also getting access to a team with experience and industry knowledge who will be more primed to handle the sometimes unexpected hurdles that come with managing an event.

Getting a supplier that is run by people who genuinely know what it means to be an event planner is key - they understand the journey you’re on and know where to slot in to help make it a smoother ride. They know how to have fun along the way, and provide you with a calming presence when it’s the final hour and you’re about to lose your cool because a speaker just pulled out. They just get it. People that don’t get it are only going to get in the way of you delivering the very best event.

Add: Collaboration

Of course, any good event tech partnership needs to have this ingredient. For the Tribe, we believe that collaboration needs to happen between partners and directly with you. Many companies are pretty good when it comes to working and communicating, but unfortunately, we’ve seen all too often how siloed event tech suppliers can be. Sometimes it’s feature overlap that causes tension, or other times its development teams misaligned about just whose responsibility it is to complete that critical integration. Whatever it is, the lack of collaboration between partners is only going to hurt your events.

Unless you’re working with an all-in-one company chances are your suppliers will be somewhat disconnected from one another, leaving you to be the one that has to connect the dots, or architect the integrations - not ideal when you’ve got 101 other things to manage. That was why we started the Tribe! To turn the status quo on its head and get several different best-in-craft suppliers to join forces and ensure they were aligned at a technical level, and at the customer level, without forcing a one-solution-for-all on you.

Combine until it’s right for you.

So there you have it, our recipe for creating an event tech dream team...after all, we should know a thing or two, right?

Possibly the most surprising thing is that although the actual tech is important, we think the most special and hard-to-come-by ingredients involve people and their business style...it really is the difference between a good deployment and a fabulous partnership that will see you well for years to come. I don’t know about you, but we know which option we’d prefer!

Event Tech Tribe expands its offering with venue booking tool

Event technology collaborative, The Event Tech Tribe is kicking off the New Year with an announcement that their family of best-in-craft event tech suppliers has grown. Venue booking software, Meetingselect is to become the seventh member of the Tribe, which has seen a huge surge in popularity over the past 12 months as a result of their unique approach to the event technology ecosystem, recently being named one of the Top 10 Meetings Innovations of the Year.

Established in 2007, Meetingselect is currently recognised as the world's largest independent meetings distribution system and online venue booking tool. The Netherlands based company will be integrating with all existing Tribe products as a part of the expanding suite of integrated solutions offered. Says Mike Piddock, Tribe leader of Glisser, with offices in the US and London, “Adding another European based Tribe partner strengthens our reach and connection to the global industry”, “It’s important to us that we serve planners and marketers wherever they are in the world and so look forward to showcasing Meetingselect - and all our team - at IMEX Frankfurt this year”

The award winning venue booking software certainly meets the ‘best-in-craft’ standard required to join the Tribe. Not only have they received numerous awards recognising them technically but their people also personify the best-in-craft philosophy. “Of course we’re 100% committed to creating the newest technology in our niche, but we spend a great deal of time building deep relationships and direct connections with our venue partners getting the best response times in the market,” explained Meetingselect co-founder, Judith Huisman, who is listed as the number 1 female entrepreneur in the Deloitte fast50 alongside her co-founder Anouk Roohé, and was nominated as EY Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year 2017. “Our long history in the hospitality industry means we understand planner and marketer requirements innately, and love to help them solve what’s typically their first challenge, sourcing the best venue!”.

The Event Tech Tribe soared in popularity throughout 2017 as a result of its unique balance of independence and collaboration. Now working with over 500 customers, they carefully curate applications to join the Tribe ‘family’ to ensure the experience for planners is optimum. “Building everything and trying to be all things to all people is not the future of software in general,”  explained founding Tribe leader, Leonora Valvo of Swoogo. “We’ve always felt that planners shouldn’t have to compromise on tech just to get systems that work well together - or navigate complex platforms to create integrations themselves. Having a world class venue booking tool like Meetingselect in our tech stack further rounds out the offer for planners wanting options outside of the old school all-in-one tools,” continued Valvo.

Replay: 5 reasons to #ditchthebinder in 2018

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Webinar replay

There are many great things on the horizon for the event industry in 2018. Continuing to use clipboard and binders is not one of those things! In this on-demand webinar our friends and partners at EventOPS will be diving deep into the future of event tech and help you prepare for life in the industry as we leave the era of Excel.

In this on-demand webinar, you can expect to learn:

  • How to find hours of extra time you didn’t know were there

  • What the golf industry can teach us about extreme event project planning

  • Simple ways to involve and inspire your team to love planning as much as you do

  • Easy ways to wean off excel and why your boss will love you for it

  • The art of the start - the ultimate kick off process for the best laid plans for events in 2018

  • How to use your plan to make great decisions

Watch it on-demand now