With the holidays upon us and a brand new year just beyond, this is a great time to pause, take in a little inspiration, and look ahead to what's possible in 2020.
You won’t have to work hard. The world of events is huge, with over 130,000 people working as planners in the U.S. That means there are plenty of communities to join and resources to tap in order to soak up new ideas. Here's a roundup of suggestions — including everything from podcasts to on-demand webinars.
Podcasts for Event Professionals
Whether driving, on a plane, or enduring a family holiday event, podcasts allow a little brain engagement and learning. And the world of events is filled with solid listening. Some offer interviews, while others feature discussion. All can present new ideas. Here are a few examples that grace the “best of” lists.
#EventIcons is a live podcast every Wednesday, featuring major names in the events industry. Take a look at its site for a schedule of upcoming episodes for the rest of the year and into 2020. Past guests include ReedPop, the creators and planners of New York Comic Con; Red Frog Events, the team behind Firefly Music Festival; and C2 Montreal and South By Southwest, named No. 1 and No. 3 most innovative meetings.
GatherGeeks is a regular podcast with news and trends that affect event marketing, strategy, and organization. It's created by the people at BizBash. They call it, “The destination for information, innovation, and inspiration for anyone involved in planning events and meetings.” Hours of listening are available, going back several years.
Event Tech Podcast is the premiere place for event profs to stay in the know about the latest and most innovative tech. Each week, hosts Brandt Krueger of Event Technology Consulting & Will Curran of Endless Events take listeners on a thought-provoking journey on how tech can evolve our industry, covering everything from productivity to data privacy.
IN-PERSON is a podcast series that tells the stories behind the world's most daring events and the people who make them happen. By events software company Bizzabo, the powerhouse guest list includes event professionals and leadership from LinkedIn, Twitter, Adobe, Cisco, IBM, and more. They cover everything from augmented reality to event ROI.
Eventful, hosted by Northstar Meetings Group listen, is a weekly podcast for listeners looking for insightful conversation about hot topics in the meetings and events industry. Tune in for interviews and analysis, with an editorial bent, on top-of-mind themes like reimagining conference centers, being more inclusive, and how to incentivize attendees.
Smart Reading for Hands-On Planners
Smart Meetings ‘Best of the Best’ Issue. Remember magazines? The holidays are a good time to relax and read. One solid bet for those who want ideas is the December issue of Smart Meetings magazine, which features their annual Best of the Best for 2019. It dives into the trends that shook 2019, experts speaking up about emerging opportunities, industry groups that are doing impactful charity work, and more.
Confessions of an Event Planner. There’s an entire canon of books on event planning, many of which come well recommended. Read through lists of the best and you’ll frequently find Confessions of an Event Planner, by Judy Allen. Based on real events, Confessions is a series of fictionalized case studies that illustrate what can go wrong — sometimes horribly, hilariously wrong — on site and how to cope. As Allen explains, the book was born of a stream of reader questions on how to handle situations “no one had prepared them for.”
TED Talks for Event Creatives
Every planner knows TED as a staple in the search for great speakers. But TED Talks can be useful in many ways, helping planners draw inspiration, think in different ways, and become more effective. Here are some examples.
On innovation and ideas. Author Steven Johnson explores how and "Where good ideas come from." His conclusions may surprise you. Drawing on examples from Darwin to the creation of modern GPS, Johnson asserts that the “eureka!” moment is often more myth than reality — and that many of the best ideas are nursed over longer periods of time. He also argues that innovative thinking often happens in groups, rather than isolation. As he puts it, “chance favors the connected mind.”
On teams and collaboration. In "How to turn a group of strangers into a team," business professor Amy Edmondson studies “teaming,” in which professionals are grouped together quickly, and often temporarily, in order to accomplish something important. Event planners, who work with different speakers, organizers, departments, and audiences, should relate easily. Edmondson explains the ingredients of successful teamwork efforts, with concepts like “situational humility” and “psychological safety.”
Webinars for Skill-Sharpening
Glen Justice is a content strategist and contributor to the WSB blog. He is the founder of Outside Voice, a custom content firm, and has been writing about advocacy in various forms for almost two decades.