I am choosy about events
Well, I am easy-going in the sense that I will pitch up and help anywhere if I can, but I distinguish in my mind between events where I am just being obliging and events which I really enjoy.
Seeing events from the point of view of a participant
I’ve been asked about why I enjoy some events and I’ve tried to articulate the whole process of event participation – the flip side of events management.
When I am being choosy, I look for three things.
#1 When I look at myself in the mirror of the event, do I feel more vital and more alive? Do my dreams seem more full and more colourful? Do my dreams seem to belong and do I get the feeling that if I choose, I can make my dreams come true? So not all events are for everyone.
#2 Does the location, timing and pace of the event allow me to be relaxed and playful? Do ideas start connecting in unusual ways? Am I likely to end the day having made new connections that I could have made at home or at the office but won’t because it is too busy there? An event that doesn’t allow time to unwind will just be work.
#3 Was I able to be heard at the event? We often don’t know what we think until we hear ourselves aloud. Sometimes the simplest things aren’t getting done because we didn’t label the task out loud. Sometimes priorities have shifted and as soon as we say so out loud, our action plan is startlingly clear. When I hear other people, do their lives provide sufficient insight about my life that I get an “aha” experience. Actually, I am greedy. I want many “aha” experiences. I want to get an inkling that an idea is worth pursuing. And then I will pursue it away from the meetup – much richer for realising there are interesting possibilities in places that I had never thought to look.
What is likely to be part of an event that I really enjoy?
#1 Style. I am sensitive to chi and like to feel it flow.
#2 Good food. I don’t mind the style of cuisine and it can be very simple but I like it to be done well.
#3 Competence. I love listening to competent people and watching them work. I like mixing with competent people. I like admiring competent event managers. I cannot do what they do. But I watch them as happily as I will watch a Wimbledon Tennis Final.
#4 Voice. I want people to be able to speak up and be heard. It is hard to organize an event where everyone is heard. It is a big ask and I think it can only be done when all the other factors are in place.
#5 Connections. Surprising connections bring astonishing futures. The right people, who are interested in meeting each other and helping each other, generate possibilities we couldn’t imagine until we got together. We attend new events hoping this ingredient is there. We go back when it is right.
Creating atmosphere as a competency
Now, none of this is too hard, is it?
I jest. Creating a good atmosphere is the most mysterious of competences. Good Headmasters and Headmistresses do it. Good Presidents and Primeministers do it. And so do event managers.
Maybe this is the age of event management.