As a part of assignment, we had to prepare a workshop in groups of 4-5 students about contemporary issues in event industry. Oxford Dictionary defines workshop as an activity that involves using intensive group discussion and improvisation in order to explore aspects of the production prior to formal staging. The topic I covered with my team was about Impact of Terrorism on Events Industry. Workshop delivery usually involves speaking up in an unfamiliar group. At the beginning, I was afraid and not optimistic about the workshop activity, as terrorism in general is a very sensitive and difficult topic to talk about among your friends, not to mention of speaking of it in front of a large group of students.
According to an article of Top Ten Secrets for a Successful Workshop by Dough Johnson, workshops should build basics understandings, teaching new key ideas and enabling practice of some useful skills. There were many information and research done in terms of terrorism in general, therefore it was not difficult to obtain a scope for our project. Nevertheless, little research was done in terms of events but mainly about tourism industry. Frankly speaking, our workshop was mainly focused on impacts of terrorism on tourism industry and unfortunately we did not mention the lack of sufficient and relevant research in events industry.
As the turning point in our process of preparing our workshop were the terrorist attacks in Paris a week before our workshop due date. This incident affected our work as we decided to include it in our project. Therefore, we had to modify it at last minute, so little time was left for us to actually rehearse our presentation. Rehearse your way to speaking success article reminds about the importance of practising presentation material, as it is a key to consistent performance.
What I have also learnt from this experience was:
1. Preparing workshop materials takes time.
Even though each of us had an assigned topic area, it still took a lot of time to actually do research and prepare relevant notes and material for the workshop. I realised that this is not a last-minute task to do, and a lot of focus is required. Sitesources suggests to give yourself enough time to prepare all activities without rushing, as some tasks require less time than other.
2. Team work affects your performance.
You can be the best team member in the world, but if your team is not engaged in the project, you are going to be disappointed with the overall outcome. Luckily, my team members acted very professional and were motivated to accomplish the project. During our hard times, they were ready to help me with bringing the positive atmosphere. Why is team work important? describes team work as a ‘’strength in unity’’ that can promote synergy, accomplishment and enthusiasm in common interest.
3. Expect the unexpected.
It refers to the moment when my group and I decided to change our approach and completely modified our project just near deadline. It gave me an insight into working under pressure and staying focused no matter what. Event industries seek for future event managers who are able to tackle with stress and are flexible to changes Top 5 qualities of the successful event manager (2008).
4. Use visual aids!
SkillsYouNeed outlines the importance of visual aids such as videos, handouts or whiteboards in presentations, as they can strengthen audience involvement. We used two forms of visual aids in our presentation like PowerPoint slides and videos that actually increased the audience attention. However, visual aids must be relevant to the topic in order to work well and videos cannot be long enough.
5. Don’t read notes.
I must say I am a terrible public speaker and I often get very stressed and tend to forget the words. Notes helped me with reminding about additional information I wanted to cover. However, Frank Carillo thinks that it is okay to have notes with you during your presentation as long as you do not read them as a script. It looks not professional to give a speech while having your nose in between your notes. It also reduces a chance of connecting with the audience. Therefore, a need for more practice is required, as a future event manager I will have to present plenty of pitches in front of potential clients.
Overall, this was a challenging and creative experience that made me realise that the quality of your presentation may be crucial during your business meetings while getting your potential clients in the future. Also, attending and running workshops can be a good opportunity in the event industry to forge strong connections by face-to-face networking. It gives event managers a chance to interact with potential clients and customers as well as to observe the competition and to learn from new visual cues. Additionally, producing my own workshops can boost my confidence and improve creativity (these traits are required from future event managers), that then can make me a better negotiator for contracts.