But whilst many individual event managers like the idea of staying versatile and flexible by being involved in a many different types of event projects, others find they have particular strengths and aptitudes for specific events or sector types and choose to specialise in a particular remit.
If this sounds like you, perhaps because you’re thinking of starting a career in event management, or because you’ve got some experience and now want to become an event expert, it can be useful to know how to start to specialise.
Looking at your own preferences is a good place to start. Finding you have a particular empathy or passion for a sector, such as charitable working, creates a ready-made remit from which to pursue a specialist area.
Similarly, you may have a personal ethos or preference which means there are sectors you really don’t want to be involved in, in the same way that some writers choose not to write within certain sectors or on certain topics. Knowing what you really don’t want can also help you to decide on the direction in which you want to take your event management talents.
However, even if your training and experience so far have helped you to create a “no way” list, it’s still important to …
If you’ve kept away from an area of event management because you think it’s not for you, it’s always worth challenging yourself to give it a go. For example, some event managers stick to known remits because they’re sure these are the areas they want to specialise in, without even trying other areas or aspects which could be much more suited to their skills, or could offer them new areas to explore.
A good example of this is within the children’s event sector – many younger event managers may not feel they are suited at all to this area but, once they have children themselves, may find that they are much more suited to these types of events. Testing your assumptions about your own capabilities and preferred areas of working from time to time could help you to find your event expertise in a very unexpected place!
It’s common for event professionals to find that they have a particular personality for given projects. Wedding planners are an example of specialist event planners who have the personal and professional aptitudes to focus on the varying aspects of event management as well as deliver the dream to a couple on their special day – whatever their exacting requirements for the event.
Alternatively, those with a passion for music find music events such as concerts, gigs and festivals to offer their ideal niche, whilst sports enthusiasts may consider sporting events and awards as their specialist area.
It might be that you’re undecided about being an event expert in a specific area because you don’t feel your skills are up to ‘expert’ standards. If that’s the case and you’ve identified which event remit you’d like to specialise in, there is plenty you can do to take your skills to the next level by:
Being a specialist can mean that you work largely freelance, with a variety of clients who seek to use your services in a specific location, for example in wedding planning. However, it’s possible to be employed as a specialist by an organisation, to work in their specific venue.
For example, hotels licensed to perform weddings may employ a dedicated wedding planner to work with their own customers. In this case, many of the aspects of wedding planning are dealt-with in-house, but you can expect to become the go-to person for advice and planning in marrying the needs of the clients with the facilities available at the hotel.
Another example might be if you want to specialise in education and training event management. In this case, you might seek opportunities as a corporate training event specialist, in which case you are likely to be employed by the company to work within or across their own venues.
Finally, even if you already have an event management qualification, but especially if you don’t, if you’re unsure whether to stay in general event management or to specialise in a particular area, it’s always worth taking a short-course in event management or additional training.
Additional training offers greater insight into types of event management projects, especially as this a fast-moving industry. With trends changing all the time, it’s possible to explore a new trend and find that you want to specialise in that area. Current examples of rising trends include the new role of digital interactivity as part of many event types and sectors, whilst the current trend for international events to be held in the UK makes it easy to see how, if you already have a flair for conference management, becoming fluent in an additional language or improving your technical competencies can make you a much sought after specialist within an area of existing expertise.
With the current growth in the event industry, there are plenty of opportunities to specialise and be successful, so why not ask yourself what sort of event expert you’d like to be?