As I write this, thousands of kids have headed back to school, from junior kindergarten to PhD candidates. I have a new group of students in my post-graduate program, Festivals, Events & Conference Management at Centennial College. The fall course is Industry Relations. The goal: give students an insight into the world of professional meeting/event careers, to understand the variety out there, to introduce associations that can help them advance their careers, to ultimately find a job.
Do you remember when you first started? What were the myriad of questions you had? Well, times haven’t’ changed that much. So, here’s what I’d like each of you reading this to do when someone approaches you about getting into the business.
- Take the time to answer their questions. I bet they aren’t very different from the ones you had as you started out. If you can meet them for coffee, and email will do.
- Ask them to write out their questions. Easier for both of you.
- Have some of your own questions handy to throw into the mix that you know they will need the answers to.
- Encourage each to join an association in the business.
- Suggest they have a business card if they don’t.
- If you can, suggest others they can talk with.
- Don’t be afraid to lay out the negatives of our business. I wouldn’t like anyone to be surprised when they find out this isn’t a nine-to-five job!
Most importantly, remember what it was like when you were starting out. If you were lucky enough to have someone answer your questions, that’s great – continue the give back. If you weren’t that lucky, think of how much more equipped you might have been had you had someone talk with you.
Who knows, you may discover a gem in the process that, down the road, you will be able to hire. Or conversely, by helping someone out, you may someday find yourself getting a job from them. Stranger things have happened.