Here is a snap shot of the Practically Perfect PA questionnaire, which has now been filled in by almost 300 of our readers, it shows that one of the main functions of an assistant’s role continues to be events management.

As an executive assistant who has organised everything from the christmas party to our department away day and other things like Movember this comes as no surprise to me at all. Events will continue to be an arena in which assistants can showcase their core skills. We are supreme organisers and we are adept at making the impossible possible. However like many other areas within our role we are not trained event organisers.

I’ve written before about how events management is actually a profession with event organisers learning their skills and their trade full time over many years. Yet we are expected to be able to run events as well, if not better than the professionals! Typically we are expected to be competent at anything our managers ask us to do even if they aren’t so keen on offering us any training. Sound familiar?

I asked William Thomson from Gallus Events if there “was only one piece of advice you could give to assistants who have to manage events, what would it be” He said:
One of the main challenges everyone who organises events has is taking control and demonstrating that there is a process behind organising events. Too often we are given an event to organise but still have a whole host of people making suggestions, or undertaking actions that, how can I put it…doesn’t actually help

I know exactly what William means. With many of the events I’ve organised I’ve not had a budget or clear objectives. A venue has been dropped in my lap once I’ve agreed other parts of the event meaning I’ve had to go back to the beginning and start over! I said to William that this is just part and parcel of organising an event but he didn’t agree. He said he has something that would really help assistants avoid these typical traps. And it’s a simple diagram.

Nine steps to fantastic events

“I would advise every assistant to print this out and stick it to their desk. It covers every possible type of event. It is a simple and universal process that every event organiser can follow. It demonstrates that we have a clear and defined process and very importantly it can be used to show our managers why we do things (and subtly why they have to do things) in a certain order. Having this process on display has saved me hours, maybe days on particular events when I have had an over involved client”.

If only I had this to hand when organising some of my events! It looks like a very powerful tool and so simple to use. I can just picture saying to my boss “Sure, we can book the venue you want because it does look beautiful, but as you can see this is step four in my process. So if we can first look at the budget, the objectives and do a bit of research we can then get that venue!”. I have no doubt following this process will help assistants make not just the impossible possible but make it a great event for everyone.

Following the results of our questionnaire we have added a few event speakers to the Assist Conference. William will run a session with more tips and techniques for taking control of our events. Jonathan Bradshaw an internationally renowned speaker on meetings and events will wrap up the conference and Zoe Blackmore will talk about her move from a PA to heading up an events team at the Association of Online Publishers. Love or hate events it’s something that we have to stay on top of. Hopefully William’s nine steps as well as the other sessions our speakers will run at the Assist Conference will help us run better events.

You can subscribe to William’s event blogs on his website

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