Lindsay Taylor is Director of Executive Training and Coaching organisation Your Excellency Limited and a multi-award winning author, trainer and coach. A former EA with a passion for raising the profile of EAs, PAs and Administrative Professionals Lindsay is renowned for her high-energy, fun and practical training sessions that provide instantly useable skills and learning for the busy Executive PA. meetingsclub is delighted to feature Lindsay’s Event Model a great practical tool for anyone asked to organise a conference, meeting or event.
For many of you reading this, an integral part of your job is to organise and run events. Whilst I know that you will have existing tried-and-tested procedures in place, I’d like to introduce you to the EVENT Model to supplement and complement your current working practices.
Using effective questioning and creative visualisation, the EVENT Model step-by-step technique will promote a robust consideration of how you can organise and run events that are a true success.
“Failing to plan is planning to fail”
The foundations of the EVENT Model are rooted in the belief that ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ – a saying I’m sure we’ve all heard before. But how often do we live by this saying? How often do we ignore it, park it to one side and rush into ‘doing’? With increased pressure on our time it might feel like we are ‘wasting’ our time by sitting and thinking. And by ‘jumping straight in’ and doing something physical (rather than mental) we have tangible evidence that we are indeed undertaking the project. However, by leaving out the planning (mental) part of organising and running events – failing to plan – you could indeed be planning to fail.
Before organising or running any event, putting aside time for quality thinking, asking great questions and putting into practice creative visualisation, ensures that every event you organise and run can – and WILL – be a success. This is where the EVENT Model comes in.
EFFECTIVE OUTCOME THINKING – (aka The Tigger Bit: Identify what you WILL do)
In every and any situation you must have clarity of your Outcome – what is it that you need and want to achieve? Use motivational “Towards thinking” and language to ensure effective outcome thinking and resulting forward movement and energy.
I call this “Tigger Thinking” because the character in A A Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories is a perfect analogy for being able to identify what you “WILL” do and what you “WILL” achieve – with energy, bounce and motivation. The words we use have an enormous impact on motivation, energy and “gain”.
VISUALISE IT – aka The Tardis Bit
Now hone in on your outcome. Ask yourself some insightful questions. If you’ve identified your outcome is to run a successful event:
- What does a successful event mean to me?
- What does a successful event mean to my Executive, my team or my client?
- What is the measure of this successful event? Is there a figure or number associated with it?
- What is the purpose of the event?
- Have you or someone else run this event before? If so, what do you or they know already works well?
- What can you learn from previous event(s)?
- What open and honest feedback would you give about previous event(s)?
- If the previous event(s) was a success, what would make it even better?
- What things will you repeat and replicate? Do more of? Less of? Take out? Include or introduce?
Now use creative visualisation. This is simply the technique of imagining what you want by using all of your senses – it creates a ‘future memory’ as a reference point for your mind to work to. I also like to think of this stage of the model as entering your own Tardis to do a bit of ‘Dr Who time travel’.
So, imagine you can travel forward in time in your very own Tardis. It is the end of the successful event which you have organised and run
- What can you see happening around you?
- What tells you this event has been a great success?
- What are you saying to yourself?
- What are others saying to you?
- How do you feel now this event is over and has been so successful?
- How are you being congratulated or congratulating yourself for a job well done?
EXPLAIN WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” Albert Einstein
Next let’s consider what the event is all about. If you were able to articulate to a complete stranger what this event is, what would you tell them? If you could write a press release explaining what this event is, what would you write? Be sure to ask yourself:
- Who is involved?
- Who will be invited to this event?
- When is it taking place?
- If a date hasn’t been set – what possible dates are there?
- What do you need to do to get the ball rolling on fixing a date?
- Where is it taking place? If a venue hasn’t been set, what are the possibilities?
- What do you need to do to get the ball rolling on fixing a venue?
What do you need to organise and run this successful event? We’ve already identified that your time is precious, so if you need assistance, can you delegate some of the organisation and running of this event to another team member? Who? Be clear about the expectations and allocation of different tasks to other team members.
- How are you going to need to be to achieve this – for example organised, focused, motivated? Very often we focus on the “external resources” and needs and fail to identify the “internal resources” and your own needs.
- How does organising and running this event fit with you at the moment?
- What kind of things do you think you will come up against?
- How are you going to overcome these?
TAKE THE FIRST STEP – aka The Tigger and Tardis combo!
Now identify the very first step you can and will take to achieve this successful event. This is something you can do in the next 24 hours. State your first step in Tigger-language – for example ‘I will (the thing you are going to do) by (insert tomorrow’s date)’ and say it out loud. Jump into your Tardis, step forward in time and imagine you have taken this first step:
- What can you see happening around you?
- What can you hear?
- How are you feeling now you have taken this first step?
And that’s it! You’ve spent some quality thinking time considering all the things that go into making sure the event you organise and run is a huge success. You’ve answered some great questions. You’ve used Tigger thinking and Tardis time travel. You’ve implemented the EVENT Model – a simple step-by-step technique to complement your current working practices.
Which leaves me to wish you many successful events!
You can read more about Lindsay and Your Excellency’s learning and development solutions including accredited PA training and qualifications by clicking on the link below: