Why I Became an Event Planning Tutor (Part 2)
Follow up with our QC Event School tutor, Heather Vickery, on why she became an event planning tutor. Heather is the Owner and Event Director of Greatest Expectations Special Events and Weddings, one of Chicago’s most celebrated event planning and design firms.
If you missed Part 1, read it here!
My top tips for doing well with QC assignments are the same tips I suggest to all of my clients for a successful and happy life.
Treat me and everyone else (including your assignments) like we are paying clients
This means keeping a keen eye on sentence structure, spelling, and grammar. If this is not your jam, that’s okay but be sure to slow down, proofread your work and, if necessary, have someone else proofread it. It also means taking the time to get into the weeds with details, details, details!
I do not want to see things cut and pasted. I want my students to take the time to provide lots of specific detail. It is important for students to take time with the assignments and put a lot of thought into the work. Own the fact that you are the expert, even if it doesn’t feel like it just yet, because in these assignments you are the expert. Make bold suggestions and paint a full-bodied picture of what the event will look like.
Go out and meet people
With many of the QC assignments, students are asked to list vendors from their hometown (or another destination or location). This is a crucially important aspect of the coursework, as it is where you get out of your comfort zone and meet other wedding industry experts. That, my friends, is how you build a business.
No sale ever happens outside of a conversation. Once you build a solid team of “friendors” (vendors who are friends) you will have a referral base and a tribe of people to depend on. When things get tough and you need to call in a support team, these are the people that will help you. When you want to make sure your clients are well cared for, these are the people that will help you.
Nothing can replace your personal network. It is one of the things that makes you most valuable as a planner. Do not squander away this wonderful opportunity QC is providing by listing online or big-box retailers! Building your personal network should be your number one priority when setting up a new business and building a name for yourself.
Communicate with me
Communication is vitally important on every level. As a tutor and teacher, I can only assume that you will communicate with clients and vendors the way you communicate with me. How we do anything is how we do everything. There are a lot of different ways to communicate.
Setting boundaries and managing clients (and vendors) expectations are key. QC’s event courses are an introduction to event planning, but also into how to build a business. Personally, I work with each of my students to ensure that they are gaining all of these skills, not just learning how many tablecloths need to be ordered or how to handle an unruly wedding party.
Take this opportunity to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible – and trust me, it will pay off in the long run!
Do the optional assignments
Last but not least, throughout your QC course work there will be many opportunities for “optional” assignments. Listen to me – in the events industry, and in business ownership, you must be willing to be the first in and last out. You must be willing to go the extra mile and do that thing no one else wants to do.
I cannot tell you how many times my team and I have helped set water glasses or moved heavy things onsite at an event. Was this our job? No. But it was necessary for the success of the event.
As the planner, everything is your responsibility. Being willing to do these optional assignments shows your willingness to take the extra step. Equally as important, it allows you an opportunity to try something for the first time and learn from it. These assignments are often about business planning, research and setting up websites. We do not expect you to be experts at this but these are things you will be asked to do over and over again as business owners and professionals.
You may as well start now, as you have a soft landing and someone willing to help you grow and get better.
I learned how to be an amazing event planner by getting my hands dirty and through trial and error. While I support this as a learning method (because nothing replaces real-life experience), it would have been nice for someone to give me a playbook.
I hope each of you enjoys the hands that are reaching down the ladder helping you rise up and good luck in all that you do. We must never stop learning.