For over 20 years, I worked on Wall Street as a research analyst covering the electric utility industry. Sounds boring right? It was the opposite of boring. It was interesting, exciting and stimulating. I learned a thing or two about how to write, put together pointed presentations and to communicate effectively with clients. I also hosted numerous events over the years to market and support the firm I worked for and to build the client base.
Many of the things I learned working on Wall Street apply to event planning.
Here are a few:
-The Client is your number one priority and focus.
-What is important to the client is what is important to me. I will treat every event that I plan like it is my own. I will treat the clients with respect and with great care. Their event is the only event that matters. It is the same on Wall Street. Your clients are all you have. Without them, you are not going to be a success
-Listen to what is literally being said and extrapolating what is not being said. As a research analyst, when I was interviewing corporate management, it was really important to be able to ascertain the meaning of expressions and body language to determine what wasn’t being said. The same is true of all human communication. If you are planning an event, you want to make sure that you are listening to the client and making sure that you try to understand through what is being said and what is not being communicated verbally so that you can put together a meaningful event.
-Ask lots of questions so you truly understand what the client’s vision is. It was so important to ask lots of questions to get to the bottom of an industry issue or story. I believe this same premise is true for event planning. You better ask lots of questions so that you truly understand what the client’s vision is.
-It’s all in the details. It is imperative to be very thorough and check and recheck your work. I can’t tell you how many times I went over my writing and my presentations to be sure that there were no errors. We all need an editor. I learned to be very detail oriented. This will translate very well to event planning, where the client is counting on you to iron out every detail and make their event seamless and perfect.
-You better know how to multi-task. I am hoping that I have the opportunity to juggle many events at once. Multi-tasking is my specialty. When on Wall Street, I traveled over 100K miles a year visiting with companies and clients, kept a strict publishing schedule for my research, and kept the trading desk and the Salesforce up to date on any meaningful regulatory or company related situation that could impact the trading levels of a utility company’s corporate bonds. I also planned multiple dinners, conferences and events for clients throughout the year. I AM THE RIGHT PERSON TO COORDINATE YOUR EVENT!
-Dress for success. It is important to look the part as well. Make sure you are up on all the latest style trends. The same is true of event planning. What are the newest technological advances in corporate event planning that I could bring to the table? What trends in fashion translate to flowers, table settings, bridesmaid dresses or wedding fashion in general?
-Over communicate – I can never say enough about this. The secret to success is communication. Even if you believe that you have spoken to all relevant individuals about a topic, go over it again to be sure. This applies to event planning as well.
-Follow up, follow up and then follow up again.
-Put together a team that you know and that you trust. Make sure that the team you are working with are best in class. On Wall Street, this included working effectively with your research team, your publisher/editor, your trader and the Salesforce to produce the number one research team on Wall Street for the Electric Utility Industry. In event planning, this means developing the best network of best in class vendors from the venue, to the lighting, the décor, flowers, caterers and technological resources.
-Use the CC on your email often to make sure everyone is in the loop at all times. I can’t tell you how many times when I was working on Wall Street, that one person was left off the email, and as a result, the left hand didn’t know what the right was doing. It’s so simple now with the current state of technology to stay in the loop. I remember when I first started in the business, someone put this saying on my desk, “Who else needs to know what you just learned.” Inspiring!
-Put together a meaningful presentation that describes what you hear is the client’s vision.
-Keep up with technology and stay fresh. Social media just came into being in the last decade in a big way. Technology is constantly changing and the way that we communicate changes with it. I will continue to stay current so that the events that I am involved in have the newest technological advances as inspiration.
-Do what you are passionate about and success will follow. If this is true, which I believe it is, I should be very successful at event planning because I absolutely love doing it.