Event Reinvention: Playing Smarter Not Harder

Posted on February 2, 2024

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By Jesse W. McDaniel 

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating the perfect event. As far as industry standards go, a successful approach for one organization doesn’t always guarantee immediate success for another. Here at Event 360, we understand that there’s always room for improvement. From season to season and event to event, we know that evolution keeps us at the top of our game, as we find progressive ways to act more efficiently and creatively. Remaining open to new ideas and approaches breeds innovation, so we relish the moments that offer us the opportunity to explore and iterate.  

We take pride in being in the business of people, but in an increasingly cyber world, we know that people need tech to do what they do. Gone are the days when email was enough to keep every plate spinning. System audits have allowed us to discover digital tools like MyMaps and Ride with GPS, which revolutionize how we both chart and track routes, whether it’s for a 5K or a bike ride.  

When it comes to project management, we rely on software, whether it’s Smartsheet, Asana, or Monday.com to map progress, organize next steps, and assign tasks. This has proven invaluable as our team has expanded and our number of events has grown. (If you missed it, see Patrick’s project management blog here!)  

To develop and maintain client connections, establishing affiliate calls simultaneously offers clients a seat at the event-planning table, while also establishing a clear, ongoing channel of communication. And although emails can be great when there are multiple parties involved or to keep a record of conversations, phone calls are effective in their own way and often provide a personal touch. Establishing text threads and posts in Microsoft Teams also provides a communal space to ask questions, provide recommendations and offer help.  

As amazing as all of the advances are, offline approaches are often non-negotiable. Even with the most detailed Google Street View, sometimes you don’t know how your event will really look until you’ve got your boots on the ground. For both our new Event 360 team members and those who’ve been here over 20 years, taking a moment to investigate our sites can make all the difference as we take note of undisclosed park structures, troublesome tree roots and other surprises. Knowing the lay of the land as a set standard not only benefits us as we familiarize ourselves with environments all over the country, but also equips us with the knowledge needed to assist everyone from vendors to participants to passersby in the likely event that they ask us for help navigating.  

Despite our host of meticulous planning instincts, event pros know that last-minute necessities often come knocking, which means that preparing the psyche is another must. At the end of a long day, simply factoring in the possibility of one more Walmart run or Home Depot visit can spare you mental exhaustion when your timeline for that hot shower or soft bed is pushed back a bit. This readiness extends beyond inventory stocking to programmatic changes, attendee requests, and emergencies. Expecting the best but preparing for the worst is a solid on-event philosophy that has certainly softened a blow or two. (Read more about that here.) 

Ultimately, reinvigorating your approach to work is an individual journey. Tapping into your personalized arsenal means recognizing what works for you, specifically. For some, the rush of checking off a physical to-do list suits their needs. Others wrap up their workday by sending items to tackle first thing the next morning. For some people, Microsoft’s suite of offerings is all that they need to best reach their accomplishments. Others are constantly hungry to try out the latest and greatest trends (ChatGPT, anyone?)  

Being unafraid to try new things is necessary when it comes to pushing boundaries. But the instinct to stop and ask, “Why fix what’s not broken?” is a form of wisdom too. Whatever your breakthrough looks like, pause to stop and assess what’s not working, what is working, and what could work better. And since no one is an island, check in with your colleagues as you move forward. It can be tricky to adjust to new ways of doing things, but if you’re like us, eventually you may look back with a knowing gaze and wonder why you didn’t start playing smarter, not harder, so much sooner. 

Jesse W. McDaniel

Jesse joined the Event 360 team in 2021 following a career in the worlds of editing, development, and fundraising. As Creative Services Coordinator he tackles everything from communications trafficking and project management, to copywriting and overseeing niche deliverables. A jack of all trades, master of none (…ok, maybe two or three), his favorite experiences allow him to wordsmith or make meaningful connections with our amazing participants. When he’s not city-hopping during event season, he enjoys composing music, penning nonfiction, traveling, and spending time with a good book.


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