Master of all
Corporate events can be a lot of different things. They can be informative, educational, and most of all, they can be fun.
But without an experienced event specialist at the helm, your corporate event won’t be much of anything.
We’ve covered event organizing a few times in the past, and one question that we’ve received many times is, “What is a corporate event specialist responsible for?”
The short answer to this popular question is, “Quite a lot.” But of course, we won’t be leaving it at that.
Current Artisan talked to a highly experienced professional corporate event specialist, Nathalie Woog, to learn more about what it really takes to put together a major corporate event that everyone will be raving about for years to come.
Woog studied at Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, where she learned how to utilize her natural sense of creativity in service of event organizing. She has since coordinated a large number of major corporate events right here in the USA, assuring that she finds compelling venues and entertainment for each one.
Here at the outset, we should say that this work is not for the faint of heart, and it’s certainly not for the disorganized. There are many, many different moving parts at any given time, and the work doesn’t stop when the event opens its doors, either.
You’ll have to handle catering, ticketing, entertainment, scheduling, and much much more.
For Woog, her work is made easier thanks to just how much she enjoys all the different aspects that it entails.
“Conceiving, producing, and artistically managing events is my job and passion. I skillfully choose the spaces, talents or speakers. Those that interest me are always the most promising. At each occasion I share my vision of events through my work.”
With Woog’s help, we’ll be taking a look at what corporate event specialists need to take care of and share some tips for how you can make sure that your event goes off without a hitch.
If you’re hoping to become a professional corporate event specialist, you’re going to need to be creative.
Many aspects have a direct connection to creativity (design, decoration, creative problem-solving), but you’ll soon find that just about every aspect of the job requires a certain amount of creative thinking.
For example, if you’re coordination an event at short notice, you might have to get creative about the venues available. Wait too long and many of the standard event spaces will probably be booked up. Being innovative and flexible about your choice of venue will not only help solve your immediate problem, but it will also lead to a string of other creative decisions about how you’re going to use that space.
Fortunately for Woog, she comes from a family of artists and musicians. Both of her parents are accomplished musicians in their own right, and she and her five siblings all play instruments as well.
Aside from encouraging a creative spirit, this continuing interest in the arts keeps Woog informed about some of the most exciting musicians and performers working today, many of which she has managed to book for events, including the likes of Gad Elmaleh, Bérengère Krief, Jérome Daran, Dany Boon, Donel Jacksman, Verino, Eric et Ramzy, Fary, Michael Guez, Jerome Sordillon, and Michael Levinas, among many others.
But when we asked Woog about her favorite parts of her work, she knew the answer right away.
“The most attractive aspects of event design and management for me are the search for original venues combined with the search for new innovative artists for a particular show, a combination that will make people talk about this event in the long term. I look at the whole picture in my head beforehand, then I gather some opinions, and then I use my intuition to find ways to bring those ideas to life.”
In this way, event organizing and management can be compared to filmmaking. When you’re the director, it’s your job to have a vision for every different aspect of the production. Similarly, Woog and other experienced event specialists need to have ideas for each event right from the start.
Yes, it’s possible and even likely that some of the specifics will need to change as the date draws closer, but having a clear idea of how you want everything to look and feel is going to give you a huge advantage.
So be creative! Don’t stop at the very first idea you have for an event. Keep looking and you’re sure to land on something even more exciting.
Choosing the entertainment
We’ve already touched on entertainment and Woog’s past experiences with finding energetic acts to dazzle crowds, but we wanted to know more about how she chooses a performer or group of performers for a specific event.
How can an event specialist know ahead of time how a specific performance will gel with a specific event and its attendees?
After all, the importance of entertainment at a corporate event can be extremely vital. For some, it may even be the determining factor for whether they will attend the event at all. It’s what gets a lot of people through the door so that they can enjoy all the other aspects of the event that you have so carefully designed.
While Woog believes strongly in the power of creative thinking, she also knows that there’s a certain skill that you can only get from working in the industry for a number of years.
“Expertise comes with time. Over my twenty years of experience in the event industry, I have had the opportunity to create, manage, and oversee more than one thousand prestigious corporate events. This expertise can only be achieved through hands-on-learning.”
If you’re just starting out with your event organizing career, try to keep this in mind. You can still find some great entertainment for your event, it’s just that, over time, you’ll make new inroads with the artistic community and have more options to choose from.
But overall, this highlights an important point: you shouldn’t expect to be an expert right out of the gate. It takes time to become an expert, and you’re bound to make a few mistakes along the way.
Rather than focusing on your past shortcomings, look at those moments as ways to learn something about yourself and your work.
One day you’ll be able to book the perfect entertainment for each event without wondering for days on end.
Choosing the venue
You can’t have an event without a space big enough to host all of your attendees, and it’s no surprise that booking a venue for each event can easily be one of the most challenging parts of the job.
Capacity is certainly near the top of the list, but beyond that, you’ll need to consider how a specific venue will affect the event overall.
Think of it this way: each venue, each room, has its own natural tone. The tone of a cathedral is solemn, and the tone of a small dive bar is grungy and casual.
This default tone can then be tweaked slightly with the help of decorations, lighting, table arrangements, etc.
As a professional at the top of her game, Woog has learned how to play around with spaces and even seek out venues that don’t typically host events.
“Choosing prestigious, mythical, or inaccessible places is my goal. One of my private events, held at the Grand Palais de Paris in 2008, for five thousand people, was just incredible because it was very difficult to imagine such a grandiose place transformed for a private reception. Another favorite event that I organized was held at the renowned Phenix Circus in Paris for two thousand people in 2015. These spaces really enhanced the events.”
Finding an interesting venue for your corporate event is a bit of a balancing act. Finding possible venues is one thing, but actually managing to book that venue is a different story entirely.
When it comes to the kinds of venues that Woog mentioned, ones that don’t typically host a lot of events, you’ll need to make the owners of those venues feel confident that you can handle the task at hand. You’ll need to show that you can respect the venue while also making it magical for your guests.
You might even want to talk to other event specialists to find new ideas. Some of them may be willing to share their contacts with each venue, making it that much easier for you to book a wonderful space that will make for a memorable event.
Once you’ve secured a venue, you can start to tackle the many other event elements in earnest. Choosing a venue narrows down caterers, limits your decorating options, and determines how you can arrange the different elements of your event.
Go forth and coordinate
This has been a cursory overview of what it takes to work as a corporate event specialist, and we hope that you have learned more about what it takes to pull off such large events.
Try to use creative thinking and problem-solving throughout the process, putting yourself in the shoes of the average guest. Start your work with a strong vision and do all you can to make that vision a reality.
So go forth and design. Create events that both you and your guests will remember for many years to come.