How can an event professional get a seat at the table?

Any event professional is aware of the fact that we do not have much influence (yet) in the decision process of a company. However, I believe that it is possible to change this, to an extent. In a previous post I mentioned how events are becoming more strategic, and that ROI measurement is gaining momentum. All of these should bring us closer to being taken more seriously by the decision makers of the company.

Today I would like to shed some light on this from another perspective. I recently came across an article from a business newspaper about the increasing influence of finance directors at the board table. According to the Global CFO Study of 2010, by IBM, 70% of the financial directors take part in the relevant decisions within large companies.
When reading this article I began to wonder: what can we learn from this and how can we apply it to the events industry? It is obvious that this fact has been mainly prompted by the economic recession, resulting in companies having now different priorities. Nonetheless, I wanted to see if there are any practices that we could adopt.

And so here are my conclusions:
– The study says that the analytical skills are the ones transforming the financial sector in a more efficient one, and therefore driving its influence. Specifically, this sector has worked on standardizing processes and recruiting talented people with solid analytic and communication skills.
– That proving the ROI of events is becoming increasingly important is a no-brainer. And in this sense, it becomes clear to me that we need to increase the implementation of ROI measurement and do it using the same model, if we want to increase our credibility. As far as I know, there are currently 2 organizations working on this: the Event ROI Institute, and MeetingMetrics. On the other hand, the development of the ISO 20120 (to set a standard for sustainable meetings) is certainly good news too.
– Regarding the characteristics of the event professionals, it is also clear that communication skills are one of our best assets. However, event management degrees are relatively new, and the industry is still taking shape, which means current professionals might be lacking certain skills… Nevertheless, this problem might be sorted out soon, when cohorts of graduates enter the workforce. Another question is if the current curriculums of event management programmes cover the subjects that the industry needs, but that would be too off topic in this post!

The author sums up the essence of the article with this sentence: ‘Knowledge generates value’. Therefore, the more information we have, the better we can contribute to move our industry forward.
With this in mind, do you consider yourself a valuable asset? In which ways are you contributing to expand the knowledge of the events industry?

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