Generation Y – Managing The Workforce

Today’s workplace is a multi-generational one and a changing workforce is something that every employer encounters. Businesses seem to be more worried than before about managing different age groups. There are Baby Boomers, who ‘refuse to retire’; Generation Y, who are being treated better than the previous generations were; and Generation X, perfectly in the middle of it all. All these three generations have different working styles and expectations, and employers are working hard to keep everyone happy.

In the events industry, the different attitudes and knowledge might become an issue, if not managed properly. For example, as Generation Y has grown up with technology all around them, event veterans might not be able to catch up that quickly.

Truthfully, it is in every organisation’s interest to attract and motivate their Generation Y staff. Jamie Gutfreund, chief strategy officer for the Intelligence Group, has stated that by the year 2020, 86 million Millennials will be in the workforce – representing 40% of the United States workforce.

Us Millennials are often thought of as lazy, spoiled and with poor work ethic, but truth is, we know what we are bringing to the table. Technology has allowed us to multitask, therefore be more productive and find multiple ways to accomplish the tasks while being more effective.

So what do the Millennials want?


More flexible approach

The traditional 9-to-5 workday that Baby Boomers believe in is fading as a standard and Millennials believe that having freedom to choose where and when they want to work should be an option. Workplaces could be more flexible with the hours as long as the work gets done efficiently, and there should be a more relaxed – but still a thriving – atmosphere.

When it comes to events, 9-to-5 workday is not always the case, but a more flexible approach in clothing, for example, is important. Events as a creative field could encourage self expression within the industry, even in the offices. Black is a great colour and natural beauty is valued, but why not let people experiment with colours or let their makeup match their personalities (raccoon eyes are a bit much, though)?

It is not all about the money

MTV’s Gen Y study “No Collar Workers” has revealed that Millennials would “rather not have a job than a job they hate.” Millennials want to be passionate about their job, therefore loving what they do overpowers the salary. The study also reveals that 83%, which is the vast majority, wants their creativity to be valued, as this would make them more motivated and work harder. Generally speaking, Millennials want to be ensured that their opinions and insights matter, and that they have been heard.

Millennials are known as the most entrepreneurial generation yet, why not encourage talent and innovation and as a result, maximise an attendee’s experience at an event? After all, events are for people and we are here to create memories for them.


Millennials are known for wanting transparency as one of the characteristics in a leader. Generation Y is comfortable talking about everything in their personal lives, and this is seen as an approach that could be in business. The feeling of being a part of a community and as part of something exciting, in contrary to feeling as another brick in the wall, is important. Being able to listen to the organisational strategies will motivate us. Why organise an event or work in a business if you are not interested in the outcome?

As mentioned earlier, it is up to employers to make their multi-generational workforce feel as one. It may not happen overnight, but is important to meet all the needs of all employees.

Us Millennials believe in self-expression and want to feel valued in everything we do, because we do it with passion. It might take some more time to fully understand us, but the value of our attributes will be recognised soon.

* Image courtesy of Alexas Fotos at

Tech Trends Shaping the Future of Events

Technology has become the most useful thing to us in our generation. It controls how we operate and communicate on a daily basis. Job sectors rely heavily on technology to deliver and improve services where mistakes cannot happen, such as the event industry. Modern technology is moving faster than we are adapting to it and it will keep growing in ways never seen before.

Event professionals are constantly keeping an eye on the latest technology inventions and find ways to implement these the industry. Every year they try to forecast the inventions that will have the most impact, and I have chosen four trends that I think will be significant in shaping the future of events.


 Mobile Devices

Mobile devices provide numerous benefits to both event organisers and visitors. Creating an app that can be accessed via a mobile device gives event planners immediate access to attendee statistics before, during and after the event, and helps the attendees to get instant information about the event without having to carry paper programs, for example. In addition, using these apps would make the check-in process faster, resulting in more positive event experience for the guests.


 Another invention that would help the attendees to gain quick entrance is wearable technology. Mobile devices can do the same, but who would not want to keep up with the latest trends?

Wearable tech also enables event attendees to personalise their wristbands through RFID technology, and link their credit card information to their wristbands in order to pay for food and beverage on-site with a simple tap. Music festivals such as Lollapalooza (who have dropped the use of any hard tickets/PrintPasses) are already using these methods, and after having personally heard only positive feedback from the festival’s visitors, I am sure there will be a significant rise in the popularity of wearable tech soon.

The Big Data


‘Big Data’ is one of the most talked about topics in the event industry today. It is changing the competitive landscape and those who know how to take advantage of it are better aligned with customer needs. Event organisers are increasingly recognising the importance of collecting and analysing information from past events and building their own databases to carry out changes at future events.

“I think 2016 will be the year the events industry really begins to a handle on its data, and how powerful it is for justifying event ROI. Event tech that gathers data both during live events and presentations, will be a must have rather than a nice to have.”Mike Piddock, Founder & CEO at Glisser Interactive Presentation Software.

Many examples of the big data are obvious, such as the event app download rate, but The Rio Olympic Games are taking full advantage of the technology by gathering huge amounts of data from a variety of traffic and surveillance devices, active social networks and other data sources.

Augmented/Virtual Reality (AR/VR)

Virtual Reality is a relatively new form of technology at meetings and conferences that can change the future of events. Unique opportunities, such as enabling people to experience events from their couch are exciting, yet terrifying. Considering its rapid growth in music events, one cannot help but wonder – will face-to-face interaction eventually be replaced?

Considering the feedback from professionals, this is not something to be worried about as there is a lot of positive surrounding the innovation:

It enables users to be immersed in an environment that would otherwise be difficult to create, “ Oliver Richardson has said to Event Magazine.

 In the Expert Poll, Brandt Krueger, the owner of Event Technology Consulting, has stated:

 “I think VR and AR technology are going to start growing rapidly in the consumer market, so they’re naturally going to continue to spill over into meetings and events. VR technology is particularly compelling in a trade show context, where attendees are used to arriving at booths to receive demonstrations. We’ll also see an increase in VR/AR experiences as stations at events, much as we currently see photo booths, specialty drink bars, or other activity stations.”

Display technology might also become an important part of stage design and event décor. Projection technology and flat screens are less expensive, therefore it is expected for designers to start taking advantage of that soon enough.


Technology is constantly evolving and for us event managers it is interesting to see what the next big thing is, and how these can be used in our favour. It takes time to adapt with the newest innovations, but the event industry is starting to get the hang of it and is learning to maximise the benefits. There is some discussion about whether technology creating virtual reality will replace face-to-face interaction, yet overall it is found that us humans need to feel as part of a community, and only communication between other people can fulfil our emotions and desires. Technology will help to create new and exciting experiences, yet it will not take the most important part of events – and that is, human interaction.

*Image courtesy of

Event Volunteering – Valuable Experience In The Industry

Around 20 years have passed since event management became a recognised degree. There are a lot of event management professionals today that have been in the industry for decades, yet have an academic degree in something completely different. When attending conferences or having guest lecturers at University, a lot of successful event managers state that they wish they had the opportunity to study for the degree when they were younger, yet point out that the best way to get a real understanding of the industry is by putting yourself out there by volunteering or doing internships.

Most internships nowadays require at least some knowledge about the industry, therefore volunteering may be the best option for you to get a foot in the door.

How will event organisations benefit from you?

Event organisers are always on the lookout for volunteers to support their events and fulfil the organisations’ mission. Volunteers generate positive image to the community and bring new insights and energy to the workplace.

How will you benefit from them?

Firstly, volunteering is a lot of fun. Meeting new people that have the same interests as you is one step closer to achieving what you are aiming for – after all, networking is everything and there is no better way of gaining valuable connections in the industry. Remember, your first job (and subsequent jobs) are at stake.

Volunteering enables you to gain insight into different types of events. Sports events, music events, conferences – each one of them has something different to offer. You will learn something, unless you walk around with eyes closed at all times. Various volunteer roles will enable to see different organisational parts of events, and teach about the roles of paid employees. When building your CV, it will be valuable to have all kinds of roles to add on the paper.

You will develop skills such as communication, event organisation and customer service – all of which are vital in the industry, and having mastered them, you will appear more confident and employable.

A real-life example is Amy Stevens, an Events Coordinator at University of Sussex. Amy has a degree in Media Practice and Theory, but got a job in the event industry after having volunteered for different events. She says that the majority of her experience in the events field is based on volunteer positions.

Amy Stevens hesitates whether she would be more impressed by volunteer roles than paid work experience, yet recognises that paid roles at entry-levels in areas such as arts and the media are rare, and it might even be expected for new recruits to work for free for some time.

This raises another issue in the industry, as volunteers are mostly unpaid. It might be fine with people that volunteer for a day, but for those who take time off for several days, it can be a little disappointing, especially for people that are ready to move up in the industry and are on the lookout for paid roles. Volunteers should not be thought of as ‘free help’ but more as an extension of paid staff to bring in new energy and ideas. The least that can be done is covering travel expenses and refreshments.

From my own experience, I can say that volunteering at a variety of events has been very useful and given me insight into the behind-the-scenes of the industry. I have met some wonderful people that I still keep in touch with, and roles such as seat filling at awards shows – as ridiculous at it may sound – have taught me a lot about managing events.

I am confident that the experience I have gained from volunteering has broadened my knowledge about the event industry and is something my future employers could value. I am a firm believer that university gives us the right tools, but we are in charge of putting them to work ourselves. After all, no one is going to hand us a job after graduation, if we have not worked for it.

From slide-reading to lecturing: personal experience

Presentation skills and public speaking skills are very useful in many aspects of work and life, and developing an ability to speak to an audience is one of the greatest transferrable skills you can derive from the time in higher education.

As a part of my event management course this year, I had to deliver a 50-minute workshop on a chosen contemporary issue in the events industry. As someone with a keen interest in marketing, the decision to join the “Marketing to event customers” group came easy. Our group wanted the audience to develop an understanding of different forms of marketing, the key to successful event marketing and what is expected in marketing today.


Delivering a workshop is more complex than it might seem at first, and takes a lot of time and creativity to prepare. No one wants their audience to leave the workshop without feeling like they have wasted their time, and no one wants to feel as if they had not accomplished what was expected from them. Therefore, I would like to share five tips that will help you in delivering a memorable workshop, and reflect on my own experience.

  1. Start with the end in mind

Ann Smith suggests setting goals at the beginning of the workshop to ensure that the workshop accomplishes what you want. In this way it is easy to limit the topic and determine key understandings you want people to leave feeling. Also, your audience will know what to expect.

Our group developed a clear set of workshop objectives and the research we presented was found interesting. We split our topic into four key concepts, used case studies to apply the learning, and at the end, structured a quiz with relevant questions to ensure the audience had met the learning outcomes.

  1. Be organised and communicate that organisation

An area that we could have improved was the logical construction of our workshop, which had been a little insufficient. While the content of the presentation was interesting, we had trouble explaining the contemporary issues we were focusing on, for example, part way through our presentation, we started to alternate between marketing for events and using events as a marketing communications tool.

In order to avoid the mistake that we made, a veteran workshop presenter Doug Johnson has suggested to use the presentation’s key understandings as the organisational road map with each understanding building on the previous one. He suggests reviewing the previous understanding before moving to the next one and has created a graphic example to support it:


  1. Use visual aids

As been written in “Presentation Skills for Students”, audiences are used to seeing visual material during almost any presentation. This helps them to memorise the information better and make the learning experience more interesting. This time our group used Prezi instead of PowerPoint, and showed a couple of videos to keep the presentation interesting.

  1. Engage all participants and keep the group focused

Another area we could have improved mentioned by our tutors was the fact that the first part of our presentation was lacking interaction, as some team members were quite nervous and read from their notes a little too much. This changed after the first 10-15 minutes, as we had planned more activities and felt more relaxed about asking our audience questions whilst presenting our parts. As Ann Smith has suggested, we tried to get everyone involved and encourage them to speak up, which we succeeded in.

  1. Manage your time!

To avoid finishing too early or running out of time,  our team had planned more activities than we thought was necessary. Rehearsing as a group before the workshop and timing everything is important, but bare in mind that you might end up talking faster than expected due to being nervous, or students might need extra time for discussing questions as a group. Luckily, our team was on top of our time management and the workshop did not last longer than exactly 50 minutes.

When looking back to my first presentation at university, I realised how much my presentation skills have improved. I still get nervous, but do not forget to breathe anymore, and turn all mishaps into jokes rather than start panicking. I have definitely learned how to engage with the audience and improved my communication skills and body language.

While this particular presentation may not have been my best one, I am confident that after three years of studying at university, future employers can trust me with my communication and teamwork skills and presenting in front of an audience.

* Image courtesy of Aechan at; Doug Johnson at