Ali Girard


What I Learned from Event Planning

I’m cringing as I write these words, but “hey, it’s been a while since I’ve written here.” For the last two months my site has joined the host of abandoned blogs across the Internet. My excuse is standard: I’ve been busy! However, today I read KC Claveria’s post on LinkedIn (“5 tips on how to find the time to blog“) and thought I would re-purpose my small chunk of Netflix time.

So, what’s been keeping me busy outside of my day job? Planning events! In the last three months I’ve helped plan and host IABC/BC’s Bronze Quill Awards Gala, a trip to Las Vegas, a bridal shower, and a wedding! Then I took a week-long rest in Osoyoos.

After having some time to relax, process, and drink some wine, I started to think about how the high-pressure environment that events create can be revealing. Emotions tend to run closer to the surface, and people show what’s most important to them (whether they intend to or not). But for all the work, frustration and tears that go into events, there’s an important reason why we do them again and again:

Public recognition is deeply meaningful.

The Bronze Quill Award Gala is about recognizing the success of IABC/BC Chapter members with their fellow members and colleagues. It’s essentially the Oscars of the communications industry in BC. As I watched the winners accept their awards, it struck me: this was a deeply meaningful moment for them. The kind of moment where you feel the emotion bubbling up in your stomach and you couldn’t wipe the grin of your face if you tried. It’s one thing to know that you’ve met the criteria to win an award, but it’s another thing completely to be applauded by your peers, and be congratulated with a handshake or a hug.

There’s a reason why ceremonies are so ingrained in our process of development – birthdays, convocations, weddings – they validate our journey. The decor, the food, the outfits are all secondary to the process of validation with the group of people who matter. Your industry peers validate your award; your family and friends validate your union in marriage. Recognition and celebration are meaningful acts in our professional and personal lives.

Do you have any examples of how to translate this process of validation to the workplace without it losing its impact? I feel like corporate blogs and “Employee of the Month” plaques don’t measure up. I would love to hear from you.

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