Before I started this internship, I didn’t even know Event Communications existed. As a marketing student however, I came into FLIRT ready to learn anything and everything I could about the industry. With that in mind, I wanted to sit down with four FLIRT employees to ask about some basic dos and don’ts in the field.
Everyone at FLIRT is a leader in their own way, however, it’s managing partners, Kari McGlinnen, VP Production, and Pete Burns, VP Creative, that lead the way with their decades worth of experience. Executive Producer/Assistant Production Manager Ellen Baker and Director of Business Development, Andy Flanagan are recent additions to the FLIRT team and bring a wealth of knowledge in their own right.
I asked each of them a few questions regarding the Events field. Here’s what they had to say:
What’s the biggest piece of advice you’d give to someone starting out in the events and communications industry?
Kari: Put yourself in a position to freelance. The event production industry is primarily freelance so keep networking, keep finding work; don’t stay still. In addition to that, you must learn how to write. Whether it’s for business emails or writing creatively, you need to communicate effectively for yourself and your client while also being able to express your creativity.
Andy: Learn to do anything and everything, even on the production side. Set up the screens, set up the sound systems and wrap up the cable. Do all the grunt work and get involved any way you can. Every step you take is a step towards building credibility and experience.
In the last decade, there have been many changes in technology and how people intake information, what is the most important change that you’ve seen?
Pete: It’s a way to keep the conversation going during and after the event and adds a new dimension to networking. It also gives us another way to extend our creative concepts and messages throughout the event.
Ellen: FLIRT always tries to mix every event with tech to make it more engaging. What’s changing between the audience and the producers is that the audience thinks everything with tech is instantaneous, whereas as we on the production side know very well it’s not. We mask all the little things that go into complimenting events with apps, polls, etc. so they don’t think about it. That’s the way the industry is shifting.
Time for a fun one: If you weren’t in this field, what would you be doing?
Kari: I’d be a writer. I have a blog right now that I’ve been working on for years. I write a lot about family and growing up.
Pete: I’d be a teacher or at least some kind of mentor. I think it’s important to work with kids and be a positive influence in their life.
Andy: Own a night club with a different themed show every week.
Ellen: I’d be shooting/directing travel documentaries for Discovery Channel.
According to the pros here at FLIRT, the Event Communications field is all about planning, but at the same time being ready for anything; listening intently, yet knowing when to speak; and, through hard work, finding the balance between satisfying execs and engaging their audience, both customers and employees alike. Through thinking creatively, intelligently and with the help of leaders like these, FLIRT does this in spades.
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