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Thoughts from Cuckoo HQ
May 14

5 Random But Key Skills All Event Managers Need

Being a good event manager isn't ALL in the planning. A LOT of it is in the doing and there are some things you'll find yourself doing more than most. Here are the first 5 random but key skills we reckon you need to be a good event manager.

You can have degrees and diplomas from some the best of colleges but as an event manager you're regularly going to run into situations where you're going to need some everyday skills. You're unlikely to find these in any event management text book.

It pays to be prepared. 

Here are the first 5 things I reckon you need to know to actually be of use ON events. 

#1. Hitching a trailer

Work in events long enough and you're going to need to do this. It's amazing how difficult some people can make a relatively simple task like hitching a trailer. That said, there are some tricks to it.

You should always try to have 2 people on hand when hitching a trailer. Some trailers can be extremely heavy and awkward to move by hand and it can take a few attempts to line it up with the vehicle. Always remember to remove the cap off the hitch (if there is one) and to attach the safety chain and power lead.

Oh, and of course let's not forget the the most common mistake. . . remember to take off the handbrake.

Upturned trailer

#2. Folding a speaker stand

This is a huge bugbear of mine as I regularly drop sound systems into venues and when I go to collect them the stands are longer than the Dublin Spire and are screwed so tight that it'd nearly need a welder to get them apart.

The concept is very simple - pull the legs up and put the top down. . . simple right?

#3. Wrapping cables

Similar to the speaker stand issue above, this one is actually pretty simple and yet getting it wrong can send you round the bend faster than you can imagine. Whether it's power, sound, or lighting cables, wrapping them properly after a gig will save either you or a colleague a serious amount of time when they're to be used next.

The majority of cables (up to 30 metres in length) should be wound into coils about the length of your arm. Start with the input side and wrap in a counter clockwise direction. Always use a cable tie or PVC tape to keep the cable wrapped.

Saves time and probably a bit of your sanity as well.

Tangled cables

#4. Jump starting a car

A few weeks ago I was working on an event at night and we had a number of people leave their lights on, completely draining their batteries. I was amazed how many people didn't know how to jump start car even though they had a set of jump leads.

A couple of key mistakes people make are connecting a positive to a negative (not only is that silly, but it’s also dangerous). A lot of people don't leave the donor car running and end up draining that battery too. Also, once you get the car started, remember to leave it running otherwise you’ll have to jump start it all over again.

#5. Setting up PowerPoint

I have lost count of the amount of times I've been at a conference or event where the presenter is cursing 'modern technology' and how it's not doing what it's supposed to. Generally that's not actually the case.

Modern technology works 99% of the time. It’s the person trying to use it that causes the issue.

Setting up a PowerPoint can be one of the simplest tasks an event manager faces but for some reason it can seem like one of the biggest challenges.

On the set up side, if the laptop is connected to the screen then pressing Fn and F5 on your computer will generally solve any issues you may have.

Technology is changing quickly and over the next few years Hdmi will replace VGA, interactive LED Screens will likely replace the projector and tablets will be the new remote controls.

Try to keep up with the changes!

PowerPoint has stopped working

The bottom line

These are all skills I have had to employ regularly while working on events. 

There are more too and we'll be following up with some more posts adding to the list. Remember, these are skills to make you the best event manager you can be when actually WORKING on an event. It's not all about the planning. You plan the doing. This is about the doing. 

If you've any you think should be on it then do let us know by leaving a comment below. 

Image credit: fotolia.com

Mags Connelly
May 23, 2014, 12:05 AM

1. Know how to make a good cuppa tea and always have jellies in reserve 2. Know how cable ties work correctly.....its one way folks 3. Have manners....you might be the event manager but you need your team to support you. Nice to be nice. 4. Be able to teach and guide....we cannot expect younger and less experienced event people to grow into fabulous event managers if we do not help them 5. Be a good listener (and hugger....if u know the person only!)

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