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The social debate: what do people think when you tell them you work in events?

When you think of the ‘Events Industry’, what comes to mind? Or, more to the point, what do non-events people think you do when you tell them you “work in events”?

Franco de la Croix-Vaubois, founder, Event Organisers Network and co-founder, MEET South West

A standard answer I get is: “What like a wedding planner?” Typically I explain that I work in events, helping people and organisations plan their meetings, conference and events. Usual response is “sounds fun”.

Lizzy Dring, director, Right Angle Corporate

That we organise parties! People actually have no concept of what goes into events!

Ryan Curtis-Johnson Head of PR & marketing, DRPG

They tend to think it’s all party party party!

David Preston, CEO,

My mother thinks I fly to lots of nice places doing some sort of meeting. Many friends only get it if I add exhibitions to my description. If they’re not in a business which attends conferences, trying to actually describe the enormity of what constitutes an event and what it takes to organise one is really quite difficult. Imagine this: I worked on an in event for 70,000 people in Las Vegas for a week (AWS). If nothing else the budget was more than $100m!

Ben Cole, production, director, Some Bright Spark

There is a lot of expectation on two counts: that we just magic up private parties filled with countless celebrities (nope) and also that we jet around the world to glamorous locations and tour the sights (only partially true...if you work in events you tend to see a far less glamorous side to places!). What can be frustrating is that even today, with formal qualifications as a route into a well-established sector, the lack of public knowledge and understanding on what goes into events means that it’s still not seen in some circles as a ‘proper job’. Personally, I have no problem with that, I love that fact that it’s not a ‘proper job’, and all that that means!

Thomas Heiser, MD, Focal Point Event Management

Mostly people think just of the production side of the business. They rarely consider the strategy, stakeholder/project management etc that is actually the hard part!

Alessandra Porta, event sales, marketing and positioning

People think events are simply lying around, waiting for us to be organised.

Bradon Levalds, client services manager, SDI Marketing

Definitely they think throwing parties! I usually say “live events” to help explain it a little further because a lot of people don’t know how many different channels there are within events. Festivals, music, conferences, trade shows, experiential etc.