The fact that I can hear Christmas music and the German market has set-up camp right outside Think Different Events HQ means winter is finally upon us and I hardly even noticed it creeping in as the past few months have been very busy.
The end of October seen us reach the end of 5 ministerial events that we were organising on behalf of the Scottish Government. The events were for all primary and nursery head teachers and pre-school managers in Scotland. The first event was in Inverness which was followed by Edinburgh, Kilmarnock, Glasgow and finally Aberdeen. All five events were held within 3 weeks so the office got quite manic at times as the turnaround time was pretty short. Thankfully I had my good friend Claire on board who worked her magic and helped me to sort badges. If you have never done badges before, don’t laugh…it may sound like an easy task but I can assure you it’s not. The word temperamental springs to mind!!
There were over 1300 delegates across the five events and as well as making sure every delegate had a badge, they also needed a delegate pack. Again this may sound like a simple task…it’s not so easy when the only access to your office is via a very steep staircase! We had to pack up Jacky’s car for each event and this entailed carrying numerous boxes down the stairs and unfortunately back up them again! It was definitely a test of fitness at times!
Being based in Glasgow is an obvious advantage, I often spend much of my lunch break out browsing in the shops. However, in order to be at each venue by 8am meant that there would be a few nights away from home…..que Claire and Jill “Jacky…can we have a twin room please??” We stayed in Inverness, Edinburgh, Kilmarnock and Aberdeen and I must admit that it felt like a treat as all the accommodation and food was excellent (the wine wasn’t bad either!) I must also mention that the taxi service we used to get to each city was very professional apart from the choice of music! So a special word of thanks goes out to Jacky’s taxis!
Once all five conferences had come to an end, the job was far from over. The next couple of weeks were spent typing up and analyzing evaluations. As I mentioned, there was over 1300 delegates in total so it took a considerable amount of time. People perceive working in events as a “glamorous” job and often don’t realise all the nitty gritty jobs you have to do to make the event come together.
After the wash-up of the Curriculum for Excellence events, I had a wee bit on time on my hands to do other things. The first task I tackled was my desk!! I’ll admit, the one thing that I don’t do very often is tidy my desk. My pile (or piles) of filing tend to get bigger and bigger that I nearly can’t see the wonderful faces of those in the office! After completing all my filing, I attended several training courses.
Over the past couple of weeks I have attended two training courses through Business Gateway. The first course was on Customer Care and Service and the second was about the importance of Networking. I really enjoyed both these workshops and hope I get the chance to sign up for more in the future.
By attending the Customer Service course, I have realised the importance of keeping the business focused on customer needs and continually checking that these needs are being satisfied. I also realise that the customers experience is influenced by the service delivered and that it is important that action is taken to improve customer service at all times by all members of staff. The most memorable bit of information I took from the course was that dissatisfied customers tell on average 12 people while happy customers only tell an average of 3 people. Therefore it is vital to constantly provide a level of service which the customer would happily recommend to others.
My second course on Networking was my favourite of the two. I learnt more about the need for networking and more importantly I got tips on how to network. I was made aware that networking provides an opportunity to exchange ideas and information with other business owners from your area or in your sector, and often allows you to meet potential clients and business partners. Mixing with other business owners in this way is an important habit for every entrepreneur to adopt. It can be daunting for a beginner, but networking is a core business skill and brings many benefits. The most memorable bit of information I took away with me in regards to networking was the importance to start with a purpose. It does you no good to attend any networking function unless you define your objectives to know why you are there.
At this time, little did I know that my networking skills would be tested the following week!
Due to other commitments, Jacky was unable to attend the Business Tourism Conference, therefore I was sent on his behalf. More than 200 business tourism professionals were in attendance and the central theme for the day was “practical tips for thriving in the current economic climate”. During the day I had the choice of attending 2 seminars. I chose to go to a seminar that was focused on the green approach and how to make your business more sustainable and a seminar focused on how to work with customers with reduced budgets. I had a really enjoyable and informative day at the conference and was grateful for the opportunity to go along on Jacky’s behalf. I already have my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to go along again next year!!
A recent highlight for me has been the completion of a fire safety course. Not only was the training extremely valuable and enjoyable…I now have my first certificate up the wall beside my desk (it’s only taken me 9 months to get my name in a frame!) I am now an officially trained fire warden. Hopefully I will never have to put my training into use, but if I do, I will now know what to do.
So, as you can see, the past few months have been really busy here at Think Different Events. The biggest change was at the start of the month when Samantha joined the team as our administrative assistant. It’s quite nice to have someone sit at the desk opposite from me. Now when I look up, I can see Samantha instead of the back of Claire’s head!! If I was writing this blog tomorrow, the biggest change would be the look of the office…the Christmas decorations go up tomorrow much to Jacky’s annoyance!!
So on that note, I’m getting rather excited and I’m off to go and look out all the Christmas decorations from storage in preparation for the big switch on tomorrow!!
Holidays are coming, holidays are coming...