17 July 2007

Corporate Events

Corporate events are great training venues to practice communication skills, troubleshooting and diplomatic skills (much like a 'call center' experience except that you have to think and decide fast in front of people), and update yourself of business trends, new technology and practices and establish good network base.

I got my early training in school when I joined an inter-school business association and later as a student member of an international convention services. It was pretty exciting and challenging because you get first-rate training plus you get paid too!

While I was busy managing a non-profit, self-support community art center, I updated my skills by joining corporate events as one of the staff. Leaders also need to experience being on the 'staff side'. This allows you to adopt a wider view of a situation whether it is administrative, operations, finance, marketing and management. You get to understand co-workers plight and use your experience for creative solutions. It is also one of the most resourceful ways to access excellent training with good international speakers without the big investment (read: very expensive conference or seminar fees).

However, since the organizers knew of my leadership position, I am always asked to manage a group mostly students (staff members who are college students but have no scheduled class during the event). I find the experience tiring but rewarding since I get the bonus of interacting with students and other professionals and learning new, (not necessarily effective) ways of doing things. The downside? You often don't get paid extra for the responsibility. But it is always rewarding and FUN. Also, I have built a good database of students (and corporate people!) willing to do 'staff work' even for just a day.