POP QUIZ TIME – answer yes or no:

  • has your phone stopped ringing as much, lately?
  • you want to reach your ideal client, but you’re not sure how to get in front of him/her.
  • looking ahead in 1-3 months, do you wish you had more events booked?
  • ever wonder how your competitor always seems to plan all the very best venue open houses in your city?
  • do you feel stuck on a hamster wheel, spinning round and round, working around the clock, desperately juggling it all?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, this week’s Empower Them task is absolutely MADE for you and your interns/apprentices.  It’s okay, thank me later.

Our “Empower Them” ideas are all about tasks you could delegate to your interns and apprentices that would enrich their learning experience during their internship.  They appreciate it when you give them responsibilities that challenge them, guidance all along in the project and help them gain tangible skills as a wedding planner.  So, here goes…

The Knot Magazine - Austin Market Mixer - planned by interns, led by Mary of The Simplifiers

The Knot Magazine – Austin Market Mixer – planned by interns, led by Mary of The Simplifiers; photo credit: Cory Ryan Photography

TASK: have your team plan a “junior event”

Now, wait a second…stay with me for a second.  I know what you’re thinking...”WHAT!!?!  We’re not going to just let an untrained intern plan an ENTIRE event for our firm!!?!”

Yup, you’re right.

Who would be silly enough to put an untrained person in front of a client?

You’re going to:
  • train them
  • give them the base tools
  • give them guidance and a safety net to fall back on, if and when they need advice

…and you’re gonna set them free.  Because you know as well as I do…there’s only so much you can read about event planning, eventually, you’ve just got to get your hands in it and DO IT.

So, here’s how to do it in five easy steps…

STEP ONE – determine the goal

Before deciding who the client is, determine what your firm wants to accomplish with this event.  For example, let’s say you’ve got a favorite venue in town that you love, love, love working at.  The staff are great, the venue is picturesque and the brides that book this space are always people you love working with.

Why not plan their next open house event?

#BOOM – drop the mic.

If your firm did self-produced events like this, you would be marketing directly to your ideal client, putting your firm’s name in front of new brides and working with vendors that are aligned with your style.

STEP TWO – determine the client

  • Make a list of your firm’s top 10 favorite venues in town. The ones you LOVE to work with.
  • Research when their last open house event was and how frequently they have ones – monthly or quarterly? Or have they not had one in a long, long time? (even better)
  • Who planned their last one? Did they do it in-house (i.e. planned by their venue coordinator or catering sales manager) or was it done by a local event planner?
  • Narrow the list down to your top 3 and then do the ASK.

STEP THREE – determine the date

Ideally, the event date should be in the last week of your team’s internship, as a final project that they work on together.  Also, try to give your team at least 6-8 weeks of planning time for best success.  Trust me on this.

STEP FOUR – determine a lead planner

We always recommend you hire 3-5 interns every semester.  Why?  So they not only have the chance to learn from you as their mentor but also work together as a team to learn from each other.   This is something a solo intern really misses out on.  So, among your interns this semester, who is the sharpest, brightest and most organized?  Take a vote as a team and you as the CEO have the final say who’s leading this project.

STEP FIVE – give them the tools and get out of the way.

The lead planner learns quickly that their job is more about people management than anything else.  Managing their fellow interns, the tasks assigned to them, the vendors (and how to handle non-responsive ones), the expectations and deadlines.  Be their guide but then step aside and let them lead.  If they make a mistake, let them fix it.  If one of their teammates drops a ball (and it’ll happen), let them course-correct it.  It’s an incredible learning opportunity and they’ll be covered under your company’s general liability insurance. (you do have insurance, right?)  Check-in on progress of the event at your weekly team meeting and give feedback where necessary.

what skills the apprentice learns:

  • people management

  • project management

  • event planning and design

  • vendor relations

  • working on a deadline – time management

When your team has created their own junior event, we’d love to see images from it!  Send us the URL when you blog about it by leaving a comment below!  We’d love to read all about them…

Looking for an online training solution that’ll help you become a better mentor and help your interns get the training they NEED?  Look no further…apply today to take part in the 6-week onboarding course with The Apprentice Program.  The training covers budgets, planning timelines, event design, sales & marketing and more…just $75/intern for 6-weeks access, valued at $2000.  Start the program any time, whenever works best for your firm!  Easy peasy, simple.

Apply today for the Fall 2015 semester!

Let’s do this.

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