A good mentor can help put all the pieces of a career together — and keep them together
When I was just starting out as a journalist, I was lucky enough to have worked for an editor who was also a good mentor. The first time I handed in a 3,000-word feature story, I was initially deflated when he called me into his office to go over it. He had taken the hard copy of the story and cut it up into blocks of type of varying sizes. He saw that I was crest fallen and said, “No, it’s not that bad. You’ve got the pieces, they’re just not in the right order.” He then proceeded to pin them to a cork board in the proper order to turn them into an article. Along the way he explained to me why he put each piece where it was. When he was done he said to me: “Some day, you’re going to do this for a young writer who turns their first story in to you.”
He was right. Over the course of my career I’ve done that many times for writers who have needed a nudge in the right direction. Meeting and event planning is also a job that requires putting a diverse collection of pieces together in the right order to be successful. It’s actually a full time job. That can make it challenging for professionals to excel at it for whom planning is just one function of a larger job such as sales or marketing. Having a mentor can be incredibly valuable for both full- and part-time planners, across various stages of their careers. Here’s how:
Experienced Guidance: Mentors, with their years of experience in the industry, can provide valuable insights and guidance on navigating the complexities of meeting planning. They can share tips and tricks on everything from budget management and venue selection to logistics and vendor negotiation.
Staying Up-to-Date: The event industry is constantly evolving with new trends and technologies emerging frequently. A mentor can help you stay informed about these changes and advise you on how to incorporate them into your planning process.
Mastering Difficult Tasks: Certain aspects of meeting planning can be challenging or require specific expertise. A mentor can provide targeted guidance and support to help you master these skills, be it handling difficult clients, managing unforeseen disruptions, or implementing innovative concepts.
Career Growth: Mentors can act as sounding boards for career aspirations and offer advice on advancing within the industry. They can help you identify opportunities for growth, connect you with relevant professionals, and even advocate for you within their network.
Confidence and Motivation: Having a mentor who believes in you and your abilities can boost your confidence and motivation. Their encouragement and support can be particularly helpful during challenging times or when facing professional setbacks.
Personal Growth: Beyond the professional sphere, mentors can also provide valuable life advice and help you develop essential skills like communication, leadership, and conflict resolution. These skills can benefit you not only in your career but also in your personal life.
Expanding Your Network: Mentors often have extensive networks within the industry and can introduce you to key players, potential clients, and valuable partners. This can help you build your own network and open doors to new opportunities.
Finding Relevant Resources: Mentors can point you towards valuable resources like industry publications, professional organizations, and training programs that can further enhance your skills and knowledge.
Gaining Industry Recognition: A well-respected mentor can connect you with opportunities to present your work, participate in industry events, or contribute to publications. This can help you gain recognition and credibility within the industry.
It’s important to note that the benefits of having a mentor are not one-sided. Mentorship can be a mutually rewarding experience, with mentees offering fresh perspectives and enthusiasm to their mentors. Ultimately, the importance of a mentor for a part-time meeting planner depends on individual needs and career goals. And when you do reach the point when you can mentor someone else, there is great satisfaction in helping them “put their pieces together”.
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