"The true measure of leadership is influence- nothing more, nothing less"- John C. Maxwell
If a person does not have the ability to influence and inspire others to action, they will never be able to lead. Influence is defined as: the capacity or power of person to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behaviors, opinions of others. It is the ability to move a person to act or to think, in a way that would not have transpired without the influence of another. However, influence alone is not enough. Others must also be inspired by the influencer, or their actions will stay the same. Inspiration is defined as: to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence. These attributes, influence and inspiration, work together for the benefit of a leader. If a leader has influence but lacks inspiration, then how far can he/she move other people to action? Inspiration must accompany influence. Leadership is not positional. For example, a manager may be able to influence an employee to do something based on position, but that alone will not keep the employee inspired to continue. They may incorporate new action or thought temporarily based on the influence of the upper management position, but leadership is more than a title. It requires consistency in action, behavior, and attitude.
People expect leaders to be upbeat, positive, and motivating. Followers want to be inspired by the leader. Leaders must create and communicate a vision that and inspires others to take action toward the common organizational goal or the individuals goal. A leader must have the highest energy and enthusiasm level to infect others and motivate them toward action.
Leaders have to show their constituents that they are passionate and committed to pursuing the dream (Kouzes & Posner). People will follow that which breathes into them a purpose and gives them meaning in life. People want to be inspired. Most people want more out of life, want to reach goals and live their dreams, but they lack vision and have more doubt, than faith. A leader creates that bigger vision for their constituents; offering them hope and belief. When people have doubt, negativity, uncertainty, and feel discouraged about the future, a leaders role is to influence a change and inspire new thinking. Leaders must not only speak the right words to inspire, they need to lead with new actions and vision. Leaders must fuel others with positive emotions, influence change, and inspire peak performance.
The same is true for events. Events create positive emotions, can influence change, and can inspire people to reach optimal levels. Companies create events to motivate employees, speakers host seminars to educate and inspire, and cities manage festivals to create communities. There is power in numbers. Give an event the power it deserves; treat it like a leader.
As graduation is approaching, for many young professionals, it is time to start preparing for life after graduation.
Here are 5 tips from my experience in the industry, as well as in entrepreneurship, to prepare you for the life, career, and success you are hoping for after graduation.
1. Network now! Find what aspect of an industry you are draw the most to and join the organizations that support that. There are organizations for hotel management, event planning, travel, tourism, and many other industries. Most organizations have a local Northern California chapter, which host ongoing educational events and networking opportunities. This is a great way to be learn about the industry, stay up to date, and to potentially meet your future employer.
2. Dress for Success! When attending industry events, going on interview, or attending classes on campus, be sure to dress professionally. This is not to say that you have to wear a suit to class but how you show up, is how you appear to your professor. Professors know people in the industry and can be liaisons to opportunities. When they are asked what students they could recommend, you want to be the first person they think of, by the impression you make.
3. Learn outside of the classroom! Engulf yourself in your future industry. Find out about, and sign up for publications regarding your chosen profession (or a few professions if you haven't decided yet). What us typically taught through textbook is a broad overview of an industry, but ongoing,current publications give you an inside glimpse into more specifics. This can help provide you direction toward your future career.
4. Utilize social media! Using LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, you can connect with professionals in the industry. Create your profile to show yourself as you would want your employer to see you. On Twitter, find mentors already doing what you want to do. Follow them, retweet them, favorite tweets they post, etc. You can do the same with places you would like to work, like top hotels or companies. As you show involvement and activity in the things these people and companies post, they will begin to notice you. Don’t miss the opportunity to get noticed!
5. Volunteer and impress! Take any opportunity to volunteer in the industry. Large companies are always seeking volunteers. These are the type of resume builders that employers will look at. The more involved you can be, the more experience you gain, the more you can talk about it when you interview for a job. As you are volunteering, show up and show out! Impress whoever you are working with; they will remember you.
As a event & meeting professional, I am often asked to lend an ear to event ideas. I listen, nod in agreement, and subsequently ask myself if I can identity what I believe are the 5 most important elements in the creation of a great event. If I cannot easily identify them through the idea process, I make it a point to ask the potential client, or enthusiastic idea creator, to answer the questions.
For anyone preparing to plan a meeting, launch a business, or simply host a party, I have listed the 5 key questions to answer before the fun begins!
1. What is the purpose of the event?
Whether you wish to celebrate a momentous occasion, launch your business, or host a speaking engagement, you want to start with understanding the purpose. The purpose helps to determine the theme and the marketing strategy surrounding the event.
2. What is the theme?
The theme determines the energy of the event. Is it serious, educational, social, or interactive?
3. Who is the target audience?
Knowing the target audience is important for planning and marketing purposes. An event with a target audience of high school students is much different than a target audience of professional women or men.
4. What is the budget?
Before ticket sales and sponsorship options, how much money needs to be invested or is available to be invested into the event. Understand that no matter what is said, there is always a budget. Even clients that say "no budget", have a spending limit. Be honest with yourself (and your planner) about your comfortable spending limit is.
5. What is the intented outcome?
What is the goal leaving out of the event? What should the guests receive from attending your event? At social functions, the intended outcome is typically great memories and personal connectivity. Speaking engagements are typically intended to sell merchandise, such as books, audios, future event registrations, etc. Educational events are intended to add value to attendees. By identifying the intended outcome, the 'take away' from the event, it is easier to determine the value, the dedication level, and the future growth opportunities.
Before I accept a new client or start planning for an existing one, I determine the answer to these 5 questions. It helps me to keep the client focused on the goals at hand and to know the time that will be necessary to invest into event plan in order to achieve the goals. Overall, if there is an event idea burning inside of you and you can truthfully answer the 5 questions, hire a professional planner. This is just the beginning...