Our industry is filled with people, vendors, attendees, clients and friends, the best of the best. However after a discussion with a professional friend, I realized that even when surrounded by people every day, an event professional life can be lonely and how important the MPI community was to not only professional, but personal growth.
My friend owns his own amusement company made the comment that ‘I love the business but it’s kind of lonely’. After further talk, he disclosed he didn’t have a large full time staff and that he spent a lot of time traveling to and from events to do set up and tear down. With all the travel, he felt the ability to grow a social circle within the industry was minimal.
I thought about his comments from the business side, for me personally, it didn’t really ring true for me. I fill this void by meeting several new and ‘reoccurring actors’ at various functions (MPI-CAC being one of the cornerstones). I assumed that is what everyone did. Many of my newest friends and acquaintances come from my networking circles and with those I am active on committees.
As I explored his “loneliness” comments more by asking others, I learned that he was not alone. Many people in the industry feel loneliness. Some admit that this paradox is also what they like about the business (being away, working, having passing connections versus permanent connections), still others feel like there is something missing. For those of you who work for bigger companies and have a large team, this may or may not apply. I would be interested in the comments from this article to learn how event peeps with larger teams feel.
For me, I solve this issue of loneliness by getting involved. I recommend having 2-4 groups like MPI-CAC or other industry groups that you sign up for, get involved and play a leadership role. In addition, I recommend attending many other networking events where potential buyers may be just to check in occasionally, learn something or reconnect with some other past acquaintances. My personal goal is to be networking 3 nights a week with the occasional mid-day meeting. It is a lot and does take you away from doing work/work (writing proposals, site visits, and following up phone calls), but if planned carefully can be built around those necessary tasks.
Time away from your desk is what some call “white space.” It is okay to take a break. If you are a bit lonely, take an inventory of how much downtime you have and when you have it during the day, reach out to people you like or trust and ask them what groups you should be more involved in and then GET INVOLVED. You will find it to be very rewarding. You will grow your network, business opportunities and help expand your offerings, both personally and professionally. Be sure to stop by and say hello if you run into me at an upcoming event and give me any tips on the next event to attend.