Friday, September 18, 2009

CILIP B&G training - Planning and running events

CILIP run free training events for Branch and Group committee members - they even pay the travel expenses! Yesterday was the second such event I have attended (the first one being "New In The Job" an introduction to working on CILIP committees).

These events are great. You don't just get training, get to have real conversations about real CILIP issues, with real CILIP staff and other committee members.

Kathy Ennis and Lyndsey Rees-Jones have run both of the days I have attended, and yesterday they were also joined by Maria Cotera (President of the Career Development Group) and Mark Taylor (Head of CILIP Corporate Marketing and Media Relations). The training is obviously aimed at CILIP activities but it is also very transferable to your day job.

This course included DOs and DONTs of event organising, preparing and running exhibition stands, an event planning exercise which looked at exhibition stands, conferences and training courses, and plenty of discussion time and opportunity to network with other CILIP members. (And I was pleasantly surprised when the posters I designed for the West Mids stand at the LIS Show earlier in the year were produced as an example of branch marketing materials.)

Kathy and Lyndsey deliver useful and engaging events, and they are not afraid to address issues regarding CILIP that might be a bit controversial or awkward. Their straight-forward and honest approach is truly refreshing. They also bring on board really interesting and appropriate speakers, so the whole day is helpful and enjoyable. If you are on a Branch or SIG committee these training days are well worth your time. If you are not on a Branch or Group committee - well, branch nominations are coming up - now's your chance.

10 TIPS FROM THE TRAINING (It was tough to pick just 10):
  • Involve as many effective people as you can - they don't have to be committee members
  • Check your dates don't clash with other big events - and not just Library events - what about the World Cup?
  • Have spare people available on the day just in case - what if the person dealing with delegate registration is stuck on a train?
  • Look after your speakers - provide them with information well in advance, meet them when they arrive, help them set up rooms and explain how expense claims work - offer them refreshments.
  • Take finance seriously - a designated person should look after the event finance - do you need to offer an Early-booking discount to get early revenue in to cover some of the initial outlay?
  • Have a phone number for people to ring about the event - invest in a pay as you go mobile phone for the committee to have as a contact point for your events. This will prevent the need for giving out personal numbers and will mean that the phone number is always constant even when people leave the committee. Use the phone number on ALL publicity material.
  • Business cards - Vista Print do 250 for free. Give them out in advance of the event and during it - make contacts.
  • Be different - try new events, new venues, new approaches. Be memorable.
  • Publicise through every available avenue - your own network, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, web pages, email lists, CILIPs event calendar (which also feeds into content for CILIP Gazette), use the email bulletins that you can sent out via CILIP, arrange a mailing to your members, include details in your own newsletter. . .
  • Review your events - gather feedback and pay attention to it, learn, develop, do it all again, but better!
The next Branch and Group training day is on November 18th and is on Marketing. I have already booked my place.

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