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Propared Blog

Tips and Advice for Managers, Planners, and Event Production Professionals

November 10, 2017

Performing Arts Centers: Managing Part-Time Staff


It takes a village to run a Performing Arts Center. Anyone who’s spent time working within the walls of one knows that technicians, ushers, box office, students, maintenance crew, and other part-time staff are a major part of the success of our venue. They’re responsible for executing the day-to-day tasks that keep our world running smoothly.  

Unlike full-time employees, your part-time employees have variable schedules which change constantly and availability isn’t always a given. It falls to us to track and manage the schedules, conflicts, and availability of a large roster of folks. This is time-consuming and adds a huge amount of complexity to our jobs.

Whenever I see something that takes up large chunks of our brainspace or our day, I flag it as a potential opportunity for big improvement. It’s in these areas of our workflow where even a small tweak can mean huge gains in efficiency.

So… how can we make the process of scheduling and communicating with your staff easier? I’m so glad you asked!

October 31, 2017

Performing Arts Centers: Working with Outside Organizations

Managing the daily life of a Performing Arts Center is hard for many reasons. One major complicator is the fact that we constantly work with people and organizations from outside the walls of our building. Artists, rental clients, external vendors, part-time staff, and designers all have their own systems of working. We have little to no time together before we hit the ground running. It’s easy to overlook the added complexity this brings to everyone involved. Let’s take a moment to reflect on these ramifications and figure out what we can do to ease the frustration.

March 22, 2017

When Managers Should Avoid Email

Not too long ago, a friend of mine was stage managing a dance performance at a university. During one of the final rehearsals, the lead dancer had to leave the show.

The director, who was also a faculty member, sent an email to the dancer expressing her sympathy and telling her not to worry and that they’d replaced her and gotten the show back on its feet. Understanding it to be a sensitive moment, the director even had the stage manager proof read the note.

All looked good, and away it went.

December 28, 2016

The Event Manager’s Sisyphus: Communication with your Event Team


Communication is one of the most important parts of a manager’s job. It's also the most time consuming. You need to deliver information clearly and in ways that make sense to people in order for it to be effective. Not an easy task.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of things working against you. Effective communication is tough in any situation, but the immediacy of live events - the stress, the crunched timeline -  can compound issues that arise. The best way to combat such challenges is to first recognize what causes them. Once you do, you’ll be well on your way to designing an effective communication plan for any event.

December 8, 2016

5 Effective Techniques for Event Managers to Resolve Team Conflicts

Event managers work in stressful environments. In an industry that cannot function without the efforts of hundreds to carry off an event, conflicts are bound to happen. Here’s a few thoughts about how to resolve conflicts at work when they happen and some tips to reduce the likelihood of them occurring again.

September 22, 2016

Debriefing Events: Why It's So Important and 8 Ways To Do It Right

Have you ever heard this quote:

“If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.”

To sports fans, this will seem familiar. Turn on any post-game press conference and there's a coach or your favorite player giving an assessment of the team's performance. The point? Win or lose, what worked today won't be enough tomorrow.

Event planners face the same challenges in a competitive market. If you don’t take the time to properly review each event, you may miss critical opportunities to identify mistakes and grow.

"Debriefing” is vital for continuous improvement. Yet many companies still don't do it, let alone freelancers. Here are 8 tips to help you design a strong debrief process to ensure you and your event planning company are better tomorrow than you were today.

June 9, 2016

6 Principles of Negotiation Every Event Professional Should Know

Let’s get one thing out of the way first. You are already a negotiator. If you’ve ever bought a car, haggled rent, or booked a gig, you’ve been on one side of the negotiating table.

Think back to how you felt in those negotiations. Did you feel nervous? Stressed? Angry? Calm? Confident? There are people who love the thrill of a tense exchange. If you’re like me though, there negotiations can feel a bit uncomfortable more often than not.

The good news is there are ways to train yourself to get over this discomfort. And improve your bargaining skills at the same time! You may never fully enjoy the process but by building up your confidence, you can increase the chances of getting what you want. So whether you’re going back and forth with a client over an event proposal, trying to get a better rate with a vendor, or anything else, these 6 principles can help every event planner better prepare for the next negotiation.

April 25, 2016

5 Tips to Help Event Managers Give Feedback That Sticks


One of the most awkward and uncomfortable things a manager has to do is give critical feedback to co-workers. In fact, it’s so uncomfortable that it often doesn’t even happen! Hey, you’re just doing what your parents always told you; “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it.” Sound familiar? 

April 22, 2016

5 Public Speaking Techniques to Make You a More Efficient Manager

This post was originally published in April, 2015. It has updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

March 1, 2016

The First Conversation: An Event Planner's Guide for Nurturing Clients

The phone rings. On the other end: a potential client with an event he or she needs to execute. This “First Conversation” is crucial. How you handle it might be the difference between securing a contract (or at least, vaulting to the head of the line) or losing it.

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