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The Value of Mentorship and Shadowing

For aspiring planners or those seeking to elevate their craft, mentorship and shadowing provide invaluable insights

By Lahoma Dade

Meeting planning is a field where experience is just as valuable—if not more valuable—than theoretical knowledge. For those aspiring to build a career in this dynamic and multifaceted industry, shadowing a seasoned planner can be a game-changer. One can significantly enhance their planning skills and pave the way for a successful career with the right mentorship.

a mentor and mentee exchange information
A quality mentor or time spent shadowing a more experienced planner is invaluable in the meeting and event planning field. || Photo by Vitalii Vodolazskyi, courtesy of Adobe

A mentor or shadowing opportunity can be found through networking at industry events, professional associations, and online forums. Volunteering for events can also show an eagerness to learn and contribute, qualities that mentors appreciate.

Don’t hesitate to reach out directly to event planners to inquire about opportunities. A polite and concise email expressing interest in learning from them can be effective. In the end, the benefits far outweigh the risk of someone saying no.

Mentoring

Mentorship offers a unique opportunity to learn from someone who has navigated the complexities of meeting planning. A mentor can provide insights that are rarely found in textbooks or classrooms. This knowledge is invaluable in understanding the nuances
of the industry.

Mentors also often introduce their mentees to a wide network of industry professionals. This exposure can open doors to new opportunities, partnerships, and collaborations, which are crucial for career growth.

In addition, a mentor provides personalized advice and gives support tailored to each mentee’s needs and goals. This one-to-one guidance can prove extremely useful for overcoming challenges, refining skills, and developing a clearer career path.

Shadowing

Shadowing allows for the observation of a professional at work, providing a firsthand look at how they handle the demands of meeting planning. This experience can be extremely helpful in understanding the practical aspects of the job, such as time management, client interaction, and crisis management.

While shadowing, the opportunity might arise to assist in tasks, offering a safe environment to apply knowledge and skills. This hands-on experience is critical in building confidence and competence in the meetings and events field.

Shadowing different planners can mean exposure to various types of events, from corporate conferences to post-session social gatherings. This diversity in experience can help the mentee identify their interests and broaden their skill set.

To make the most of a mentorship or shadowing, mentees should be both proactive and curious. Ask questions, seek feedback, and take initiative to show the mentor or planner being shadowed that the mentee is eager to learn and grow. After each experience, taking time to reflect on learned information is important, along with finding ways to apply these insights in future endeavors. Nurturing the relationships built during this period and staying in touch with mentors and other professionals can provide a future full of possibilities. By taking advantage of these experiences, new and aspiring planners can gain the skills, confidence, and network needed to thrive.

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