Back to School: Fine-tuning Your Analytical and Technical Skills

Chocolate Factory TourLast week I suggested over 30 strategies to help event and meeting planners spark their creativity.

Analytical skills and knowledge are equally important. They come into play when event planners handle financial data and the detailed calculations and reports that are required for some events. From audio-visual to apps, social media and event technology have exploded in recent years. It is also essential for event planners to keep abreast of event tech trends.

Analytical Skills

Even if you don't consider yourself to be analytical, it's possible to improve your knowledge and proficiency in this area. Think of it as stretching the elastic.

For event planners who recognize the need to become more detail oriented or improve their analytical and technical skills, here are some ideas.

Courses and Workshops


  1. a statistics class
  2. an accounting class
  3. a TQM course that includes Deming's red-bead experiment

Experiential Learning:

  1. Prepare a budget.
  2. Play the Cash Flow Game.
  3. Learn a new computer program.
  4. Tour an automobile or computer factory.
  5. Learn to use a more advanced smartphone.
  6. Develop a spreadsheet and keep it updated.
  7. Download and learn to use a complex new app.
  8. Participate in The Accounting Game lemonade stand simulation.
  9. Tutor elementary or high school students in math or science
  10. Proofread a newsletter for an association or non-profit organization.
  11. Take a bookkeeping class and help a non-profit organization with their bookkeeping.


  1. Take a Kaizan course in Japan.
  2. Attend a Deming Institute Conference.
  3. Tour an automotive factory in Japan or German.
  4. Attend the annual SAS Analytics Conference in Europe. Here is what was covered at this year's conference.

  1. Attend an event  industry trade show (e.g. IMEX America, IMEX Frankfurt, EIBTM, AIBTM, Ignite Business Event Expo, Incentiveworks).

Here are some other experiences can simultaneously develop both creative and analytical skills and knowledge:

  • Learn a new language.
  • Work in a foreign country.
  • Start and maintain a blog.
  • Take a web design course.
  • Read Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono.
  • Use Roger Von Oech's Creative Whack Pack.

Technical Skills

Remember all courses and experiences don't have to be directly relevant to event planning. The intent is to improve your capacity for processing technical content.

Courses and Workshops


  1. an html class.
  2. a finance class
  3. an SEO course
  4. a javascript class
  5. a videography class
  6. a basic mechanics course
  7. an introduction to Audio-visual course
  8. take an introductory computer hardware course
  9. an introductory computer programming class

Experiential Learning:

  1. Attend an AV Trade Show.
  2. Learn to use a new camera.
  3. Go to a technical trade show.
  4. Read the Event App Bible (co-sponsored by Cvent).
  5. Read the The Good Event Registration Guide (co-sponsored by Cvent).
  6. Join Webmaster World. Read the posts, ask questions and participate actively in the forums.
  7. Join the Social Media and Event Planning Subgroup for Event Planners on LinkedIn


  1. Visit the Microsoft Visitor's Center in Redmond, Washington
  2. Tour the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

Pulling it all Together

To improve your knowledge and bench strength in all 3 areas (creative, analytical, and technical):

  • Tour a candy or chocolate factory.
  • Work as a crew member on a low budget or student film.
    Craft services would be a perfect fit for event planners.
  • Design a creative game to teach analytical or analytical skills.
  • Go on a behind the scenes tour at a theatre, move theatre or theme park.
  • Visit an interactive exhibit or museum that gives insight into technology or manufacturing.
  • Visit a movie or TV set when a shoot is in progress. (The easiest way to do this is to work as an extra a few times.)
  • Attend the Cvent Corporate Meetings Summit or Cvent Association Meetings Summit.

Photo Credits: Everjean

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