Now that Labor Day has passed, and summer is drawing to a close, event and meeting planners are settling back into their routines. With the return of students to classes, it’s time for event industry professionals to devote quality time to reflecting on their own professional development—and creativity is such an important competency when planning meetings, events and conferences. For this reason, one area of focus should be tapping into your creativity.
Are people born creative? Can people learn to be creative? There has been considerable debate about this. One thing is certain: It is possible to flex your creative muscles by using a range of strategies. Pick one or more that appeals to you.
Workbooks and books can be very beneficial. For example, Julia’ Cameron’s The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity and It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again: Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond combine weekly reading with daily journaling, exercises and artist dates. This gentle approach can gradually help readers unlock their blocked creativity. There are even groups on Facebook where people share their journey and learn from each other.
2. Improvisation workshops
Improv involves responding with spontaneity through a range of exercises and situations. The dynamic at play is very similar to the environment in which event and meeting planners operate daily. Through improv, you’ll learn how to spin on a dime and develop greater comfort in responding to curves that are thrown your way without panicking.
3. Explore the culinary arts
Catering and menu planning are such an important part of meeting conferences and events that it makes sense for event professionals to explore the culinary arts. Whether it’s a semester long course at a community program or a series of one-day workshops, the skills that are acquired will have immediate benefits. The possibilities are endless. Select form grilling, baking, cake decorating, pastry making and more.
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4. Try your hand at the visual arts
Select something that appeals to you. Whether it’s drawing, painting, pottery or sculpture, honing your creative skills will spill over into your work in the event and meeting industry. You don’t have to be naturally gifted to explore the visual arts. For example, a museum in Toronto regularly offers a course called “Drawing for Those who Can’t.”
5. Learn to play a musical instrument
If you’ve ever wanted to learn to play the piano, guitar or drums, there is no time like the present to get started. Select an approach that is compatible with your learning style. Group classes, private lessons and workshops are available in most locations.
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6. Put on your dancing shoes
Music and movement have a way of freeing people up. So, take your pick from salsa, reggae, line dancing, ballroom and even capoeira (Brazilian non-contact martial arts through music).
7. Set up a creativity corner in your home or office
Assemble sketch pads, adult coloring books, colored pencils, drawing pencils, poetry books, Bristol board, scissors, magazines, tape, glue, music, candles and flowers to create a space to explore your creativity when you and, if it’s at work, your co-workers need a break. The next time you have to come up with a theme for an event, create a mind map or treasure map using photos and text. It requires no skill to cut and paste photos on a Bristol board and this process can transform your brainstorming.
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These are just a few ideas. Any of these strategies will help you approach your work with greater creativity. Brainstorm and come up with seven more tactics to flex your creativity before selecting what appeals to you.