Many of us are taught that in order to get hired into our dream venue career, we just need to know all of the technical aspects of our selected profession—basic venue operations, booking and scheduling, marketing and sales, finance, food service, crowd management, and general workplace stuff, like time management, email, and voicemail etiquette.
But, in fact, what might be equally, if not more important, isn’t necessarily what you know, but who you know, or more accurately, Who Knows You.
In a recent Forbes article, Internships May Be The Easiest Way To A Job In 2013, an Internship.com survey polled more than 7,300 students and recent graduates, as well as over 300 human resources and recruitment professionals, and found that internships truly have become the “new interview” in the job search process for students and employers alike.
For those seeking a venue-related job, one internship opportunity is through IAVM’s Venue Management School as and the Graduate Institute. The school takes place May 31-June 5, 2014, at Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, West Virginia. The week-long immersion into venue management is one place venue pros go to hone their skills, visit with colleagues and network to make new connections.
Venue Management School attracts all types of venue professionals: executive directors, department heads, allied members (venue service and product providers) who want to get a broader perspective on venue management, people new to the industry, and veterans who want to keep up with the industry. Not only will you get a good overview of venue management, you begin to build this amazing network that can really give you a leg up when it comes to getting a job.
Robyn Williams, the executive director of Portland’5 Centers for the Arts and an instructor at IAVM’s Venue Management School, has some great tips to take advantage of your captive audience of venue pros who attend Venue Management School and the Graduate Institute.
Williams says, “Interns should network like crazy with fellow interns, students, and with the faculty. You’re hanging out with some of the best and brightest in our business. Interns help out with a variety activities and are generally assigned to one classroom where they can assist the instructors. Be friendly, actively participate, and network, network, network!
3. Be prepared to help me with the projector. (I’m terrible with technology….)
4. Have fun. Don’t be afraid to strike up conversations with people you don’t know. This is always a great bunch of people, and everyone loves spending time with the interns. Take advantage of that.”
Take advantage of both the learning opportunities and the networking, and fill out an application to intern at VMS and VMS-GI. The deadline to apply is March 31, 2014, and there are eight slots available. Venue Management School is one of IAVM’s most sought after programs. By becoming an intern, you’ll not only be able to hear what the pros are learning, but you’ll be able to network with someone who might become a future boss.
There was a lot of news this past week you may have missed. Here are some headlines that caught our eyes.
Here are the First Photos of a Baseball Diamond in an Australian Cricket Stadium
—San Jose Mercury News
“In under a month, the Los Angeles Dodgers will play a two-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks at the legendary Sydney Cricket Grounds in Australia, marking the first-ever Major League Baseball games in the Southern Hemisphere.”
WME Partnering for Six Country Festivals
“William Morris Endeavor Entertainment is building its portfolio in the festival sector with investment in six new strategic alliances in the country music fest space.”
Boston Marathon Bans Bags as Part of Security Plan
“Runners will be given a chance to check gear on Boston Common on the morning of the marathon to allow them to have a change of clothing at the end of the race. The athletic association said it will provide clear plastic bags for that purpose.”
“My Job Is Very, Very Different From Your Job”
—Sports Illustrated/The MMQB
“The Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito situation, coupled with Michael Sam’s announcement, has put the NFL locker room culture under a spotlight. An Eagle takes us inside his workplace to better understand it.”
3D Glasses for Meetings
—PCMA Convene Blog
“Imagine sitting down at a console and working with a 3D model of your meeting that shows the exact placement of every chair and table, in a virtual environment that simulates the actual event space down to the color of the carpet and the texture of the walls.”
(Image: MLB PR)
I’ve never met anyone, manager or employee, that enjoys a performance review. Even if you know it’s going to be a good one, there’s still something nerve-wracking about having your work evaluated.
Enter Satoris Culbertson, an assistant professor of management at Kansas State University. Culbertson, working with associates at Eastern Kentucky University and Texas A&M University, is developing ways to improve performance reviews. Surveying more than 200 employees who just completed a review, the researchers found three types of employee goal orientations.
1. “Learning goal-oriented people like to learn for the sake of learning. They often pursue challenges despite setbacks.”
2. “Performance-prove goal-oriented people want to prove that they have competence to perform a job.”
3. “Performance-avoid goal-oriented people want to avoid looking foolish.”
Performance-oriented people, the researchers think, will only be satisfied with positive reviews because negative ones make them look bad. Learning goal-oriented workers, though, may be satisfied with negative reviews because they would view it as a teaching moment.
“Surprisingly, we found that learning-oriented people were just as dissatisfied with an appraisal that had negative feedback as the performance-oriented people were,” Culbertson said. “Nobody likes to get negative feedback—even those individuals who aren’t trying to prove anything to others, but instead are just trying to learn as much as possible.”
Culberston said that managers have to be careful when providing feedback to employees, because they can affect motivation, commitment, and performance.
“It is not so much that the performance review needs to be abolished, but we need to fix what is broken,” Culbertson said. “Instead of limiting ourselves to formal performance appraisals conducted once or twice a year, we need to think about performance management as a system that is linked with the strategy of the entire organization.”
In other words, the review process should be on-going.
“We can actually make the most out of the system,” Culbertson said. “But if we are only going to have once-a-year evaluations, we shouldn’t expect it to work.”
Culbertson offers three suggestions based on the research to help managers improve the evaluation process.
First, focus on constructive feedback, bringing in ways for improvement.
“Negative feedback is not the same as constructive feedback,” Culbertson said. “We should be careful that negative feedback is provided in a way that is more constructive because it can help people try to improve.”
Second, tread lightly with number-based reviews, because people view numbers differently.
“This is where our words are really powerful,” Culbertson said. “We want to make sure we are conveying to employees whether we are giving a good evaluation or describing something that needs to improve.”
Third, steer clear of the “sandwich” approach (i.e., positive , then negative, then ending with positive feedback).
“Sometimes the sandwich approach comes across as dishonest or not something that people will buy,” Culbertson said.
How do you conduct performance reviews? What works? What doesn’t? Please contribute to the conversation in the comments section below.
Plans are in the works to rebuild the famous Crystal Palace in London, with eight architect firms shortlisted to design it.
The firms are David Chipperfield Architects, Grimshaw, Haworth Tompkins Architects, Marks Barfield Architects, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, and Zaha Hadid Architects with Anish Kapoor.
“This is a stellar line-up of talent demonstrating the world-wide interest in this unique and challenging project,” said London Mayor Boris Johnson. “The rebuild of Crystal Palace is set to produce an extraordinary new landmark for the capital, which will support the rebirth of this historic park and catalyze jobs and growth in the local area.”
Originally built for the 1851 Great Exhibition, the Crystal Palace consisted of iron and glass and featured 990,000 square feet of space. It was disassembled after the event and relocated to a south London suburb until it burned down in 1936.
Chinese billionaire Ni Zaoxing promised last October to rebuild the palace, which will include a hotel, a conference center, an art collection, public park space, and retail space. It is estimated to cost $835 million, and construction could start early next year.
(Image: The Crystal Palace in 1854, public domain photo)
Venue managers and tour professionals took over the mics for an IAVM sponsored back-of-house discussion at PollStar 2014. Moderated by Scott Johnson (Greensboro Coliseum, North Carolina), the panel dug into venue selection, day of show dynamics, and what a tour looks for to build confidence for future visits. Here are a few highlights:
The general consensus of the tour pros was market saturation. Patrick McDill (LiveNation) said that going to a city too many times was the top issue. Doug Aitken (Borman Entertainment) reinforced this as a top priority, urging venue managers to “know their market” and the show calendar for other venues in and around their city.
Past experiences were also mentioned as a strong factor in deciding where to send a tour. Aaron Tannenbaum (CAA) mentioned that he needs to feel comfortable sending a client to a venue, and that is influenced by previous experiences there. When asked how a venue can overcome a bad show, the conversation shifted toward the major pain points that lead to a rough show in the first place.
Avoiding the Pain Points, Building a Great Day
From having one clear point of contact to knowing well in advance the exact details of a venue’s loading and rigging capabilities, members of the panel repeatedly stressed how crucial good, honest communication is. Pete Healey (production manager, Luke Bryan), described the toll it takes on the crew to arrive at a venue after little sleep, only to discover that the load-in is going to take twice as long as planned due to limited docks or a lack of needed forklifts.
“If your venue has a rough load-in … tell us in advance,” Healey urged.
Emphasis was also placed on that first interaction between the tour crew and the venue team. McDill mentioned that it’s the early morning experience that tells him how the day will go.
Jan Eric Volz (tour manager, Rascal Flatts) felt similarly, mentioning that, “I appreciate seeing the general manager early on the day of the show, because everyone tends to follow their lead. Smiling faces and a willing attitude make us look forward to being there and to coming back.”
Even towels were mentioned (more than once) as an important detail to a crew that is living on the road.
“We roll out of our bunks, and we’re immediately at work. A nice shower goes a long way,” said Mike McGrath (tour accountant, Blake Shelton).
“Your venue is not just a name and city on a piece of paper. When something doesn’t go right, it affects us personally. A bad shower, slow Internet, these things matter,” McDill said.
When I recounted the session to Michael Marion, CFE (Verizon Arena, Arkansas) later that day, he nodded and mentioned a Dippin’ Dots station that they placed backstage at the Verizon Arena—free for the tour crew. In a subsequent Pollstar session that Marion participated in, he reinforced the importance of a great experience for the artist and crew back-of-house in more direct terms, commenting that “there is nobody in New York or Nashville thinking their career is over if they don’t play Little Rock.”
Small details and the need for great service back-of-house came up all throughout the packed session (standing-room only by the end), a reminder that the audience coming into a venue isn’t just the one out in front of the stage. And while the session largely avoided heavier issues like settlements, cancellations, and personnel conflict (one venue professional in front of me turned to his neighbor and said, “They keep emphasizing the goofy shit?!”), it was a good reminder that excellent service from the venue goes a long way in building confidence that a great show is going to happen that day—and hopefully for many future days to come.
Do you have Dippin’ Dots backstage? What else do you see going a long way to deliver a great back-of-house experience? If your an IAVM member, we’re also talking about this in VenueNet!