by Allie Magyar | September 22, 2017

Allie Magyar, CEO of HubbLove it or hate it, there's no denying event technology has completely changed how we manage events. But did you know it can also revolutionize how you manage the teams putting on those awesome events?

I've experimented with many tools in my pursuit of managerial excellence, and I've found a number that have made a real difference. Some of these tools make it easier for me and my teams to communicate and collaborate. Others help us stay on top of project status and deadlines. And some automate much of the administrative work that fills my team's days.

The best part? Any event manager can use these tools. No graduate degree in computer science required. If you can figure out how to upload an attachment to an email, you can use these tech tools to become a more effective manager.

Communication and collaboration tools
Anything that helps my teams communicate better is a major win, which is why I love tools like Slack. Think of it as the love child of a ’90s chatroom and a message board. Only instead of talking about your latest crush, Slack is where all your team discussions happen. No more lengthy email chains or easily lost Skype messages. Slack is easy to use, has a great mobile app and has helpful notifications to ensure messages are never missed. As an event manager, I love how Slack makes it easy to section-off conversations by work streams, while still giving me quick access to everything that's going on.

Slack's one major shortcoming is document storage. It's clunky, at best. For that help, look to tools like Box, Dropbox or (if you're deep in the Microsoft universe like I am) SharePoint. These make it easy to share and edit documents and calendars online, so you don't have version-control issues. On-the-fly updates are easy and are visible instantly to your entire team. If you manage the same event every year, use these tools and you'll avoid the "Wait, where is that document from last year?" time-waster that always happens at the start of the planning process.

Note-taking tools like OneNote or Evernote also are helpful for sharing meeting notes and plans among your teams. I use them to replace the massive binders of event information I used to spend God-only-knows how many hours preparing (and re-preparing) for my teams, vendors and myself before events. Now that I keep all that information in a note tool, I spend far less time preparing information, changes don't require reprinting, and my teams and I are not wasting time searching for information in my email.

Project-management tools
As event managers, one of our greatest challenges is just staying on top of everything. There are dozens of work streams and thousands of tasks to keep tabs on, even for small events. I now use project-management tools to stay organized, and they've changed my life. If you're not familiar with them, these tools allow you to create "cards" for each task on your to-do list, and then to group cards together into projects. You can assign tasks and subtasks to team members, along with due dates. Task and project owners get email notifications and reminders when due dates are approaching.

That might not sound sexy, but it’s a game changer for anyone who manages complex projects. There are many excellent project-management tools on the market, including Asana, Trello and Microsoft 365 Planner. These tools are variations on the same idea; find the one that best meets your needs and work style. I personally prefer Planner, because its strong analytics help me understand how and where I'm using my time.

Automation tools
Is your team overwhelmed by administrative work? Free them with automation tools so they can get back to the important stuff. Marketing automation platforms like Marketo or Hubspot are widely used by marketing departments around the country, but less so by event managers. These platforms centralize your email marketing, social media, blogs and website management into one place, saving time and giving you simple, comprehensive analytics.

Content-management tools like my company, Hubb, are unique to events. These tools allow you to automate many of your planning tasks, like managing and marketing your event content. Both marketing and content automation rely on APIs (application programming interfaces) to share data with other tools and save you time. For example, a good event content-management platform will connect with your event's mobile apps, website, digital signage and more, allowing you to make changes in one place and have those changes appear throughout your tools in near real-time. No more duplicative work!

One final thought: Be strategic about how you use tech. Before adopting anything, have a plan in place and know what tools you'll use for what purposes. Ensure your team is completely clear on the process and how the applications will be used. Relying on tools that connect via APIs will allow you to avoid repeating work and will help make sure these new tools you're adopting live up to their promises. Finally, start simple and have a solid plan for implementation.

Smartly used, the tools I've highlighted will make you a better and more effective boss. You'll have better visibility on your progress, even when not on-site. The people you manage will have a clearer understanding of deliverables and timelines, and communicating with your teams, internal and external, will be simple and frictionless. The documents you need will be readily available to everybody who needs them, when they need them. In short, you'll manage your teams like a boss!

Allie Magyar, CEO of Hubb, is an entrepreneur and speaker. Click here to see her latest video, How Event Planners Can Go from Being Task Managers to Strategic Planners. Hubb is a cloud-based software platform for simplifying the process for selecting, managing and marketing event content.