People who have T-shaped skills rule every single industry. They know how to combine different areas of expertise and extract valuable insights.
They also know how to apply their knowledge to new contexts.
Apart from that, professionals with T-shaped skills are always eager to improve and go beyond their “generalist” stigma.
Since their knowledge and skills aren’t segmented or compartmentalized, they can be easily called the masters of dealing with uncertainty.
Sounds crazy, right?
Do you want to hear something even crazier?
If you find yourself sometimes planning and running events for your company without a professional planning background, chances are you also have T-shaped skills and don’t even realize it.
But first things first: What are T-shaped skills?
T-shaped skills: The new breed of professionals
According to Chris More, Firefox Product Lead, “A T-shaped person has multiple skill areas (the horizontal part of the ‘T’ letter) and they are deep in one area (the vertical part of the ‘T’ letter).”
Compared to I-shaped people (meaning those who have deep knowledge in one specific area as a result of intensive education), T-shaped people have knowledge in numerous areas and can apply that knowledge to different situations.
The “T” letter comes from the idea of combining both generalist and specialist skills.
You, for example, may have extensive knowledge about data analysis, but at work also apply your marketing and programming abilities.
By having a multidisciplinary profile, people with T-shaped skills are highly valued in the market.
That’s no surprise.
There’s nothing more valuable than a professional with in-depth knowledge about one or two topics, who can also tackle problems that aren’t his or her direct expertise.
But what exactly does all of this have to do with you?
Are you a T-shaped professional?
Planning an event is difficult. Even event professionals sometimes struggle, and it’s what they do for a living.
That’s why the fact that you’ve been delegated to plan events for your company (without previous training) shows that you have T-shaped skills and can find solutions to different problems.
This doesn’t mean it’s easy.
However, being able to plan an event (sometimes all by yourself) indicates your willingness to make the most out of your abilities.
You might even not be fully aware of how your previous knowledge and main expertise can help you stand out and manage quality events.
How your expertise will help you successfully manage events
The problem you may have when facing the challenge of planning events is that you underestimate yourself: “I’m not a planning professional! Sure, I’ve planned an event or two, and everything turned out right. But I just got lucky. I have no idea how to plan an event. I’m sure I’ll fail next time …”
Imposter syndrome kicks in and you feel paralyzed, thinking that your event will bomb and you’ll be fired.
While this fear is certainly understandable, there’s a way to overcome it.
By realizing how your T-shaped skills will help you succeed.
Take a look at how your expertise may correlate to planning and running awesome events:
Personal assistants and office managers are detail-oriented people. Their job involves handling multiple assignments, knowing how to prioritize, and having excellent organizational abilities.
Usually, personal assistants or office managers are aware of the global picture without neglecting the details.
These skills are very similar to those of an event professional.
So if you’re an office manager and your task is to manage events for your company, guess what? You already have the skills to successfully carry plan fantastic events.
For example, you could use your managerial skills to design a viable to-do plan. Your time management skills may give you a good grasp of the timeline, helping you avoid the planning fallacy.
Apart from that, you’ll be able to consider every single event-related detail without losing the overall picture.
Marketing or communication
Events are a powerful promotional tool, so it only makes sense that planning them can sometimes fall to the marketing or communication department.
Nowadays, many marketers and PR professionals are also managing events. This can be a bit discouraging, especially if you don’t have a planning background.
However, you can put your marketing skills to good use here by making sure everyone has heard about the event.
You already know how to efficiently promote a product or service, which means you already know how to efficiently promote an event and attract more attendees.
Moreover, your marketing expertise will differentiate you from event professionals who may have scarce promotional abilities and fail in reaching a bigger audience.
How does data analysis help manage an event? Although this might not be so obvious, an event’s success relies on data.
If you don’t know how to read the event ROI or KPIs, you can’t comprehend your event’s outreach and impact, and you won’t know what to improve next time.
Data analysis skills are extremely valuable when planning and managing an event.
From evaluating the number of leads your company gained after the event to understanding the way your attendees behaved during the event, being able to read and interpret data is an important strength that will differentiate you from others.
Research for event solutions
Whether it’s for an academic environment or a company, researchers may face the task of managing one or multiple events.
This is also valuable for people who previously had some sort of connection with academia (such as an alumni group), and now, working for a company, are put in the position of running an event without any experience.
If you have a research background, you can use these skills to upscale your game and plan remarkable events. You can conduct in-depth researches about your audience. You can determine their needs and design a truly meaningful event experience for them.
Apart from that, your research skills will help you find top-notch event providers and come up with the best solutions to different challenges.
If your main expertise revolves around storytelling or copywriting, you can use those skills to increase an event’s appeal.
For example, you could set up an engaging event website, or think about social media messages that will attract the right people to your event. Apart from that, these skills will help you create an eloquent event narrative.
Having T-shaped skills positions you as a constant learner and problem-solver. Although event planning might not be your main expertise, by using your knowledge and skills proficiently, you’ll plan and run extraordinary events.
That’s why you should feel confident about your professional abilities and be bold in your actions. You might not be an event professional, but your capacity to transcend disciplines will generate positive results.