How to become the office influencer

The word ‘influencer’ is thrown around more than a home-made Italian pizza base at the moment. Really though, what does it mean and why would you want to be an influencer in your office?

As those tasked with organising events, there can be a perceived pressure to convince others you’re making the right decisions. There’s finding the perfect space, an activity everyone will enjoy, ensuring the food and beverages are on point, that’s all before then having to deal with justifying why they are the best solutions.

Positioning yourself as a bit of an influencer gives you the credibility to effectively influence your colleagues, guests and decision makers. Knowing that you’ve got the events’ best interest at heart, the industry knowledge and connections, you’ll be able to clearly communicate your ideas and justifications to make the decision making process swift and the team buy in eager.

We sat down with influential PR and event industry professional, Michael Taylor to chat about his experience in the events industry and ‘influencing’ others. See highlights from our conversation with tips on negotiation, how to stand out and the role iconic hair has in his life.

Establishing yourself as an influencer

You’ve been influential in the events industry in Brisbane for quite some time, how did you get involved & when?

It’s so funny, growing up I wanted to be an accountant!

When I finished school, I worked as an Advertising Coordinator for publishing house. When I moved to Brisbane, I took on the same role with Prestige Publications specialising in equestrian and bridal magazines. Interesting mix! When I rose to General Manager, my focus moved to the bridal magazine, managing 15 annual titles per year. This is where I started to create and develop relationships within the events industry.

This then led me to consulting to small events industry businesses that had the technical skills to be market leaders but needed the strategic marketing support to do so.

Over the past 15 years I have developed incredible industry relationships which I’m so thankful have turned into lasting friendships. These relationships and friendships are what have enabled me to expand my reach in the events industry.

Our big take-away:Trusted relationships, experience and expertise are the foundation for ‘influential’ impact.

Effective negotiation skills for event managers & office influencers

The art of negotiation is part of being an effective event manager. What’s your tip for getting the best out of a venue and supplier?

There’s a fine line between negotiating and being unrealistic and offensive. Businesses price their products and services based on their experience and costs. It’s important to remember that when thinking about negotiating on a price.

My biggest tip is to be honest and transparent with your budget. You never know what a venue or supplier can do within your budget unless you ask. It may not be champagne and diamonds, but it could be vintage sparkling and gold.

Think about what you can offer in return. If your budget doesn’t stretch to what you want, what can you add as a service to fill the gap. This is a great tool for negotiation in the office too! What are you willing to offer? Don’t just focus on what you want to get. That’s taking, not negotiation.

Our big take-away:Negotiation is about give and take. Being honest about budget and adding value when asking for something is key.

Tips for the office influencer

Your job is to make brands stand out, what’s your number one tip for standing out or making your ideas stand out?

Be extra but always be authentic

So, the hair…does that fit into the extra?

My hair has been a bit of a journey! I’m happy to say 7 years ago Twidale Hair & Makeup Artists completed the transformation and still do my hair today!

It gets me a bit of attention. I planned a large conference last year, and one of the speakers finished the day off by saying “Big thanks to the organiser with the big hair”

You organise lots of fun events for your clients and social group. What’s your tip for convincing a group that your idea is the best?

I put a LOT of faith in my suppliers and I trust their guidance. I ask for recommendations to find the best suppliers/events/experiences. Producing the best event means working with the best suppliers so I always allow myself to be guided by them.

DOE HOT TIP– Always market the event with a hook. What’s in it for your audience? What your boss wants to know about the event to sign off will be very different to what your colleagues want to know to convince them it’s worth their time to come along. Know your audience and know what motivates them.

You’ve recently taken on the role of Event Consultant at a new Fortitude Valley venue, I’m guessing that’s your new venue recommendation?

Yes! City Winery Brisbane! To say it’s the new ‘it’ venue of Brisbane doesn’t cut it. City winery Brisbane is the first urban winery in Brisbane since 1860. The site boasts a full restaurant, private dining room and The Winery come Barrel Room which can be transformed into a stunning yet rustic destination for corporate events, weddings and private events. The site will be a working micro-winery, sourcing grapes from across Australia’s key growing regions, bringing them to the city where Winemaker Dave Cush, will create delicious wine!

The converted warehouse on Wandoo St (next door to James St Markets) hosts an incredible cuisine where nearly everything cooked will touch open coal fires. The venue is proud to produce a menu which reflects paddock to plate and nose to tail. All meats are butchered and dry aged on site. The menu is seasonal and changes weekly as we source only the freshest, local produce.

What it takes to be the office influencer

Although increasing your influence in the office might not happen overnight, what we have learnt from talking with Michael and from our own experience is that communicating the value of your decisions, being authentic and realistic will build trust.

Trust and confidence will help you take big strides in getting your boss, team and friends onside for any event you know is going to best suit them. Communicate clearly, know what they are looking for and make sure you ask your suppliers what is possible with what you have to work with.

You’ve got this.