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Reflective journal capturing the client’s experiences as part of the presentation team.

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Abstract

This three-part reflective journal captures my experience in carrying out an assignment. The entries are the reflections after information gathering, preparing the presentation, and presentation to the sponsors. Some of the insights I gain one part may apply on another part given the progressive nature of carrying out the assignment.

Introduction

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These journal entries enabled me to reflect on the tasks, analyse the activities and feelings, and relate the whole learning process to theory. I believe it has significantly improved my skills in sports business management. The structure I use in reflective writing is, first, to give an objective description of what I see, do or hear. Secondly, I interpret or reflect on the issues or observations. I then evaluate the effectiveness of the experience. Finally, I plan on how the new insights will apply in future (Boud et al, 2006).

The assignment required our group to prepare a presentation for sponsors of a sports event. The event was “Hard Rock Calling” which is an annual music festival, which, in 2013, will be in The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London. It was apparent that the assignment was quite involving since it required a detailed analysis every aspect of the event as well as a wholesome understanding of the business side of things. It was, therefore, quite proper that the undertaking was a group-work.

The key assumption in our approach of the assignment was that we were the key committee that was organising and managing the event. However, it should be clear that key information on the event is available online and on printed media. Any information not readily available we could extrapolate from available data from the past and present.

My group has four members, the other three being Flavio, Faye, and Liene. Each of us has contributed towards the result as per requirements. The first part was to divide duties in the information gathering stage. As it was, we had different approaches to group interaction. For me, this was a potential source of friction for us, and the main challenge was to deliver results in time and with the right quality.

I believe that the competencies that we have acquired so far has enabled us gather information effectively as well as plan for the execution of the assignment. The main aspects that we focused on during information gathering were the historical aspects of the event, the attendance figures, the possible sponsoring partners and the previous event organisation strategies. We were then to integrate these to come up with statistics and valuable propositions for the sponsors.

The group meetings were largely successful since we got to agree on the way forward. However, I initially felt that some group members were aggressively forwarding ideas for implementation before building consensus within the group. This does not imply that I did not appreciate the spirit of their actions and their approach. This was challenging because I wanted the valuable contributions but also had to learn to perceive the intentions of the group member. This is not an exact science, but trial and error.

A group implies interdependence; my outcomes, experiences, feelings, actions, and my thoughts depend partly on other group members. Usually, this is reciprocal especially if each member does his or her part as in our group. McGrath’s model for group tasks identifies tasks such as planning, creativity, and intellective tasks that require cooperation versus decision-making where conflict is likely to occur (Forsyth, 2010, pp8). This would explain my inner conflict when a group member pushes forward an idea in a manner I am likely to construe as aggressive.

The group had allocated tasks, and there was a clear timeline for the integration of information in to a general format for the presentation. The event organisers (group members) got to work. The event had been a success before, and this may explain, in part, the high motivation of the group members on the task.

Having analysed my interaction with the group members, I realised that I should talk to them about my concerns. I chose to do this informally in order not to stifle any positive contribution from the others. The main issue was to propose a more inclusive and considerate decision-making where the group explores all aspects before making a decision or implementing an idea (Boud et al, 2006). Further, the group also opened my mind to the issue of my perception of the intention of the other members.

ENTRY TWO: Preparing the Presentation

Information gathering had been successful so far, and the group proposed bringing together the information in to an outline of the presentation in order to identify the information gaps. The group was aware that if they staged the actual event themselves, the technical skills, people skills and work output necessary would be much higher. Therefore, doing a thorough job was the closest we can get to acquire the event organisation skills.

The information that the group members had gathered could not convince any sponsor. The team needed to come up with a brand promotion and advertising strategies that guaranteed the sponsors that they will be exposed to the right audience. Further, the team would come up with a budget that would determine the cost of the whole event, which would pass down to the sponsors who agreed to be a party in this undertaking.

The process itself involved a lot of brainstorming on ideas that would work. Furthermore, we agreed to give different levels of service to cater for differences in taste and purchasing power. The team had proposed coming up with a convincing argument that made economic sense and an accompanying evaluation that we would present to the sponsors. All the information and analyses were forming a convincing report. This was because of the high calibre of artists that will grace the event and the media coverage that previous events had been attracting.

The group as a whole was growing with every issue that we tackle together. It is amazing how members have attributes that bring out the best in them. At the same time, they have some attributes that are either annoying, negative or can easily cause disharmony if the group does not learn to work with or around them. Problem solving as an individual is quite different from problem solving in a team. The team generates more ideas and alternatives but may spend too much time on a single item.

I felt that there were skills that each person brought to the team that were due to their natural disposition or way of thinking. It was also evident that to organise and manage the event required a wide array of skills, all of which a sport business manager acquires in the course of his study and work. Furthermore, simple work ethics like showing up on time, concentrating on this business, and being considerate of your fellows in an undertaking binds the team together even more.

Previously, I had thought that we would complete the task easily. However, the opposite was true due to the zealousness of members and the apparent complexity of making decisions while in a group. As time went by, contribution and decision-making became easier due to the members learning to anticipate how each will act, react, or approach a given issue.

Sport business management requires a range of competencies. The first set relates to information management (Gerrard, 2003). This involves writing, promotion of services and goods, advertising, developing publications and working with the media. In order to succeed in this area, the team should be able to raise funds while selling merchandise and services related to the event. These competencies assisted the group members to go through the initial phases of the assignment.

The second group of competencies relates to the management of the organisation. This involves budgeting, accounting, managing personnel and facilities, and coordinating the various functions and stakeholders. The various management functions such as controlling, directing, leading and evaluating are very necessary for the event to succeed. It comes to mind that Hard Rock Cafe and Live Nation Entertainment or their appointed event managers have to put these competencies to practice.

The assignment so far has been an eye-opener on the skill-set necessary in my line of profession. Further, the execution of the duties related to the assignment is exemplary. I, however, feel that organising the actual event would have taken much more, and I was to speculate on how we would handle such a task. The next stage was to come up with the actual brief presentation that we will present to the sponsors.

ENTRY THREE: Presentation and Feedback

The group had a colourful PowerPoint, which we presented together to the sponsors of the event. I feel that every task is a chance to learn and build on the aspects of group interaction and growth that I observed on previous occasions. The presentation is the culmination of all the work and ideas we have put forth during the preparation. I believe that the presentation determines whether sponsors will take up the idea or not.

The group prepared a colourful PowerPoint presentation that was brief but contained the essential elements that were of interest to the sponsors. Each of us had mastered the whole process while we were putting the presentation together. We, however, agreed to take turns presenting on the actual day. I presented the past and present partners of “Hard Rock Calling”, the Return on Investment, and the reasons for sponsorship (the first few reasons).

The team rehearsed with each of us taking turns to present the area that we had allocated. The presentation was a success, and we answered the few questions that arose. A group of students represented the sponsors and, on my part, I felt that the familiarity would not provide the edge that is usual when there are such high stakes.

Having applied the skills of information gathering and analysis to come up with the presentation, I feel that I have improved my ability to organise events. This is evident from the quality of the presentation and information that our group gave. I, however, feel uneasy doing oral presentations especially to a new group of people. This does not mean I don’t do present well; I want to be excellent since this would enable me to win in a competitive process.

The aspect of return on investment was convincing given that the main thing that the sponsors seek is brand exposure. I, however, have a feeling that other parts of the presentation demonstrate the return on investment in a better way. This is because issues such naming of the arena, branding of the staff uniform, and using advertising space within the park is quite self-explanatory. The evaluation shows the numbers involved and the demography targeted.

The involvement of all the members in the process of preparing the presentation is one key pillar for the success. I believe that teamwork and the ability to work in a group are key aspect of the changing 21st Century workplace (Moon, 2001). The common saying “individuals win trophies and teams win championships” is a reality given the pace of development in the 21st century and the amount of information that is available to the public.

As I reflect on the presentation, I think that the sponsors are getting more than we led them to believe. This implies that we undersold the event. My reason is that the event grows every subsequent year beginning 2006. Further, the media coverage via print media is wide, and the electronic media covers the event well. This would imply plenty of free prime time exposure for the sponsors. A counter argument would be that the event is almost an “all British affair”. However, Britain is a large enough market given the status of “Hard Rock Calling”.

Conclusion

I believe that our presentation was a success, and we gained a lot of insight on how to work as a group. If the sponsorship depended on our presentation, we would have clinched the deal. I also have to learn, first hand, the range of skills I would require in order to excel in my profession. Furthermore, public speaking and presentation skills are a requisite for most managers in any field.

References

Gerrard, B (2003) Editorial Introduction: Some Reflections on the Relationship between Sport Management and the Economics of Sports, Bill, European Sport Management Quarterly, Vol. 3.

Forsyth, D. R. (2010) Group Dynamics, 5th Ed., Wadsworth Cengage Learning

Moon, J (2001). Short Courses and Workshops: improving the impact of learning, training and professional development, Kogan Page, London.

Boud, D., Cressey, P. and Docherty, P. (Eds.)(2006). Productive Reflection at Work: Learning for Changing Organisations. London: Routledge.

Johns, C. (2006). Engaging Reflection in Practice- a narrative approach, Oxford Blackwell Publishing. pp.42

Masteralexis, L. P., Barr, C. A., & Hums, M. A. (2012). Principles and practice of sport management. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Thornton, P. K., Champion, W. T., & Ruddell, L. (2012). Sports ethics for sports management professionals. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett.

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