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4 Lessons learned working event security

Updated: Jan 26, 2021

I have been in several venues as either a venue security official or during executive protection details. Both have their own stories. This is about that fun part-time gig you decide to work at your favorite venue. Event Security is really as much about hospitality service than it is actual security. You are the first representative of the venue that the excited spectator will see. At that moment you will be part of their experience and their memories. I enjoy working event security for the experience of learning and it helps me in many ways with my other more permanent gig in executive protection. So what is it you learn. I have learned four valuable lessons working as an event security officer.

1) Focus and Slow Down: When you first greet the spectator, customer, or guest look at every one of them. This causes you to slow down and focus. When you are wanding people, checking bags, or checking identifications and there are thousands of people coming through your doors it is easy to miss items or miss certain behaviors if you are trying to hurry. To save the embarrassment focus on each individual. Even the little kids. This ensures that you haven't allowed a dangerous or prohibited item into the venue.

2) Hospitality Level Service: This also pertains to the first lesson. If you are like me and you are always accused of not smiling this will teach you to break that habit. To blend in you can't always have the stern bodyguard face and crossed arms. When you are patrolling the venue you will find lost children, medical emergencies, lost guests looking for their seat or a service, and will even find yourself in those volatile situations such as a fight or a rude guest. Most venues will allow you to defend yourself or others but they are not likely to allow you to physically remove a trespasser without calling the police. Therefore you must learn to use your words.

3) Learn to Learn: I think the biggest cop out anyone can use is "I wasn't trained." In large venues where there are many security posts and an up and down staffing situation you must learn to learn. In other words less speaking and more listening. It will take you a while to learn the venue but you will. I yearn for those times when I'm working a post I haven't worked. Don't be embarrassed to ask what you need to do at a certain post and make sure you watch others. Also, get an ear piece for your radio. You can learn a lot from listening to the radio. Learn checkpoints in a venue that teaches you how to navigate the venue. Believe me large stadiums or arenas can be confusing especially when there are suites and dressing rooms. Also when stages go up some parts of the venue might be closed to foot traffic. Even some members of security might not be allowed.

4) Stage, Field, Arena: If you make it to the stage area, the arena, or the field this is not a time to be a fan. In fact I don't talk to the talent unless they are talking to me. Act professional, do not look bored instead look ready. Prepare answers. "Excuse me, where's the restroom?" Have an answer. "Where's the elevator?" Have an answer. Some talent are cordial and extremely pleasant others can be total jerks. It's the line of work you're in. Get used to it. If you are at the front of the stage between spectators and talent, I reiterate be polite and be professional. Spectators will talk to you. Don't get distracted. You will get to know tour security. They are in charge of the show security wise so listen to them. Most of all just enjoy the experience.

Event security is a fun little side job. If you can afford the time I highly recommend it. You meet good people just remember many of the security officers are not from the security industry. If you are; be humble, be helpful, and enjoy yourself.

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