Being a professional event planner and succeeding at it requires a specific skill set that generally involves being physically adept and mentally strong. Facing the multitude of creative, supply and logistics issues is normal to mounting events — and you have to be ready for them every time. As the lead of the project, a huge chunk of its success depends on you. What does it really take to be one?
- Build a solid network.
Having a network of suppliers and service providers that can easily tap for almost any event is important to your career. In every conference that you attend, or even a house party, take it as opportunity to tell others about yourself and your business. Also see it as a chance to know other people whose talents and businesses might be aligned with yours. Talk to people and get their contacts. You never know when you might need them in the future.
- Be flexible.
Understand and accept that not everything will go your way in an event. Thus, you must always be prepared for incidentals and make sure that you stay calm throughout the sudden change and transition process. Versatility will get you through many challenges. When you are confident about your ability to shapeshift as needed, the more confident you will feel about your work and the better the outcome will be — even if it’s not what you initially intended. Take every setback as an opportunity to try new things and don’t buckle at the slightest change in plans.
- Understand your job as an event planner.
You are the one planning the event and making sure things go swimmingly for your client. You’re not one of the guests, nor are you one of the suppliers. When things get super busy during the event, you might be tempted to help a teammate out in his or her tasks. Don’t. Your duty is to monitor the event. If you are busy doing micro tasks, you will have no eye on the whole picture and that’s when you tend to miss out on important things. If you are distracted by the small stuff, you won’t foresee that the food is about to run out, for instance, or that the entertainer scheduled to go up the stage in an hour hasn’t arrived yet.
- Be ready for “what if” moments.
Be prepared for emergencies. While your task is to supervise the event, when something goes wrong, the client will still likely turn to you for help. So, always be ready. Have an emergency kit on hand as part of your gear for the event. In line with being versatile and flexible, you might also want to take up basic first aid skills, just in case. This will give your client the impression that you are very organized and customer-oriented.
- Be tech-savvy.
There are plenty of resources, apps, and gadgets that will help make event planning a much easier task to mount and monitor. They also help you save a lot of time and money — and in most cases, manpower. Some software even offer features such as database management, online registration, inventory, polling, ticketing, among many others. In this day and age where the Internet is king, engaging attendees via technology also ramps up your event management company’s reputation as reliable and organized.