Success in event planning as a career depends largely on two things. One is the fact that you absolutely love what you’re doing. Two is the set of skills that you are equipped with to ensure that all elements fall into place nicely. If you want to be a professional event planner, whether for your own startup or as part of an organization, the smart first step is to see that you are a good fit for the job. Organizing events is fun and exciting, but it takes a special set of traits to make yourself a true pro.
The good news is, if you already love everything about events management, then training for the hardcore skill sets will be a breeze. Take note that organizing for other people isn’t just about putting things together. If you see yourself doing this repeatedly for the entirety of your professional life, you need to be prepared maintain your performance and to treat each project like a fresh one. For most people, this won’t be easy. This level of commitment is what successful event planners have that sets them apart from those just dabbling in it.
Here are five event management skills you will need to have with every project, small or big, to ensure that each one ends with seeing a client beam with pride.
- Be personable.
All events have one thing in common — people. Successful event managers love working with other people and are good team players. The industry itself has a highly social environment and you will need to enlist the help of fellow humans to get things done. Understanding how people interact with each other and being observant with non-verbal cues are part of the work. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you will be spending most of your hours entertaining people and attending cocktails. In fact, it’s a different environment. Because you will be working behind the scenes, whatever socializing your clients will get to enjoy because of your hard work is theirs to enjoy. Meanwhile, you stand proudly at the sidelines and make sure there’s no glitch up to the very end.
Why do you need to be personable? This is because one of the most important event planning tasks is negotiation. You will be talking to vendors and suppliers, hotels and venue operators, catering managers, event staff, logistics and security teams, event guests and workers, and your clients. Knowing how to respond to different personalities, connecting with each of them, and leaving a positive impression matters.
- Be an excellent listener and communicator.
To be a successful event planner, you need to know how to listen to your client’s needs, to study verbal and non-verbal cues, and to explain your plans clearly and concisely. You also need to be pretty good at writing. Event organizers write proposals, make marketing materials, draft contracts for clients and suppliers, and write thank you notes. You
- Be highly organized.
The devil is in the details, as the expression goes, and that can’t be all the more true in the event planning industry. There are just too many big and small elements that need to be considered, not to mention the to-do list that keeps updating and multiplying. For many, this is a very daunting situation — but somebody has to do it. It requires an advanced degree of level-headedness to manage other people’s special moments while also ensuring that your personal life is intact. There are plenty of tools to stay organized. Some use tablets, others their phones, but many organiers will say nothing still beats plain old calendar note-taking.
- Be comfortable with multi-tasking.
Some event managers take projects one at a time, but the expert ones can certainly juggle several simultaneously. Even if just one event is being handled, there are several tasks that need to be addressed, like interviewing caterers, looking for the right venue, talking to different security providers and decorators, reviewing options for entertainment, and many more. Successful event planners keep many elements moving along at the same time while ensuring that none fall back.
- Be creative.
Successful event organizers are just overflowing with ideas and will always be on the lookout for inspiration. Add that to the ability to transform ideas into something tangible and executable. From developing a unique idea for a party to coming up with ways to get this idea done with a limited budget, planners have to live and breathe creativity.
Being an event planner isn’t just about mounting an event. It’s more of a calling, because you will be tasked to commit to seeing everything through with the client’s happiness in mind — even if you’re not in the mood. There will be days when it will feel so overwhelming but being a professional, you will have to perform. Overall, the key skill to become a success at this industry is to understand what being a professional means. When you have that, plus passion, you can make turn every event idea into — and with flying colors.