Considered to be one of the most stressful jobs out there, event planning consists of a plethora of tasks that require a lot of time, efforts, and dedication. If done right, the final result i.e. a well-planned, well-managed event is definitely worth it.
Apart from a certain set of skills that are imminent in achieving event success, the recipe to event planning also requires another key ingredient: experience. It is through experience and knowledge building that a planner gets molded, getting to know their way around.
So what is it that you acquire through your experience in the industry?
What are your takeaways from being an event planner?
Well, here are a few qualities that you are sure to develop over time, managing the stress, the chaos and the rush of the event planning industry:
Resourcefulness is a must in event planning. In order to create an amazing event that is a success, you need the right arrangements and a great plan. With time and experience, you’ll learn to work your way around things.
You’ll develop a habit of thinking on your toes in case some last minute additions or changes are required. As one event planner puts it, in an article by the Event Manager Blog,
“Whether it is a piece of tape, or re-working a display because the display across the aisle looks too much like yours. You have to be very resourceful and use what you have and to pool together the individuals you need.”
You’ll be a part of the event planning community over time and develop contacts in terms of vendors, the best venues, the best markets to visit for your requirements. You’ll have the ability to make the most of all your knowledge and all your contacts and develop a creative way of managing things.
2. Efficient under pressure:
The stress and the pressure of the d-day are something every planner will surely relate to. It is the nervousness that hits you when you think, “You’ve put in all your efforts, done your best and now it’s show time. What happens now?”
With every event that you organize, you’ll get used to the pressure, bit by bit. But, dealing with this stress of the job will help you develop some really important qualities that are a must for success.
It’ll teach you to be patient and level-headed. You may be required to take last minute decision or manage too many things at once with a shorter deadline.
You’ll eventually learn to go with the flow and deal with chaos efficiently. Your patience and tolerance levels are sure to rise!
Sometimes it is inevitable that things won’t go your way. That venue you wanted to book maybe overbooked or that amazing AV system you wanted might just be a bit tough on your budget. Flexibility is key in such situations.
Along with being resourceful, an event planner must also be flexible. Can’t book a venue? Book the next best one in your budget. Can’t negotiate with a vendor? Find another one. But be informed, by flexibility, I don’t mean you need to settle for things.
Flexibility is basically evaluating all your options and narrowing them down to the best ones. It is always good to have second options to fall back on in case something goes wrong. Flexibility is basically going with the choice that suits best to your requirements and your budget even if it wasn’t initially planned.
As you go along, planning more events over time, it will become a habit for you to have contingency plans ready for when required. You’ll let go of the rigidity and learn to do what’s best for the goal that you wish to achieve, i.e. a flawless event.
4. Interpersonal skills:
As an event professional, you are required to interact with a lot of different people. Be it your clients, vendors, your team, attendees, etc. developing interpersonal skills is crucial and inevitable in this profession.
Listening and communication skills are something that you’ll acquire with time in the industry.You must listen to the people, their requirements as well as their feedback and communicate your opinion, your vision that you have for the event and reach an agreement that is a win-win for all.
Interpersonal skills go a long way in this profession, any profession for that matter.An event professional that can listen, interpret it and implement the needs of people is bound to be successful.
You’ll learn to negotiate, to bring in the clients you had your eyes on or the sponsors you wished to get on board, all with time.
5. Organization skills:
This one’s a no-brainer. Event planning is the ultimate test of your organization and management skills. As an event planner, it is definitely required of you to juggle many things, may or may not be all at once.
But you need to take care of a lot of aspects of the entire planning process, from event budgeting, event marketing to the main event and even post the d-day i.e. feedback. It is your job to look over the entire event right from its inception.
It is essential for the planner to keep a critical eye towards every single task. As quoted in the Event Manager’s Guide to Event Planning, ” It’s unlikely that every single element will be flawless, so try and learn from elements that are going well as well as those that aren’t quite hitting the mark.”
With this, you learn a few things along the way. You learn to manage your time. Divide your tasks, assign deadlines and get to it. You acquire a knack for efficient multitasking along the way.
And it’s not just these tasks you’re supposed to manage. It’s the people you work with as well. It is a planner’s job to manage their team efficiently and see to it that from the vendor to every team member, each person is carrying out their tasks properly and are dedicated to it.
As an event planner, you learn to lead, to guide the members of your team and walk with them rather than ahead. You get in the field with your team while guiding them in order to get things done.
6. Detail oriented:
While planning and managing an event, every little detail matters just as much. Whether it’s that added contingency cost in your budget or that little piece of decoration that you need to order, everything has to be planned to the t.
Missing out on details can sometimes be a major setback for planners. You might be left with incomplete place settings or a mismanaged budget.Hence it is essential that you learn to look at the details no matter how trivial they may seem.
As you become more experienced as an event planner, you’ll learn to look at every minor detail from table settings to event security arrangements, nothing will miss your eye!
7. Tech savvy:
There have been some major developments in the field of event technology over time. It’s not just about creating the perfect PowerPoint presentation or getting the AV settings right anymore.
Event technology trends such as event websites, event apps, social media integration, etc. have been popularized and widely accepted. Creating an event website for e.g. is quite a common practice these days. Various SaaS products have been created to aid the same.
With a little time and effort, you might just be equipped enough to create your own social media and e-mail event promotion campaigns or your own event website with the right tools.You’re bound to emerge tech-savvier than you were when you entered the event planning industry.
One of the major problems that event planners these days face is shorter lead times. With the increasing popularity of the events industry and the technology to quicken the planning pace, the number of events organized in a set time frame is definitely rising with a shorter span of time to plan.
A key quality required to manage the event and to ensure that deadlines are met is decisiveness. Well thought out, yet quick decisions are what make the management process more efficient.
Even if shorter lead time isn’t a concern, unnecessary lingering on for a trivial decision is time wasted. Time that can be dedicated to making the event better and bigger. This, you will definitely realize later as you take up more events. Your knowledge and experience will surely help you take better and faster decisions and stick with those.
The event planning industry may be chaotic at times and a little stressful at other, but at the same time, it is vibrant and satisfying.
The feeling you get when you help create a great event with happy attendees and happier organizers is sure to make it all worth it. A few worthwhile lessons along the way that help you develop as a person are an added bonus.