Pulling off even a small event is a tough, demanding job. There are dozens of moving parts, and everything has to fall into place just so in order for the party, dinner, or conference to be a success.
And while the world of event planning is open to everyone from rookies to seasoned professionals, there are few key skills that all truly great event professionals must have.
Attention to Detail
Great live events don’t happen by accident. They take lots of planning and careful work to make sure everything goes off without a hitch. Being meticulous and paying attention to all the little things — everything from the correct spelling of your guests’ names to making sure the coat check has enough tickets — is probably the most important skill. It’s doubly important if you plan events for external clients. You want to be able to answer any questions quickly and with the most up-to-date information. It’s that skill that will keep clients coming back to you for future events.
Even if you’ve paid attention to every detail you can imagine; you’ve crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s, there will be last-minute situations that arise and require a new plan of attack. Being able to pivot and find new solutions needs to be second nature for a successful event professional. Whether it’s adjusting your digital seating chart or making accommodations for a guest’s dietary restrictions, or even dealing with a vendor who is running late, coming up with solutions on the spot is a must-have skill. Read how flexibility is the new currency for events here.
One of the keys to event management is just that — management. We have yet to meet a person who could put on a big event without the support of a hard-working team. That’s why knowing how to lead, and how to earn the trust and respect of your team is so important. No matter where you fall in your team’s hierarchy, knowing how to take charge of your projects and make sure everything that needs to happen gets done, will make you a rockstar amongst your coworkers.
Ability to Handle Stress
Planning events is stressful. There’s no way around it. That’s why it’s key for event professionals to be able to manage tensions and know how to diffuse situations if they arise. Whether it’s a frustrated guest, a client who is worried about turnout or fundraising, knowing how to quiet their concerns is an invaluable skill. But it works both ways, too. Event professionals — in order to stay sane — must know how to handle the pressures of the unique stressors of orchestrating special events.
Last, but certainly not least, event planners must have a great deal of empathy. In a stressful moment it can be difficult to put a guest, client, or co-worker’s needs above your own, but that’s the skill that will make you a pro at event management. It is also the skill that will keep your services in high-demand. If you can combine attention to detail, flexibility, leadership, and a low-stress demeanor with the ability maintain the perspective it takes to be empathetic, you have all the personal tools you need to plan and execute successful events.
These five skills are ones that you build and practice over time. The more events you organize, the better you’ll get at all aspects of event and guest list management!