High-profile weddings, product launches, and more have glamourised the life of event planners. But let’s face it, event planning is more than just attending fancy parties. Event planning is one of the most stressful jobs in the world and requires specialised skills. It is a rewarding career for a rare breed of hyper-organised, hard-working individuals. If you think you were born to be an event planner, see how many of our top 12 event planning skills you have.
Event Planning Skills
Event planners have great organisational skills. Some people can work in chaos, but as a planner it’s important to rely on process and method if you are part of a team. This means, keeping your team informed, adhering to timelines, budgets, and appointments as well as keeping important documents and information organised. After all, a well-executed event doesn’t happen by accident. It requires sharp organisational skills and attention to detail – right from planning to post-event analysis. A successful event planner can recall the minutest of details and is on top of everything – forever with a smile.
Another must-have quality of an event planner is the ability to interact and build a rapport in a short time. Event planners possess great communication skills and aren’t afraid to talk to C-suite executives, event attendees, donors, brand sponsors, and, of course, vendors. Strong interpersonal skills are a must to ensure everybody involved in the event understands their role and things run without a glitch. You also need to possess equally strong writing skills to convey information accurately with confidence, respect, and clarity. Event planners are great listeners, which helps them understand the needs and wants of their clients.
Event planners are savvy networkers. Networking is an essential event planning skill since the events industry is based on relationships and is heavily people-driven. It demands a widespread network of vendors, including photographers, lighting and A/V décor, DJs, bands, videographers, etc. This is a network of people you’ll bank upon to make your events memorable.
A Basic Understanding of Events
It may be a no brainer, but to be a great event planner you need to understand events. Having an understanding of how events work is an important event planning skill. As a planner, you should know how to create a floorplan or draft an RFP, how to review a contract and analyse event data. You should also be well-versed in the basics of bands and DJs, A/Vs, florists, décor, etc. It is an artistic job that requires a deep understanding of what is realistic and what isn’t. These skills require learning and practice and are acquired over time.
One of the most difficult aspects of event planning is making clients happy. Bottom line: your stakeholder, whether clients or senior management, want something and it is your job to make it happen. To do this with grace, event planners need to have a strong dedication towards serving clients. Even if the task is near impossible, you need to be polite with your replies.. When you’re courteous and amicable, it eases any anxieties your client may have.
Successful event planners can solve any problem with a cool head. Their resourcefulness is not just limited to sticky notes and safety pins. They can quickly make a decision during unforeseen challenges – all while staying calm. They can keep an audience engaged while the keynote speaker is stuck in a traffic jam or eliminate long lines for lunch. This event planning skill keeps event organisers nimble, adaptive, and creative. Problem-solving skill also comes with time and if you are just starting, you can improve your response by focusing on pre-event planning to iron out any kinks. The key lies in continuously checking for holes in your plans and creating backup plans in case things turn south.
Negotiation and Budgeting
If you consider yourself good at bargaining, then you possess an important event planning skill. It is crucial for event planners to be able to negotiate a contract with a sponsor or get the best possible deal while booking a venue. Negotiating is an art that requires a mix of preparation, tact, and confidence. Budgeting requires forecasting and tracking spend while juggling invoices, proposals, and expenses.
For event organisers, multitasking is not an option but a must-have event planning skill to create unforgettable events. You need to juggle a lot of tasks, including ticket sales, event promotion, sponsorship acquisition, and day-of logistics. Adding to that, there are multiple events that you need to plan simultaneously. If you have a team, you can delegate some work, but ultimately it is your job to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
Event planning is more than just making a to-do list. As an event planner, you need to use your creativity to bring a vision to life. No matter what people say, creativity is a learnable skill and can be built over time. It is an essential event planning skill that is required to infuse authenticity and passion into each event. Even though your events may not have a lot of room for innovation and creativity, there is always wiggle room to do things differently even if you are limited by the requirements of your client. For instance, you can be creative with the event theme, choose a unique venue or have a motivational speaker. For some creative ideas, seek inspiration from online blogs, social media channels, or an influencer.
Being a leader is an essential planning skill for any event organiser. You need to be able to work with your team to execute flawless events. It is all about trust, delegation, and getting the work done. If you aren’t a born leader, this skill can be developed over time. You don’t need to be extrovert to be a great leader. Your natural personality along with your passion for event planning can help you develop leadership skills.
Passion for Planning
As cliched and obvious as this may seem, being can aid in your success. A successful event planner infuses qualities like passion and enthusiasm in their everyday work. They are self-motivated and live to feel a pang of pride after delivering an event that their guests truly enjoyed.
Not so long ago, technology in the events industry was considered a nice bonus, but not needed. Not anymore. Today, technology solutions act as an extended team of event planners. While the massive shift in the event planning approach doesn’t demand planners to know the solution inside out, it’s important to be willing to learn how to use tech solutions and stay up to date on the current trends in the industry.
If you have most of these event planning skills, chances are you’ll do a great job at being an event planner. If not, you can still become a successful event professional since most of these can be developed through determination and willingness to learn. It is all about continuous learning and improving with each event.