March 02, 2023
By Cvent Guest

What does it take to be a successful event planner?

High-profile events and product launches may have glamourised the life of event planners. But event planning is far more than just attending fancy parties. Event planning frequently ranks as one of the most stressful jobs in the world, and with the events landscape constantly evolving, today's event professionals need to have a diverse range of multidisciplinary skills.    

At the same time, event planning also offers a rewarding and exciting career path. So, let's look at the top skills event planners need to succeed today.

Top event planning skills you need to succeed  

1. Organisational skills

person filling out checklist

A well-executed event doesn't happen by accident. Great event planners are highly organised and can implement the right processes to ensure an event runs smoothly.  

Since you often work to tight deadlines, this usually means ensuring that timelines are adhered to, which requires excellent time management skills. But you’ll also need to be able to keep on top of your event budget, track important information and prioritise.  

Everyone is different, so finding the best way to stay organised and on top of your tasks is essential. Whatever your method, make sure you can find the correct information when you need it. 

Next step: Check out our step-by-step onsite planning checklist to help you stay on top of your organisational skills.  

2. Great communication

The ability to connect and build rapport with people is another must-have skill for event planners. 

Great event planners are great communicators and can speak with a diverse range of stakeholders, including C-suite executives, event attendees, donors, brand sponsors, and, of course, vendors. 

Strong communication skills are also necessary to ensure that everyone involved in the delivery of an event is clear on what their role is.  

You must also possess strong writing skills to convey information accurately and clearly.  

Next step: Learn top tips on how to communicate the value of your events to stakeholders in this handy guide.  

3. Emotional intelligence 

Emotional intelligence is another piece of the communication puzzle. This means having the ability to understand, control, and respond to your own emotions and the emotions of those around you.  

Why is this an essential skill for event planners? 

Because, among other things, emotional intelligence impacts how we work with others, manage stress, and deal with conflict.  

People with higher emotional intelligence perform better when it comes to decision-making and problem-solving, have greater empathy and can respond positively to constructive criticism.  

Since event planning can be highly stressful, these traits will be essential to deal with things going wrong.  

Additionally, your clients and stakeholders may have big ideas about what they what from an event. Possessing emotional intelligence will allow you to communicate and manage expectations in a calm and empathetic way.   

4. Tech savviness 

Einsatz von Technologie vor Ort

The events industry has been experiencing a digital transformation in the last few years.

The shift to virtual events during the pandemic has had a long-lasting impact on how we run events. Planners suddenly had to learn how to run engaging virtual events, which required a new set of digital skills.  

Events are now more digitised, with in-person events incorporating more digital elements and hybrid events becoming a core event format for many.  

For planners, this shift to digital means that adapting to and learning new technologies is critical. 

You'll need to be able to work with IT and tech teams to understand the technology you need to deliver your events, whether in-person, hybrid or virtual.  

Similarly, event technology is a core part of any event. While you don't necessarily need to be an expert on all the event tech available, it does help to understand how event management software can help you manage and automate many steps along the planning process.  

Next step: Along with being tech-savvy, it's important to stay up-to-date with how the industry is evolving. Check out this blog post to learn the top trends shaping the events industry

5. Networking skills


The best event planners are savvy networkers.  

Why? Because the industry is driven by strong relationships. Your ability to deliver a successful, memorable event will rely on having a strong network of vendors, including venue partners, photographers, lighting and A/V, DJs, videographers, etc. 

One relationship that will be particularly important to nurture is that with venues. If you have a strong relationship and trust with your venue partner, it will be easier to negotiate when sending an RFP.  

6. Problem-solving and flexibility 

Never has Murphy's Law — the saying that whatever can go wrong will go wrong — been more true than when it comes to events. 

This is because dealing with unexpected challenges to your events is a necessary and inevitable part of the job. Whether it's dealing with global events like a pandemic or an accumulation of things going wrong at your event, you'll need to be able to keep a cool head and adapt quickly to the situation.  

Other related skills include being agile, adaptable, and finding creative solutions to problems. 

7. Negotiation 

If you consider yourself good at negotiating, you already have this important event planning skill.  

Being able to negotiate the best possible deal with a venue or a contract with a sponsor are just two examples of where this skill can come into play. 

Negotiating is a skill that requires a mix of preparation, tact, and confidence. The good news is that practice makes perfect!

8. Juggling multiple priorities 

As an event professional, you'll need to be able to juggle multiple tasks at once.  

From managing the planning process to event promotion, sponsorship acquisition and day-of logistics, there are many things to think about throughout the event planning process.  

Additionally, there may be multiple events that you'll 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.   

9. Creativity  

Event planning is more than just following a to-do list. As an event planner, you'll need to use your creativity to not only bring your vision to life but also create memorable experiences for attendees. 

If you're limited by the requirements of your client, you may not always have a lot of room for innovation and creativity. But even here, there is always wiggle room to do things differently — for instance, you can be creative with the event theme, choose a unique venue or have a motivational speaker. 

And contrary to what you may think, creativity is a learnable skill that you can build over time. One way to help develop your creative skills is to bring together a team - whether in-house or with your partners - to brainstorm creative ideas.  

Also, don't be afraid to take risks, where appropriate, with your event. 

Being creative can also mean rethinking your event strategy or taking a different approach.  

10. Leadership  

Leadership is a vital quality for any budding event professional.  

As a leader, you're responsible for helping to develop a strategy and ensure that your events run smoothly and deliver on key objectives.  

You may also be supervising an entire event team, in which case, being able to unite and bring that team together is critical.  

Leadership qualities also extend to many of the skills mentioned above. Being able to communicate with stakeholders, having empathy for your team, and being able to problem-solve effectively, are all key examples of showing leadership. 

 11. Passion 

It may seem obvious, but having a passion for event planning will get you through the toughest days.  

As we've seen, event planning is an extremely active profession — you're constantly on the move, juggling a million and one priorities. Without passion for what you do, this can become overwhelming.  

A successful event planner infuses qualities like passion and enthusiasm into their everyday work. They are self-motivated and live to feel a pang of pride after delivering an event that their guests truly enjoyed.  

So, what is it you love about events? Is it being able to bring people together and build connections? Or perhaps you love the variety and the fact that no two events are ever the same? 

12. Budget management 

Unsurprisingly, delivering events also means being able to handle an event budget. As a planner, it's your responsibility to ensure that your event budget is met or, if it looks like you'll go over budget, to find ways to mitigate this.  

When it comes to your budget, you'll need to be able to forecast and track spend, whilst also juggling invoices, proposals, and expenses.  

Next step: Check out our event budgeting guide for top tips on how to stay on top of your event budget.

Bonus: Basic knowledge of events 

It may seem like a no-brainer, but being a great event planner means you should understand the fundamentals of what it takes to run an event.  

While you don't need to be an expert on everything, having a broad knowledge of the various elements required to pull off an event successfully is key.  

Examples of things you should know include: 

Understanding what goes into running an event also means that you know what is realistic and what isn't. Having these basics under your belt will enable you to better communicate with your suppliers, vendors, and venue partners.  

Take your event planning skills to the next level 

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.  

See how you can stay up-to-date with the latest event industry developments and take your event planning skills to the next level with the Cvent Academy.

Cvent Guest

Cvent is a market-leading meetings, events, and hospitality technology provider with more than 4,000 employees, ~21,000 customers, and 200,000 users worldwide.

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