So, should you be considering a career as an event manager? Well, it depends on you. An event manager job isn't for the faint of heart, especially in the B2B industry. It’s one of the most stressful professions in the world.
It requires grit, resilience, and a unique superpower of working under pressure. Despite that, it's a lifetime job for many. It can take you to many places and involves multiple tasks that keep you on your toes.
So, what does an event manager do? How is it different from an event planner? If you are good at planning and hosting parties, should you consider it a full-time career? Continue reading to find out.
What is Event Management?
Strictly in the business space, event management professionals focus on all aspects of the event, from start to finish. Most B2B events, including conferences, trade shows, workshops, seminars, webinars, meetings, gala dinners, and product promotions and launches, are educational and hosted to generate leads or build a relationship between the brand and its customers.
Event planning or management involves several or all these tasks:
- Finding a venue
- Designing an event stage and venue props
- Arranging for catering and entertainment
- Planning event logistics such as equipment, accommodation, and transportation
- Sending invites to attendees and promoting the event
- Engaging attendees during the event and collecting post-event feedback
- Analysing event performance and calculating the ROI
This list isn't an exhaustive one. And how many activities you'll be handling will depend upon the industry and event type and size.
Is Event Planning Different from Event Management?
In most cases, these two job titles are used interchangeably. Any differences between the two are usually due to the ways companies define this position. For instance, in some companies, event managers only work on large-scale events or handle onsite tasks, while event planners focus more on pre-event activities.
So, when you apply for this job, make sure to carefully read the description. Sometimes, this role is also referred to as “event designer” or “event coordinator.”
5 Essential Skills Every Event Manager Should Have
The meetings and events industry is a fast-paced one. It is constantly evolving, and even more so after the pandemic.
Successful event managers can easily keep up with these trends and developments, which is only possible after they master a few skills.
Here are the top five skills that every event manager possesses:
1. People Skills
This is perhaps the essential skill to ace the job of an event manager. Since an event management job requires dealing with different stakeholders and vendors, it is critical to know how to handle and collaborate with diverse people, including C-level executives, vendors, sponsors, customers, colleagues from other departments, event attendees, and so on.
This role requires event managers to create and sustain great relationships and negotiate and resolve conflicts. If you can manage that well, people will want to repeatedly work with you and help you excel at your job.
2. Organisational Skills
Running an event requires juggling between different tasks. An effective multi-tasker must have strong organisational skills during the planning and execution stages.
Most event managers have well-documented processes in place, detailed step-by-step checklists, and handy event management software to help them plan and organise events. These things will help them stay focused on the bigger picture without missing the small yet critical details.
And if things don't go as planned, they use their organisational skills and will immediately switch to “Plan B” without panicking.
Following the previous point on having a plan B, event managers need to think on their toes and be flexible as per the situation. That's because event management is highly fast-paced and unpredictable. It means you could manage the staff one minute while helping with the A/V the next minute.
Making tough decisions and resolving issues — quickly and confidently — are part and parcel of this job. The key to success is the flexibility and adaptability to do whatever must be done to get the show running.
4. Communication Skills
You need to be an approachable and confident communicator to ensure everyone understands the task at hand and the overall event goals. Even during stressful situations, event planners stay calm and communicate thoughtfully and respectfully with others, even if they are not a part of their team or organisation.
Be open to criticism and others' ideas. Remember, everyone is doing their part in bringing a successful event to life, and communicating confidently and respectfully will help them do that even better.
5. Problem-Solving Skills
Due to the unpredictable nature of event planning, event managers possess problem-solving skills and think on their feet. The last-minute glitches and unforeseen problems can become much easier only if they can find creative solutions to any issues that may arise.
Other skills required to be an ace event manager:
- You are comfortable working on weekends and extended hours
- You enjoy a fast-paced work environment
- You can stay focused even during the chaos
- You can confidently make decisions and possess interpersonal skills
- You are creative and an attentive listener
5 Benefits of Being an Event Manager
Presenting the top five benefits of being an event manager:
1. Involves a Variety of Tasks
Seasoned event managers will swear by this one— in-person event management involves various tasks and never gets mundane. In a single day, you could be finding a new venue, negotiating contracts, attending a demo for some event management software, or brainstorming event engagement ideas.
As an event manager, you'll likely have several different roles, and this variety is what adds spice to life. There is simply no room for boredom in the rapidly moving world of event planning!
2. Includes Travelling to Different Places
Event planning can take you places. Literally. Whether a workshop in the same city or a multi-day conference in a different country, you are bound to explore some exciting destinations and venues during your career as an event manager.
Whatever the destination, a career in event planning will give you occasional breaks and various experiences while testing event packages for your attendees, just like a working holiday!
3. Gives Access to Cutting-edge Technology
The events industry is evolving, innovating, and experimenting with technologies to engage its attendees. As an event manager, you'll work with some exciting event tech solutions, such as 360-degree cameras, virtual reality, RFIDs, and drones.
At a time when attendees expect technology to improve their experiences, you can potentially be looking into the future and adapting to tech trends. Also, event technology isn't just for your attendees. For instance, when you use an event platform, you remove the stress of planning and automate the process for a streamlined event management experience.
4. It's a Creative Role
If you are creative and have lots of ideas about creating memorable events, then the event manager job is for you. This role allows you to convert your vision into reality, from concept to execution.
When you can express yourself through events, you are likelier to be happier and have a more balanced life. It lets you unleash your creativity, which is something not everyone can say about their work.
5. Has Great Rewards and Recognition
Event planners are hardworking individuals. And when their hard work is recognised and rewarded, it goes a long way to keep them motivated and improve their performance.
Whether a simple thank you note or overwhelming positive feedback or testimonial from attendees, it can boost your event prof career, allow you to climb your career ladder in no time, and undertake exciting projects.
Stages of Event Management
A typical in-person event involves five stages, which can further be broken down into multiple tasks. If you are planning an online event such as a webinar, then you’ll likely skip the part that involves finalising the venue and F&B. The stages of planning online or hybrid events are slightly different, and a topic of another article.
As an event manager, you will probably be involved in different stages of several events at any given time.
Stage 1: Research and Set Goals
The first stage of any event planning, whether it is for your organisation or clients, is to determine the objective and feasibility of your event. The event's overall goal can be to generate leads, raise funds, launch a new product, or celebrate the company's anniversary.
Based on the event type, get answers to the following questions:
- For corporate events: Understand the business case of the event. Will it be educational or promotional?
- For non-profits: Is there any specific fundraising goal? Who is the event for—long-term donors or new members too? Will the event coincide with an exhibit?
- For awards ceremonies: When should the F&B happen—before or after? Should it have a standing cocktail hour or a more formal sit-down setup? Is there any seating layout?
- For networking events: How many breakout sessions should the event have? Do you want attendees to join a particular social media group or download the app before the event?
Once you know the format, it's time for event budgeting and goal setting. All the subsequent tasks and event planning stages must align with your goal and budget.
Stage 2: Decide Event Theme and Design
This stage involves creating an event strategy based on the goals. It includes designing the theme and finalising the following things:
- How will you engage the attendees?
- What will be the flow and agenda of the event?
- Who will deliver the keynote, and how many speakers or performances will be there?
- When and where will it occur? How long will the event be?
- What will be the layout of the stage, podium, stage, tables, chairs, and breakout areas?
- Will you be distributing swags and giveaways?
This is your time to unleash your creativity and experiment with elements such as colour, lighting, sound, etc. Event managers usually use event technology such as Cvent to streamline this process and ensure everyone is on the same page.
Stage 3: Event Details
Once the event manager has finalised the event's vision, it's time to translate the idea into a reality. This stage includes several critical event management activities, such as:
- Sending RFPs to vendors and venues
- Finalising venues, speakers, vendors, and performers (and having a contingency plan).
- Discussing the schedule with speakers and performers.
- Creating an event website for attendees to register and finalising a customized event app (totally depends on your budget).
- Designing pre- and post-event surveys.
- Sending guest invites and reminders.
- Finalising event hashtags for social buzz and launching pre-event social media campaigns.
- Tracking event registration numbers.
- Outreach and event marketing. This stage also involves negotiating with sponsors and exhibitors based on the event type.
- Training the team and volunteers.
- Doing a dry run at the event to check the event's Wi-Fi, logistics, and arrangements.
- Designing the check-in process or testing onsite check-in tech and creating signages.
- Building branded merchandise for distribution.
Stage 4: Event execution
This is the D-day for any event manager. It is the culmination of all the hard work and planning involved in the previous stages. Based on the event scope, the execution can begin on the morning of the event or a few days before. It includes several tasks such as:
- Setting up the registration desks, stage, podium, tables and chairs, floral arrangements, centrepieces, buffet tables, etc.
- Conducting final soundchecks, tech, and walkthroughs.
- Guest arrival, check-in, and communication.
- F&B service.
- Ensuring speakers and performers understand their cues.
- Social walls and guest polls.
- Managing attendee exit and giving swag bags.
Stage 5: Post-event Communication and Reporting
Event management doesn't stop the moment the event ends. It also means that event managers must understand how attendees, volunteers, sponsors, speakers, and others feel about the event.
Collecting participant feedback can start as early as the event by observing guest reactions, talking to attendees onsite, and sending surveys during the event. Sending a post-event survey 24-48 hours after the event has ended is also a good way to know the pulse of the event.
Equipped with the data, event managers can report on the performance of their event and share it with all the stakeholders. Based on the survey outcome, they internally discussed what went wrong and devised an action plan to avoid similar issues in the future.
Get Started with Event Planning with These 3 Tips
If you think you have what it takes to be an event manager, then here's how you can get started in the industry.
1. Consider Niches
The event manager role is filled with niches and nuances. While some excel at planning all types of events, a few like to do more specific ones. For example, you might find wedding planning thrilling, while large corporate events might not be your cup of tea. Think about the events that interest you and plan your career accordingly.
Whenever you can, volunteer for events. For instance, if an organisation interests you, you can see if they have any volunteering opportunities to gain valuable experience. This is especially true for non-profits and charity events, which rely heavily on fundraisers to raise money. Volunteering gives you vital event planning experience like no other.
3. Learn from the industry leaders
You can also learn more about event planning by taking some time out to learn from industry leaders. Attend professional meetup groups in your town or city and expand your network.
Start Your Event Manager Career Today
If you have organisation and time management skills in your day-to-day activities, you sure have the knack for event planning. Put your skills and resources to good use and start your career as an event manager.
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.