Working as an event planner is my dream job. I get to create amazing experiences and work with some of the best people in the business. But what I’ve come to truly appreciate lately is the diversity of this incredible industry. This career can be perfectly suited to so many different personality types and educational backgrounds. It’s a career built around flexibility and adaptation but it’s important to know how your own skillset fits into this giant cog of constantly moving pieces.
Every event planner has their own style but generally we fall into one of two camps – the “left brained” analytical thinkers or the “right-brained” creative types. Both groups create amazing experiences but how each gets the job done can vary significantly. The key to success is to recognize your own style and fill out your team of partners and suppliers with those skills you lack.
That being said, there are still some skills that are universally vital for anyone wanting to work in events no matter how you decide to structure your services. These include:
- Organization – It’s even in the name! Simply carrying the title of “Event Planner” implies that you will be planning and planning requires organization! If you live for checking items off your to do list then that is an ideal place to start.
- Detail Oriented – You know that saying the “The devil is in the details”? It really couldn’t be truer in the world of events. Everything seems simple from a big picture perspective but in order for every aspect of your event to run smoothly you need to pay particularly close attention to all those little things that affect all those other little things. Details, details, details.
- Enthusiasm – This is a job that can require long days and a willingness to get your hands dirty – sometimes quite literally! You’re inevitably going to run into never ending days that will require extra strong coffee and a ton of energy. The more passion you have for what you’re doing, the easier it will be see the light at the end of the tunnel.
- Team Player – Events are built on teamwork and your ability to build and manage a stellar team can often make or break an event.
- Diplomacy – This skill can not be underrated. The ability to navigate through tight timelines, completing priorities and different personalities all while being diplomatic is essential.
- Time Management – Because events are live and have many (MANY!) deadlines the ability to effectively manage your time, as well as the schedules that affect your teams time, is imperative.
- Flexibility – Every event needs a plan but that plan should ALWAYS have wiggle room – and maybe even a few back up plans just in case. No matter how ready you think you are, events are unpredictable and there is always a possibility of hitting a roadblock. Those with the skills to think on their feet and find solutions fast are far better equipped to succeed under any circumstances.
- Level-headed – Having the stomach for working in stressful situations is a must. There’s a reason event coordination ends up on the top 10 lists of most stressful jobs year after year. It’s high pressure. Meeting the expectations of both clients and attendees, while juggling budgets and vendors and a myriad of moving pieces is not for the faint of heart. It’s a profession that demands tenacity, patience and a level head.
Now, I bet you’re wondering where the creative attributes are. Why didn’t they make the list? Although, creativity is certainly an asset, in my mind it’s not necessarily essential. As I mentioned, event planning really is a team sport and being part of a team gives you the freedom to work with those who have mastered skills you lack.
What’s truly essential in the events industry is your ability to effectively plan and communicate with all the important stakeholders. You need to be ready for the unexpected and show your dedication and passion for this exciting – and often exhausting – whirlwind of a business.