The role of an event planner is rarely easy, but it can be extremely rewarding. However, event planning isn’t a career for everyone. The event planning industry can be extremely stressful and requires you to have seemingly never-ending energy.
In other words, it takes a special kind of person to thrive in event planning. In addition to event planning knowledge and skills, your personality needs to be a good fit if you want to be one of the most successful event planners. With that in mind, here are 10 traits and skills the best event planners share. How many do you have already?
Event planners typically have bursting calendars and rely on long checklists to make sure they get things done. If you don’t have great prioritization skills, you’ll get overwhelmed and fall behind schedule very quickly. One checklist isn’t good enough. You’ll need to write and rewrite your checklist dozens of times as you plan an event.
Everything will not go as planned. That’s the one thing you can count on as an event planner. There will be obstacles, last-minute changes, and unexpected problems that pop up along the way. To be a successful event planner, you need to be flexible enough that these bumps in the road don’t slow you down.
There are so many parts and pieces to the puzzle that is event management. If you’re not an organized person, critical pieces of that puzzle will fall through the cracks. You need to keep moving toward your end goal (the big event) while managing all of the details and without forgetting anything.
Often, decisions have to be made on the fly in event planning. You might not get much lead time before you need to make a critical decision. That means you need to be able to make large and small decisions with strategic consideration sometimes and instant decisions with little time to think at other times.
5. Quick Thinking
Change is your only constant in event planning and problems are common. Don’t let that deter you from pursuing an event planning career. It can be very rewarding, but to be a successful event planner, you need to be a quick thinker. The band didn’t show up. The lighting isn’t working. Tickets aren’t selling like you thought they would. You need to be able to come up with quick solutions to keep your event on track.
As an event planner, you’ll be working with a lot of people. These could include your own team members, a client’s team members, the venue staff, concessions staff, parking contractors, volunteers, and more. You need to have the confidence to lead all of these people toward a common goal, which is to hold a successful event. You need to be able to build a team and manage it to reach its full performance potential.
If you prefer to work on just one task at a time, then event planning isn’t the right career choice for you. Event planners are constantly juggling multiple tasks, priorities, and problems. If you can’t multi-task and stay organized and calm at the same time, event planning will be particularly challenging for you.
Event planners have to negotiate contracts with vendors, compensation with staff, fees from clients, and much more. Not many people are naturally good negotiators. If you are, then you’re already one step closer to being a successful event planner.
An event planner who isn’t a good communicator will have a very hard time organizing successful events. In your role, you’ll communicate via email, text, phone, and in-person with a variety of people. You’ll need to be able to adjust your communication style to match your audience and effectively push your event forward while maintaining positive relationships with everyone you come into contact with. It’s both an art and a science.
You need to be dedicated to the event planning industry with a real passion for it to be truly successful. The reason is simple. Event planning requires a massive amount of time and energy. It’s extremely stressful, and the compensation doesn’t always match what you put into it. In fact, according to research by CareerCast, event planning ranked as the fifth most stressful job in 2017. You need to love what you do to excel as an event planner.
Your Next Steps
To be a successful event planner, you need each of the personality traits and skills listed above in addition to knowledge and experience. Fortunately, many of the traits and skills listed above can be learned if you don’t possess them naturally. Most importantly, don’t give up. The more events you plan, the more your skills will improve.