Successful Event Managers Need These Five Key Skills and Attributes


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If you are considering a career as an event planner, or you already work in events and need to know what it takes to progress, it is important to understand the skills you need to be effective.

Here are five key skills and attributes a successful event manager requires

1. Event Managers Require Clear and Effective Communication Skills

Nearly every job requires excellent communication skills. In event management, ineffective communication can result in significant problems for both the event planner and the client, and a simple misunderstanding can have very damaging results. Being able to effectively communicate thoughts and ideas is an essential skill applied every day by event planners for all size and profile events.

Examples of when effective communication skills are required include:

During verbal communication:

  • understanding information that is provided verbally by clients, suppliers and other stakeholders

  • ability to explain the purpose of an event to all involved

  • during negotiations

  • conducting verbal briefings and debriefings

  • ordering services and supplies

During written communication:

  • creating materials to market your services

  • developing event proposals for a prospective client

  • writing contracts with clients and suppliers

  • creating written briefing notes for staff

  • developing timelines, function sheets and run sheets

2. Event Managers Require Exceptional Organisational Skills

Successful event management relies on attention to detail. It is essential you have the ability to keep track of multiple tasks, numerous service providers, and suppliers and ever-evolving to-do lists all while managing your client’s expectations and relationships.

Many Event Planners manage more than one event at a time or they are in the planning stages of multiple events simultaneously. Events, such as annual conferences, can often take more than a year of planning so event managers must be highly organized throughout the full event planning period.

3. Event Managers Require Multitasking Abilities

Throughout the event planning process, there are numerous responsibilities, deadlines and tasks being managed. You may be simultaneously planning to meet with the client to discuss potential guest speakers, booking suppliers, interviewing contractors, investigating entertainment options or setting up your event marketing plan. For one or multiple events – and this can become quite a juggling act!

Successful event planners must have the ability to prioritize and focus on tasks, while still keeping an eye on other aspects of their event, to ensure that nothing is slipping behind or being missed out.

Event managers also need to be able to keep cool and not become overwhelmed by the numerous aspects of an event that need attention at any one time. You need to have focus and commitment to your goals while also being flexible in order to change tactics or plans when necessary.

4. Event Managers Require Creativity and Practicality

You need to have ideas! To be creative in designing innovative and attractive event themes, décor and engaging programmes. And to be creative not only in your ability to come up with innovative event design, but to be creative in your problem solving. Thinking creatively helps develop solutions to problems and allows you to always have a “can-do” attitude to making things happen and making them happen effectively.

However, it’s not enough just to be creative!

Effective event managers can also bring a vision to life. You need to be able to take an idea from a ‘dream” to an executable plan. Practical thinking and being able to consider the resources and logistics it will take to bring the event to life are essential for ensuring that creativity can be realised.

5. Event Managers Require People Skills

The most successful event planners are good with people! Understanding people and influencing and motivating them is an essential part of an event managers role.

Effective event planners are good listeners, empathetic, able to build and maintain rapport, inspire confidence, and able to converse easily with a range of different people.

Having good people skills smooths the way in many aspects of event planning including when:

  • Interacting with your clients, staff and event participants

  • Meeting with suppliers

  • Negotiating with venues

  • Planning menus with caterers

  • Pitching your event ideas to a prospective client

  • Networking

Being able to relate to different personalities, to connect with potential clients and making a positive impression are essential event planner attributes.

Learn more about how to develop your event planning skills with event training from The Event School London

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