When it comes to event planning, you either have the skills, or you don’t. Anyone who has tried to plan even a small event knows that wrangling groups of people and organizing everything needed to keep those people happy can be stressful, to say the least. Those of us that thrive under pressure and are incredibly organized tend to thrive at event planning. After you’ve gotten several small successful events under your belt, you might be considering moving up the big time and taking up event planning as a career.
Outside of being stressful, event planning can be a rewarding and lucrative career if you play your cards right. Whether you’re planning a smaller gathering or wondering if it’s the right career path for you, you’ve come to the right place for tips for event planners.
It goes without saying that event planners must be very well organized and think on their feet constantly. However, there are many other traits that excellent event planners possess. Here are some of those traits.
Be overly communicative
Like personal relationships, the relationship between event planners and their clients is built upon communication. The problem is, the event planner cannot blow up at their clients for not communicating properly, or they will soon be out of a job. It’s crucial for event planners to share everything they are doing with their clients through emails, phone calls, texts, or whatever method works best. A client “in the know” is a happy client. If something changes last minute, it’s much easier to talk out a solution with your client if they are well informed on your processes.
Being communicative does not just involve your clients. You must also constantly communicate with vendors. You have to be the pain in their necks, calling them weekly (or daily if need be) up until the day of the event, confirming your arrangements. Calling and quizzing your vendors on the details of your agreement is an excellent way to keep yourself and them on their toes.
More important than merely communicating, the event planner must get a written sign-off from their clients and vendors that agree with their decisions. Having a detailed record of everything prevents clients from trying to break contracts or avoid payments.
Create a timeline
Once the event is in the books, create a detailed timeline to keep you, your clients, and vendors on track. Timelines morph as you search for and confirm vendors, so it’s normal to have multiple drafts. However, having in-stone deadlines for critical event components is vital for an event to run smoothly. For instance, wedding invitations must go out by date X; the DJ must be confirmed by date Y.
Be checklist obsessed
Checklists run a great event planner’s life. Be it daily, weekly, monthly, or day of the event, checklists help you rethink and revisit crucial plans that you may miss otherwise—especially as you take on more clients.
Have an assistant
No matter how good you are about keeping up with your checklist, we’re all human and forget things. That’s why it’s vital to have an assistant, especially as your event planning business grows. Suppose you’re not ready to hire an employee. In that case, there are many excellent freelance virtual assistants and virtual assistant agencies which can assist you with things like calendar management, email management, and billing tasks. Paying to have someone take these daily activities off your hands can give you a lot more time in your day for client interactions and business growth.
Always plan for the worst
If there’s one career path that proves Murphy’s Law correct, it’s event planning. If you’re unfamiliar, Murphy’s Law states anything that can go wrong will go wrong. That’s why an excellent event planner has thought of one, if not two, contingency plans for every aspect of the event. This event planning skill is perfected through experience, yet even rookie event planners should try their best to solve any possible problem. The truth is, it’s impossible to account for everything that can go wrong at an event. The best thing you can do is learn from previous events, have at least one backup plan for all the significant aspects of the event, and hope for the best.
Event planners must be personable, resourceful, and thick-skinned. If you’re considering a career in event planning but are unsure if it’s for you, there are plenty of ways to get experience without being hired by an event planner or throwing your own lavish parties. Look for non-profit organizations in your community that organize fundraisers and events where you can volunteer and get your feet wet.
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