The 6 Must-Have Event Planning Skills You Need for Career Success

Being an event planner is both a rewarding job and rated to be one of the most stressful in the world. So when it comes to securing a successful path through the events industry, you’re going to need a diverse set of baseline event planning skills to help you.

Here are the six event planning skills you need for career success:

1. Organizational Skills

Event planners are highly organized people. So topping our list of must-have qualities is a keen eye for detail and sharp organization.

Planners keep client timelines on schedule, budgets in check, and details running like a well-oiled machine — from the strategy stages to the post-event checklist.

Planners should be able to recall even the smallest of details, meet deadlines, schedule deliveries and setups, and be on time with everything – all with a smile.

Here are a few resources to help you hone your organizational skills:

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2. Networking Savvy

All the best planners are savvy networkers. The events industry is heavily people-driven and relationship-based. So, you’ll need a great network of diverse event professionals, such as caterers, photographers, DJs, bands, lighting and A/V, décor, video, and beyond.

You’ll call upon this network to make your events ones that your clients will never forget. On the flip side, you also want that same network referring business to you.

Not sure how to get started? Here are a few ideas…

  • Attend industry networking events hosted by organizations like ILEA, NACE, and MPI.
  • Practice networking on Facebook and LinkedIn. Once you get in the groove of online conversations, it’ll be easier to parlay these into conversation starters in-person.
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3. Resilience and Adaptability

If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed in the world of events, it’s definitely the fact that things will go wrong. It’s Murphy’s Law! And sometimes you never know what it will be until the day of.

This is where having the skill of resilience and adaptability will come in handy. This skill encapsulates the “go with the flow” attitude you’ll need to overcome challenges at an event.

The best event planners have a cool, calm, and collected demeanor in front of clients — and behind the scenes. They have the ability to think quick on their feet to fix whatever curveball has been thrown your way.

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4. A Basic Understanding of Events

As a planner, my job is to be the glue that brings the team together for a winning event. However, this doesn’t mean that I’m the best person to handle each piece of the event. But I do have the best understanding of what’s happening.

For example, an event planner should be versed in how to make a floorplan, what an RFP is, how long dinner service will take, how many people can fit in a room, and how to work with catering staff.

Event professionals should also be knowledgeable about the basic needs of bands and DJs, A/V companies, rentals, florists and décor. You also need to understand what is a reasonable (and unreasonable) request. Knowing these basics will help you build better relationships with your suppliers and help you create great event experiences for everyone involved.

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5. Unbridled Creativity

Clients will look to you for cutting-edge ideas. Be prepared to brainstorm incredible, creative ideas.

While every client may not be ready to test the event design waters, they’ll look to you as a counselor on elements of design they do feel comfortable with.

Creativity comes from all kinds of places. When you need inspiration, consider these ideas:

  • Surf Pinterest and Instagram to stay informed of the latest event design trends.
  • Follow blogs (here are our favorites) for featured events that reflect the latest styles.
  • Pantone releases an annual Color of the Year, which reflect the colors you’ll see in event design during the upcoming year.
  • Follow your favorite thought leaders on LinkedIn or Twitter to see what they see as the next big thing for events.

6. Dedication to Client Service

Bottom line: One of the most useful skills for an event planner to have is just to make things happen.

Phrases I say a lot are, “Not a problem,” “Let me see what I can do,” “Absolutely,” and “My pleasure.” These are some key customer service phrases that can answer just about any question a client might have and reassure any anxieties.

Showing you have a strong dedication to the client will ease any anxieties your client may have.

When it comes to event management skills, how do you stack up? The great thing about the events industry is that there is no shortage of opportunities to learn and grow, so take these skills, hone them, and enjoy a fruitful events career.

More like this:

17 Tips for Smarter Event Planning
8 Event Planning Careers for the Aspiring Events Professional
The 10 Best Resources to Find an Event Planning Job
Starting an Event Planning Business? Do These 6 Things First
Why You Should Become a Certified Meeting Professional

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