It doesn't matter if you're a seasoned event planner or a newbie just learning the ropes, continual personal and professional development is important if you want to excel in your job. Research proves that to be a great event or meeting planner, several key traits should be developed and nurtured.
We've assembled a list of seven traits that are consistently highlighted in event planning articles, written about in meetings magazines, and heard from the mouth of professionals. Look over the below list. Think about yourself and how these attributes are manifested in your life and planning efforts. If you'd like, ask a close colleague or friend to weigh in with their perspective.
Seven traits of a great event planner
Successful event managers have the ability to strike a chord with the people they meet and establish a basic level of trust, whether they're clients, vendors, or attendees. An event planner that's personable is likable, works well with others, and motivates everyone to work together in achieving desired goals.
Being personable also means communicating to others in a way that's clear, effective, respectful, and even friendly.
Other traits that characterize personable planners include:
- Smiling often
- Being approachable
- Dressing appropriately
- Showing empathy
- Using first names when addressing people
Great event planners know that the purpose of an event is to achieve the client’s goals and deliver the best experience to the intended audience. Achieving these things often means that the planner has to be flexible, adapting to what the client wants and needs.
In an era of shrinking budgets and shorter lead times, event planners are able to think on their feet, put things together fast, change course quickly, and create amazing experiences despite constant change.
More characteristics used to describe a flexible event planner are:
Because an event coordinator can be caught up with a dozen responsibilities simultaneously, it not only behooves them to be organized, it's utterly essential. If being organized is not a priority, important tasks won't get done, core responsibilities will be overlooked, and details will be lost.
To create a successful event, outstanding organizational skills must be the backbone of balancing and managing people, schedules, vendors, and everything else. The success of every event is in the details; the best event planners are also the ones who have a complete and organized system for planning and executing every detail.
Organized planners always:
- Stay one step ahead
- Have a Plan B, C, and D
- Care about completing every detail of every task
- Keep on top of To Do lists, spreadsheets, and checklists
- Predict potential threats and risks
- Check and double-check details
Being organized and paying attention to detail go hand in hand. You may be great with details, but if you don't see the big picture or can't keep those details organized at the top level, it can be disastrous. A great event manager not only tracks all these details but knows how one small change or shift in plans can affect other areas of the event.
Being detailed means knowing each and every detail and understanding how they all fit together.
Attention to detail ensures that everything is done on each checklist, and a keen sense of observation prevents things from being missed or small problems from becoming uncontrollable issues.
An excellent meeting planner is passionate and brings energy, creativity, drive, and excitement to the table. For them, event planning isn't just a job or a paycheck; it's a mission with a purpose and interesting challenges. It's more than booking a venue, hiring entertainment, or deciding which centerpieces look best.
Event management can be stressful, frustrating, and can require a lot of overtime. If passion isn't the driving force, event planners would easily burn out, become discouraged, or quit. It's necessary for event planners to be enthusiastic and filled with zeal.
6. Time Manager
Organization and attention to detail must be paired with excellent time management in order to function properly. When all three attributes work together everything gets done on time.
A competent event manager knows how to plan properly, multitask, and keep everything moving forward in a timely fashion. Understanding, creating, and sticking to timelines and deadlines keeps everything and everyone from falling behind.
Great time managers can:
- Plan and prioritize tasks
- Delegate responsibilities
- Say no to unproductive tasks
- Set boundaries
- Stay on task until it's completed
A great event planner can resolve problems and issues quickly while remaining calm, cool, and collected. Because others look to the event planner for guidance, information, and direction, they can't afford to be undependable, making rash decisions and cracking under pressure. Additionally, a levelheaded planner can diffuse an explosive situation and listen to feedback or criticism without becoming defensive or visibly upset.
Clients, vendors, and attendees expect the planner to set the tone of the event, to smile through adversity, and stay calm while scrambling to fix things.
Meeting and event planners who are levelheaded know how to:
- Maintain composure
- Stay calm
- Be patient
- Listen without reacting
Managing events can be tricky, but successful event planners have all the necessary attributes. Great event planners always manage to turn things around, if things don’t go according to plan. They’re spontaneous and prepared to deal with situations that can potentially get out of hand. Their ability to stay calm under pressure and be the voice of reason are attributes that make them great at what they do.