7 Habits of Highly Successful Event Planners
Are you interested in finding out what it takes to become a successful event planner? I messaged users of the Ticketbud platform and did some research of my own to figure out what makes some event planners stand out more than others. I also took the time to look at the top event planners and designers and I discovered some common links between them. The trend that I found (and that you’ll see here) is that they are ambitious and willing to go the extra mile. They’re also not afraid of critique nor are they scared of what other people think.
1.Never Stops Learning
Did you know that most people only read one book a year, and that this number is declining? Talk with most people, and they’ll tell you that after they graduated from college or they received their event planning certification that they’re done with learning. To be successful, you need to keep advancing your knowledge. And this isn’t just about reading books, it’s also about getting experience and practical tips to know how to run a successful event. So whether it’s reading blogs of other event planners, buying books on event marketing, or helping out your friend with her bridal shower, you need to keep honing your skill set. If you don’t, you can and will fall behind.
2.Works Well With Others
You might be the only event planner for the event, but that doesn’t grant you omnipotence. For most events you’re also going to have to work with caterers, speakers, ticketing, vendors, and a lot more. Even the most basic events will require you to coordinate with others. A valuable tip, and also the Golden Rule: “people treat you how you treat them”.
3.Uses Technology (When Appropriate)
There’s a whole slew of event technology nowadays, so much it seems overdone. There’s iBeacon, RFID, conference apps, event management software, and so much more. To make matters worse, some blogs seem to say that if there aren’t drones flying overhead snapping photos for your instagram and pinterest blogs then you might as well just pack it in.
Here’s the only litmus test I have for event technology is this: does it make something more fluid? Asked in another way: does it remove some sort of friction from the event and make it more enjoyable for attendees?
For example, I find registration software to be helpful because it removes the chore of excel spreadsheets. Check-in apps and RFID are much cleaner than just checking names off a list and can notify you of VIPs. Conference apps, too, can help measure engagement. They can also help attendees schedule their days more efficiently.
I say appropriate use of technology because you can’t be using technology just for the sake of using it. I’ve seen Tweet Walls used to great effect and I’ve also seen them gone unused because they’re in an inappropriate setting.
4.Asks for and Implements Critique
Athletes have coaches, employees have managers, students have teachers. But when you’re an event planner, you’re normally in a situation where there is no critique or feedback towards what you are doing. To be successful at what you’re doing, you need to have someone - like a mentor - to help you improve. People have different personalities and different viewpoints that can make you even better at being an event planner and/or designer. After you receive critique or feedback, you should consider what you have learned. If it’s just negative and provides no learning experience, it’s best to ignore it. But if it’s something that critiques your event in such a way like “you need more ways for attendees to interact with the speaker” then it warrants further thought.
5. They Don’t “Go With the Flow”
"I find out what will be trending and available to the public around the time of my event—and then I avoid it." —Billy Butchkavitz
One thing I’ve consistently noticed that most of the top event planners is that they are not beholden to the trends that are currently going on. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use a popular trend if it works well for an event. It means that you do your best to make your event stand out from all the other events out there. The best way to make people care about what you’re doing is to have a unique proposition for your event. As the saying goes, the purple puppy is the one that stands out.
6.Wide Range of Knowledge (marketing)
The best event planners are also bloggers and marketers. They are a “Renaissance man” or woman of the event space. Mindy Weiss, for example, knows how to market herself with a blog that talks about events she plans for (and has already designed and done).
7. They let their personality shine
Building off of #5, one of the easiest ways to be successful is to let your personality and creativity shine through in every project you work on. In my experience, most people are too timid and afraid of opinions to achieve peak creativity. Even worse, people can be scared that their designs will put people off. Now here’s the thing: your style could put people off, but that’s okay. Are you curious to know why?
It’s because some other people might find your design style to be whimsical or cutting edge or something else positive. I see articles about companies that love using certain designers because of the aesthetic they bring to the table. Some of these designers are now hailed as the best in the business.
To conclude, I think that a lot of these habits are basic habits that happen to be tuned to an event planning mindset. The best thing about a lot of these habits is that while some of them may be tough to achieve, having them puts you a step above all your competition.