How do I become a successful event planner?

Event planning is a very lucrative career field. Corporations and entrepreneurs are always hosting special events, product launches, and business gatherings for their stakeholders.

If you want to be an event planner, you will find a lot of job opportunities waiting for you.

However, a vast amount of competition exists in the event planning industry. You cannot just advertise yourself as an event planner and think that you will become successful.

The key to becoming a successful event planner is through, networking, exposure to opportunity, education and establishing your reputation, much like you would attempt a brand, as a true professional.

Event planning is a creative field that requires a range of skills that go beyond simply having ideas. Event planners who succeed are those who are also good at managing a variety of teams, monitoring processes and being able to implement client interests into the planning and execution process.

Event Planner

If you are entering into the field or wanting to build upon some of the successes you have already enjoyed so that you can take your career further, here are seven expert strategies for building a successful career as an event planner.

Project management training.

Event planning is no different to managing a project. In fact, the event is the project that you are managing. Events and projects both have jobs and tasks that need to be done.

They also require good leadership and team management. These are skills that are developed through experience and time. They are also skills that can be further developed through good project management training.

Skills acquired through further training include time management and process skills.

Taking time out to train yourself, or have your staff trained, also brings you into contact with (hopefully) industry experts with whom you can build fruitful networks.

Build a portfolio.

Clients like and look for event planners who have a portfolio of work. Your portfolio should include well-written content, rich media, video and more.

Your portfolio should be well-crafted that outline your history in the field, particular events you have managed and your role in the creative process.

Your portfolio is also a good place to name drop any well-known brands, influencers or personalities involved. This can also take the form of brief testimonials which act as trust and authority factors in the minds of those who are weighing up your value to their organization or project.

Naturally, your portfolio should not only be impressive in content, but it should also be highly polished in terms of design, layout, and flow.

You will need to decide whether to present your work chronologically, according to niche or whether your portfolio should be customized according to the audience you are trying to convince.

Don’t let the fact that you are new to the industry intimidate you. Avoid stuffing your portfolio in order to make five years’ experience look like twenty years.

Be succinct and most importantly, be clear and avoid ambiguity or wordiness.

Build a qualified team.

Successful event planners know how to hire the right people for the various jobs that must be done. You will need qualified professionals to handle marketing, artwork, catering, music, creative media, technical effects, social media campaigns, invitations, and so on.

Delegate the work depending on the strengths of your team.

Successful teams are marked by a specific set of qualities and values. Successful event planning teams are marked by:

  • Open communication
  • A focus on goals
  • An openness to innovation
  • Supportive behaviors
  • Controlled enthusiasm
  • Orderliness

A well-oiled team is also one where responsibilities are distributed based on skill and experience.

While there are always opportunities to invite energetic recruits into new processes in order to further develop their own skill level, event planning is not an area that favors experimentation at the process and team-collaboration level.

Your clients’ events are not the place for you to conduct internal, staff-focused experiments.

Successful teams are those that provide an opportunity for initiative and innovation, without losing sight of the goals and objectives set by their clients.

Professional development.

There are several ways to build professional development into your portfolio of experience.

A college degree is not necessary to work as an event planner. But if you want to maximize your knowledge and impress your clients, then think about getting a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management, Marketing, or Business Management.

Some corporate leaders might not take you seriously as an event planner unless you have an educational background in this field. That said, professional development may also involve a career switch or organizational switch.

Being exposed to new organizational structures and new employment opportunities also open the way for you to develop your portfolio in ways that simply doing more study may not.

Moving along both horizontal and vertical career opportunities in event planning allows you to master planning development and implementation at multiple levels of event planning management.

It also brings you into contact with a much more diverse clientele, each of which will help you develop new skills and expose you to a wider array of event types.

Time management.

Time management is one of the most important skills you can develop as an event planner. When you are managing a team of workers, you must ensure there is no procrastination. Deadlines must be set for the various tasks that need to be done.

Send reminders to your team about the deadlines, so they do not forget.

If you end up waiting until the last minute to do everything, the outcome of the event will be mediocre. You may then struggle to be hired again by another corporate client in your area.

Developing proposals.

To increase your chances of winning an event planning job, then you need to submit an event planning proposal which is filled with rich media, seating plans, videos, and all sorts of attractive content.

This is a content marketing exercise as much as anything and, like your portfolio is a key to winning new business and setting yourself up as an authority and an expert in your field.

Professional and interactive event planning templates are an ideal way to deliver a consistent brand message and enable your planning and your proposals to be easily accessible and easily shared among clients, peers and planning teams.

They allow for collaboration (a key to good team management) and provide a more systematized approach to what can often be a chaotic environment.

Utilizing planning software, templates and pre-configured management tools allow you to remain consistent, structures and methodical in your event planning and delivery.

When all team members are using the same tools, whatever tools you decide to use, you are less likely to overlook important steps – a problem that usually occurs when your team (or you) are placed in unfamiliar territory.

Using standardized digital tools allows everyone to work to the same agenda and deliver complete, as well as more polished, event planning proposals.

You don’t need to be a graphic artist to write engaging proposals, but you do need to have and utilize a format that not only brands your work professionally but also simplifies the proposal process.

Welcoming feedback.

The success of an event can be determined if you request feedback from the guests and attendees. Ask these people what they liked and disliked about the event. Feedback should be built into your work.

Feedback creates an opportunity for professional development, can enhance team-building opportunities and shield you from errors grounded in ignorance.

Don’t be afraid of feedback. Include feedback at each critical stage of your planning process. Have the space for feedback built into the system regarding your internal management of in-house and remote teams as well as client relationships and professional networking.

Failure is a great teacher, as you gain more experience at event planning, you can use the feedback you receive to change your planning strategy for future events. You will learn from mistakes that you may make and continue to create a professional portfolio of experience.

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