According to CBS News, Event Coordinator was the 5th most stressful job in America in 2018. Between high-stress situations and unexpected challenges, there are still some planners who manage to thrive where others just survive. What’s their secret? Successful event planners do these 5 things:
1. Prioritize like a pro.
Let’s face it. In the events industry, time is often limited. It’s go-go-go, which can sometimes make it feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day. The key to keeping your cool and managing all of the moving parts that come with putting a successful event together is to learn to better prioritize.
First, put together a list of all your tasks for the day as they come to your mind. For now, don’t worry about order – just list everything you want to get done. From there, go through the list and decide what is urgent vs what is important. Urgent means that if it doesn’t get done by the end of the day, there will be negative consequences (deadlines will be missed, workflow will be interrupted, etc.).
Once you’ve determined which tasks are urgent and require immediate attention, move on to tasks that are important. If this is something you struggle with, a good rule of thumb is to consider the number of people it impacts. The more people it impacts, the more important it is.
Next, if tasks tie in importance, consider the amount of effort each will take. Which one can you more realistically complete in one day’s time? There will undoubtedly be days you can’t check everything off your list. But improving your prioritizing can help you check the right things off.
2. Adapt and readapt.
Successful event planners understand that with so many moving parts last minute changes are bound to happen. Learning to adapt to these changes and take them in stride is an important skill to develop as an event planner.
You should never go into an a planning project thinking everything is set in stone. Keeping an open mind and understanding that you might have to think on your feet can help you stay a step ahead. Adapting will help you determine the appropriate steps of action and stay calm when changes and challenges arise.
3. Never stop learning.
The events industry is always evolving. New technologies are coming out everyday, disrupting the way we work, or rather, used to work. To keep a competitive edge, staying on top of trends is extremely important, particularly when it comes to new technology.
Some of the latest trends involve matchmaking technologies to created targeted networking sessions that better connect event attendees, event apps to manage registration, chat rooms, live Q&A sessions, and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to communicate and collect data on a much larger scale.
If you haven’t heard of (or looked into) any of these innovate technologies, you should! Continuous learning is key to being a successful event planner. Sign up for newsletters, join LinkedIn groups, and connect with industry peers to ensure you’re on top of the latest event innovations.
4. Use data for decision making.
The most successful event planners know the power of data-driven decisions. They collect data, analyze data, and act on data. Everything they do is driven by data. Are you sick of reading the word data?
Seriously though, event planning shouldn’t be a guessing game any more than it has to be. While there are obviously some limitations, data should be at the forefront of your event planning strategy. If you don’t currently have the tools to collect consumer data, it might be time to check out some of the previously mentioned event technology.
5. Listen and ask for help when needed.
Event planners that are good at their job are good because they know how to listen to their colleagues, clients, vendors, and volunteers. Doing so allows them to have all of the important information needed to make informed choices. Without all of the information, it’s easy to move too fast or make impulsive decisions – decisions that can often cost you time or money.
Unfortunately, there’s not always time to listen to every piece of the puzzle in the events world. At times like this, successful event planners know it’s time to ask for help rather than get overwhelmed and try to take on too much. Learning to recognize this and delegate tasks is an essential part in ensuring your event plan isn’t comprised. As event planners, it’s easy to want to take it all on. It’s sometimes hard to say no. You want to be trusted to handle every aspect of an event. We get it. But more times than not, taking on too much does more harm that good.
All in all, there’s no set-in-stone formula for how to succeed at event planning. Every event is different. And every person is different. But following these five things can certainly help you along your way! Any other ideas? Comment them below if so.
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