Want to launch your event management career and develop the skills required to be an effective event organiser? Here’s how to prepare for the life of an event planner.
It’s regularly ranked as one of the most stressful jobs there is, but for many, being an event manager is a highly rewarding role. If you are considering a career in events, you’ll need to be highly organised, bursting with creative ideas and prepared for every eventuality. We look at what the role of event manager entails and what you can do to ensure you survive and thrive in the world of event planning.
Career path to becoming an event planner
If you are considering a career in event management, chances are you already possess some of the key attributes of an effective event planner. However, it’s worth looking at how a professional qualification might boost your chances of finding employment and really excelling in your role.
Several UK institutions offer undergraduate degrees in events management, which often include modules covering topics such as safety operations, leisure marketing, and human resource management. However, it’s also possible to embark on your event planner career following a course that teaches useful transferable skills, such as public relations, communications or hospitality management.
Studies aside, getting hands-on experience will teach you several valuable lessons and help you identify particular areas of interest. That might be music festivals or business meetings and conferences, events that cater to B2B audiences or are firmly consumer-focused. You might decide you want to work nationally or internationally. Explore all the options so you can make an informed decision going forward.
And, wherever possible, try to gain exposure to different types of event planning roles. For example, do you want to focus on securing a job as an in-house event manager, an agency-side event manager or an event manager at a specialist event company? Volunteer to run an event in your local community or school, seek work experience and reach out to event planners who might be able to mentor you.
Next step: How to become an event manager
With some education and experience under your belt, it’s time to start applying for jobs. Conduct your search and find opportunities via industry job boards, LinkedIn groups and by checking the careers page of companies you are interested in working for. You might be thinking about starting your own events company, in which case, coming up with an event business plan should be your number-one priority.
Either way, it’s never too early to start building your portfolio, so make a record of every event you have been involved in organising to show prospective employees and clients. It’s also worth keeping a personal record of what worked and what didn’t, so you know for next time and can come with a contingency plan to cover all bases.
Now is also the time to build your little black book. That means using your communication and negotiation skills to build relationships with suppliers – from venues and caterers to marquee hire companies and decorators.
The event management world is always evolving and you need to constantly adapt and update your skillset in order to make your mark. That means understanding the latest social media marketing techniques, ticketing platforms and analytics tools. Events might happen in real life, but much of the organisation and execution is underpinned by technology, so don’t neglect the digital side of event management.
The life of an event planner
One thing’s for sure: an event management career is guaranteed to keep you on your toes! The cyclical nature of events – organising (pre-event), executing (the event) and following-up (post-event) will mean you need to focus on different areas depending on where you are in your timeline, but several tasks and responsibilities remain constant.
You’ll find you spend a lot of your time liaising with a whole host of people and organisations, from suppliers to sponsors, in order to better understand their requirements, secure their services and keep them updated. In the lead up to the event, you’ll also be arranging licenses, conducting health & safety management and covering other legal requirements. While the event itself will require a significant amount of ‘on the ground’ management, the time you spend in the lead up ensuring contractors and other third-parties understand their role will free you up to deal with any unforeseen issues that might arise on the day. Being prepared – for anything – is a huge part of an event planner’s skillset.
Promoting your event and talking to your attendees via a blog, newsletter and social media is also essential – so you’ll need to allocate a substantial amount of time to creating a marketing strategy and, after the event, tracking its success. The money you spend drawing attention to your event will form an important part of your budget – another factor that’s a priority for any effective event planner.
Event planner tips
A successful career in event management relies on mastering a few simple tips and tricks:
- Research. Just because it worked last year, last month or last week, keeping your events current still relies on your ability to come up with creative ideas and connecting with new people. Keep track of industry updates, fresh products and services, and what your competitors are doing to spot tomorrow’s trends and stay ahead of the curve. Our round-up of event planning guides is a great place to start.
- Write a list. Sounds simple, but writing down everything that needs to be done will help you prioritise and come up with realistic timelines. Refer to our ultimate event planning checklist to make sure you aren’t missing anything.
- Deep dive into your data. Was there a tweet that helped drive ticket sales? Where did attendees travel from to get to your event? Were people satisfied with the venue? From social media metrics to website analytics, you can learn a lot from data. Eventbrite offers lots of support when it comes to compiling reports that are full of actionable insights.
- Ask for feedback. Gain even more information by sending out customer surveys. We help organisers easily seek opinions – both before and after an event – via our integration with survey tool SurveyMonkey. There are templates for a range of events or the option to create your own customised survey. Don’t forget to ask suppliers and vendors for their thoughts, too.
An effective event planner is patient, proactive and productive but, most importantly, they are passionate. Start your event management career today with helpful advice along the way from the Eventbrite blog.