What is it going to take to be successful in the event production world? Here are the top characteristics that I believe are important right now. Let’s see what I say in a year.
1. Organized – this probably goes without saying, but in order to be a successful event planner, you had better be efficient, be great at making lists, checking that list and rechecking that list, and rechecking that list, and so on. Start with the big things like the venue and then work yourself into the fine details of the event. Always keep in mind what the purpose of the event is and make sure that you stay true to the client’s vision.
2. Creative – It will be important to think outside of the box and take calculated risks in order for your events to have a creative signature that makes the gatherings that you put together valuable, unusual and sought after.
3. Flexible – At every event, there will always be something that doesn’t go as planned. The client should NEVER feel the stress of this or really even have knowledge of these things. It is our job as an event planner to be flexible enough to come up with a solution on site to correct things that go off plan. It is important that an event coordinator understand they may have to wear many hats during the course of an event and be sufficiently flexible to handle problems so that the client can enjoy the event.
4. Connected – You had better have connections in the industry and strong relationships with, as Colin Cowie labeled, your “creative partners.” You can’t do it alone. You must have a strong creative team of florists, musicians, entertainers, venues, caterers, etc. in order to pull of an event.
5. Diplomatic and Zen-Like – Treat everyone around you with respect and listen carefully to what they have to say. This includes the client and everyone in your supporting cast. Be diplomatic under pressure, and never, ever lose your cool. It is important that everyone around you “thinks” that you have it together. If the person putting the event together starts to unravel, then you can imagine the confidence of the entire team melting. I love this quote by Maya Angelo, “I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights.” It’s all about patience people!
6. Negotiator – Absolutely none of the above will matter if you exceed your budget or do not adhere to the client’s wishes regarding cost. You had better be good at negotiating contracts and understanding what things should cost.