Event planners are a special breed of hard-working, hyper-organised adrenaline junkies. Consistently named as one of the world’s most stressful jobs, the role of event organiser is uniquely challenging — yet equally rewarding for some.
Think you were born to be an event planner? Check out these must-have event planning skills to see if you’ve got what it takes.
Event planning skill #1: Attention to detail
A well-executed event is never an accident — it’s the compilation of many, many small details that come together to create a polished, flawless experience.
Event pros are known for their attention to detail, which often manifests itself in comprehensive checklists, to-do lists, and itineraries. To crush it in this role, you have to be on top of the little things, giving each one the attention it deserves, from serviette rings to A/V hookups.
Event planning skill #2: Communication
Event planners interact with a wide variety of people on a daily basis, including C-suite executives, donors, brand sponsors, vendors, and, of course, event attendees. Strong people skills are key to ensuring that everything runs smoothly and everyone involved understands their role.
The best event organisers have sharp written and verbal communication skills, conveying information with confidence, clarity, and respect. And they’re not only good at communicating their own vision — they’re also great listeners, taking extra care to understand their clients’ wants and needs.
Event planning skill #3: Problem-solving
An event planner’s resourcefulness isn’t limited to duct tape and safety pins (though they do have infinite uses for such things!). Successful event organisers are able to think on their feet, stay calm, and make quick decisions when unforeseen challenges arise.
Whether they’re killing time for a keynote speaker who’s stuck in traffic or making last-minute menu changes when the caterer falls through, they’re nimble and creative in solving unexpected and complex problems.
Event planning skill #4: Negotiation
Event pros are the kings and queens of bargaining. From convincing a venue to lower their minimum to negotiating a contract with the platinum sponsor, rockstar event planners blend preparation, confidence, tact, and those oh-so-important people skills to get what they need.
Event planning skill #5: Multitasking
Simply put, to be a successful event planner you need to be able to juggle a lot at once. Your job description could include everything from ticket sales and promotion to sponsorship acquisition to day-of logistics, and it’s your responsibility to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
On top of that, the average event organiser is planning and executing multiple events simultaneously. If you’re lucky enough to have a team working with you, you’ll also need to hone your delegation skills — a great way to save yourself from burnout.
Event planning skill #6: Budgeting
Projecting and tracking spend is an important skill for event planners, who regularly juggle multiple proposals, invoices, and expenses. The best in the biz have discovered the most effective tools and tactics to get the most out of each dollar spent.
Often just as important as managing money, skillfully budgeting your time is essential, as you’ll frequently work on tight deadlines and adhere to strict day-of itineraries.
Event planning skill #7: Creativity
Despite what you might think, creativity isn’t an innate quality reserved for a select few — it’s a learnable skill you can build over time.
While seasoned event pros generally rely on established processes and systems to stay organised, they also know how to flex their imagination to bring a vision to life. Through creative brainstorming and calculated risk-taking, the most inspired event creators infuse passion and originality into each of their events. For most event pros, this is the fun part!
At the end of the day, being an amazing event creator isn’t just about a checklist of skills. Genuine passion, resilience and on-the-job experience are all critical to success in this challenging, dynamic role.
Ready to level up your organisation skills? Check out The Event Planner’s Ultimate Productivity Handbook.