Let us imagine the following situation: two people of the same age, education, and experience receive the same amount of money and time to prepare a certain event. They are both given a free hand for all the preparatory work that needs to be done, with their only task being that the event takes place. The events take place at a different time and a different venue, but they have the same, precisely defined theme and the guests are the same group of people. What is the outcome and what about guests' feedback?
When the detailed study of all the feedbacks provided was over, the results obtained came as a huge surprise. If the people reading the feedback did not know better, they would guarantee that the guests attended events of an opposed nature. One of the events was praised as original, well organized and utterly enjoyable by the vast majority of guests, while the other was marked as monotonous, void of energy and atmosphere and a complete disappointment.
The crucial difference in the organization of both of these events was the people that planned and executed it. The successful ones had a specific approach that was founded in the habits that will be described in detail in the following lines.
We all know how this proverb goes. But not all event planners have the habit of implementing it into their way of work, although it often proves to be one of the most important ones. Time is of the essence when any type of organizational activities are concerned. Making the best of it significantly improves the odds of carrying out all the details planned. For example, booking a sought after venue is almost impossible if it was not done months ahead. Next, no matter how well a certain plan was made and how ahead of the actual date all activities started, there are always some adjustments that need to be done. If the changes that are required are simple and minor, they can be implemented easily. On the other hand, if it turns out that there is a need for some drastic amendments, having sufficient time to make them is always a blessing.
Preparing any kind of event requires gathering and going through a vast quantity of various data. It includes all information available on the venue, getting to and from it, catering, technical aid, staff, parking and dozens of other entries that need to be taken into account. Having to study all the data that is constantly storming towards an event planner would eventually make him or her collapse. Unless they find a way of filtering them and make a habit of it. Several tools can be of aid in extracting useful information out of all inflowing data, and they all have a similar algorithm. It is a detailed list of criteria for a particular event, based on which the filtering is performed. In essence, an event planner needs to have a precisely defined nature of the event and guests' profiles and be aware of them during the entire data search and study. The data filtered based on such criteria is the data that is relevant to the success of the event.
Cross-reference data analysis
Yes, the term sounds complicated. And, yes, the activity it describes is complex and takes time to master. But, if one aims to become a good event planner, making this skill a habit is obligatory. Why is this so? As mentioned before, the number of data that needs to be analyzed during the preparation and execution of an event is immense. A mastered habit of acquiring and filtering the inflowing data will be futile if this useful data were not analyzed properly. It includes comparing the initially filtered data in a way that it provides a guideline for an event planner on how to address the needs of the event attendees and at the same time provide a suitable venue and event content, keeping in mind the nature and the aim of the event at all times. For example, if the majority of guests are coming by their electric cars and a great number of them are vegetarians and nature lovers, while the event is about promoting the reduction of carbon monoxide production, it will not take place at a venue downtown that serves only meat dishes. Luckily, the cross-reference data analysis habit you mastered will make sure this particular venue, and any other that does not meet the complex criteria of an event in question, never gets considered.
Direct and open communicator
It does not matter what type of event is in question, the measure of its success will always be the satisfaction of the people who attended it. Furthermore, practically every step of the planning process that needs to be taken gets arranged via direct conversation with people of various professions. Among others, an event planner needs to communicate with a venue manager, the staff working there and all technical assistants that are needed for the event. The arrangement with the catering crew needs to be precise and detailed, itinerary meticulously discussed with all events participants and practically all other parties involved. These communications, written, oral, direct or done over the phone, have to be performed in an open, direct and above all personable manner. Only by respecting the person you are talking to and at the same time knowing exactly what you need and want to be done leads to a successful event. Any miscommunication, even those that are deemed as less important, can easily result in medium or large problems, in the worst-case scenario even to insurmountable ones. Therefore, a successful event planner is both a good listener and a great conveyer of ideas.
There are probably only a few event planners in the world who would mind having at least a bit more time to complete all preparatory activities for an upcoming event. There are even less those who would object if the planning process went through strictly separated phases where one came only after the previous was fully done. Unfortunately, even though preparatory phases come in succession, their borderlines always overlap and things need to be dealt with simultaneously. Event planners often find themselves in a situation where they are dealing with the venue, client's demands, caterer instructions, and various technical crew demands, all at the same time. Therefore, multitasking is a must-have habit of any serious event planner. And this is perfectly understandable since unexpected things regularly happen and the preparatory process simply cannot stop until those obstacles are fully overcome. The process is continual, dealing with several things at the same time and handling those barriers as they come are the only way to successful planning. Naturally, being able to multitask immensely reduces the stress that arises from the aforementioned unexpected situations, which is another ingredient of a successful planning process.
As it was mentioned before, advanced time management and communication skills are among the most sought after skills of a successful event planner. If they are to be sublimed into one complex skill, that would surely be responsiveness. Event planning is a quick-paced process and it requires a person who reacts promptly to all possible changes and new information that very often keeps coming in on a daily basis.
In essence, this means being responsive at all times, to all potential adjustments that need to be made, as well as to clients' demands and potential requirements from all the outsourced services that are hired for the event. For example, if the weather forecast changed dramatically just a couple of days before the event, announcing that there is a 90 percent chance that a storm will hit the area, the action needs to be taken immediately. It does not matter if the outer part of the venue was already decorated, the event will have to be moved inside and it is a call that the event planner needs to make instantly. Postponing a decision like this, as well as any other crucial ones that may be required, will result in a complete failure.
Being a complex process, event planning is an activity that does not always go by the book. Since practically every step of the process involves the participation of different people or teams of people, unexpected things are bound to happen. When they do, there is no place for panic. A well-versed event planner has a habit of looking at things from a problem-solving perspective. Those that are most successful will even anticipate potential problems. All in all, when they eventually occur, and they will, a certain dose of creativity is very often needed to overcome them successfully and in time. A kind of creativity that will on its own be sufficient to deal with the problem, or another kind of creativity that will provide guidance and propose a solution to the people who are facing the problem in the first place. In any way, a habit of displaying creativity is another essential feature. It does require practice, just like any other skill does. So, take every opportunity to brush it up and it will soon enough become a true habit and something you will do naturally.
The event planning checklist in the vast majority of cases has between 10 and 50 entries, depending on the nature of the event, its size and the number of guests attending. Each of these entries has at least a couple of additional points that need to be checked. Very often, these additional points branch out into several more, amounting to more than a few dozen items that need to be taken care of.
Naturally, it is not up to the event planner to complete all the activities on the checklist. However, it is up to her or him to initiate them and to see them through. And, the only way to be certain that there is not a thing that was skipped or neglected is to double-check the final outcome. That means absolutely every end result of every single notion that was mentioned in the checklist. It will take a lot of time, but, there is no need to worry. Responsible event planners surely have already mastered the habit of perfect time management and allocated enough time for double-checking, as well.
Event planning is not an overnight flick. Anyone who has dedicated so much effort into developing the required skills to successfully organize a particular event will surely not retire after the first one was over. And, as we already established, event planners need to think ahead and be prepared to implement original solutions. They are constant learners and always customer-oriented.
Naturally, the best measure of the success of an event is the satisfaction of a client and the people who attended it. And, there is no other way of knowing what they think of it but asking them directly. Getting feedback from direct users will provide priceless information and enable the event planner to become instantly aware of all the things that were done well. Furthermore, it will provide information on what did not go well, which is often even more important. Why is this so? Quite simply, not to do them again.
Therefore, an event planner that thinks ahead and is eager to improve his skills and performance will ask for and highly appreciate all feedback provided and make sure to implement it the very next time.