What does it take to be a great event manager? You might think that nowadays with all the abundance of software to help you plan, manage, market and run smoothly your event it's been easy to become truly great at that job. Well, you are wrong.
No matter how advanced the new technologies get, they will never substitute what really makes a great event manager-his personal qualities. Here is a list with the most important qualities that distinguish a great event manager from just a good one.
That’s definitely number one in my list. Organising and running an event is extremely demanding, exhausting and quite often a stressful job. In order to be good at it you need to love it. Otherwise it’s impossible to bear all the long hours of hard work and the nerve-racking situation that will undoubtedly be part of your workdays. But there is nothing more rewarding for the truly great event manager than seeing the success of his event in the end.
Out-of-the-box thinking is a must-have quality for the great event manager. Every new event is like a newborn baby: it needs special attention and personal approach. And as every child is different so is every event. That requires being innovative in each aspect and detail of your event management job: from using the newest marketing tools to redesigning your registration form. The great event manager will never put up with doing things the same way as before or with simply copying his competitors. He will dare to be different, strive to awe and be the actual influencer in the industry.
3. Interpersonal skills
Smooth communication is one of the keys to a smooth event. As an event manager you have to communicate with all sorts of people at all sorts of levels: from governmental official and high level executives to part-time staff and subcontractors. And you will need to relate to all of them for the sake of the success of your event. There are going to be people you don’t like or even such that truly piss you off, but if you are a great event manager you will never lose your temper or behave in any disrespectful way. That takes being not only diplomatic but also down-to earth and self-collected.
4. Great organizational skills
Organizing an event requires being exceptionally organized yourself as well as able to prioritize and multitask. Ask any bride if you don’t believe me (it's a good thing that most women are natural multitaskers). The event manager needs to coordinate a number of responsibilities and manage many people simultaneously. And even the best planning or management software cannot compensate for the lack of organizational skills. It could just compliment and assist them.
5. Team-player spirit
Ok, if you are a wedding planner or organize a small-scale event you might not need that. But organizing an international or any other big-scale event is impossible without a team made of true team-players. Only team-players could work as a well-oiled machine. The true great event manager will be the driving wheel and cutting fluid of that machine.
If there is one thing that is constant when organising an event is that there is nothing constant. Everything moves and changes so fast that you need to be really flexible and adaptive to keep up. The quick-minded and decisive event managers are the true leaders in the industry. Always have a plan b, c and the rest of the alphabet if needed.
7. Never-panicking attitude
Being a great event manager means also being a never-freaking-out optimist. There will always be 'fires to put out' and even things you cannot control or change like: a keynote speaker missing his plane and never showing up at the event, moody attendees bitching about the choice of menu or disappearing volunteering staff in the middle of the event (who being Muslims had to do their afternoon prayer). All these actually happened to me. So if you want to be one of the great in that job just follow this advice: Plan for the best, be prepared to turn around the worst and expect to be surprised.
Passionate, creative, diplomatic, organized, flexible and never-panicking team-player does sound a bit crazy, doesn't it. Probably is. And probably you need to be a little crazy to be great at that job. But aren’t all great people considered crazy at some point in their lives. So don't be offended if a competitor calls you crazy. It might actually turn out that you are the great event manager and he is just the good one.
What would you add to the list of the great event manager's qualities?
Valeria Paskaleva is an events & marketing professional with vast experience in organising various type of events: from international B2B conferences to B2C exhibitions and fairs. She has her own blog and a column at eventplanner.tv