Twenty years ago, most professional event planners “fell” into their career. There were no post-secondary courses or certifications to be had in our field. Nowadays, education and certifications abound and most Gen Y and Millennial planners have this competitive edge in the meetings marketplace.
Formal education, however, will only arm you with the knowledge required to perform the job required – what about the soft skills needed to get through the day-to-day?
The industry’s best planners possess a great amount of the following soft skills:
- Organized – this almost goes without saying. A meeting is a carefully choreographed series of events, pieces, people and other moving parts. Keeping organized is the only way you’ll get through the chaos of it all.
- Energetic – especially on event day. Being a meeting planner is not for the person that requires 9 hours of sleep, and needs 3 hours of coffee in order to “get going” each day. When it’s go-time, everyone is looking to you to be “on”.
- Problem solver – show me a planner who claims their meeting went off without a hitch, and I’ll show you someone who’s oblivious to reality. Even the best of the best have had surprise changes to their planning, its knowing how to handle the surprises that makes you great!
- Strong work ethic – Unfortunately, having a lazy day is not an option for the skilled planner. It could spell disaster for your event if you lose focus on the both the big and small details for your event. Working hard reaps rewards, repeat clients and referrals to new clients!
- Strong Communication Skills – clear concise emails to suppliers, factual voicemails and detailed agendas are necessary for event success. Type A planners do well here!!
- Fun!!!! Maintaining your smile and positive attitude through it all will reap career success long after the event is over. Keep smiling!
Looking to learn more about the anatomy of an event planner? Check out the following professional associations for further education, and to meet some fun and talented people!: