What Does an Event Planner Do Exactly?

I often get asked about event planning jobs and what exactly does a planner do. It’s very hard to give a short answer. While it’s obvious that they plan events, however, when you look at all of the tasks that are required you realize that planners have no easy job.

An Event Planner Wears Many Hats

There are different skill sets required for an event planners job. Which characteristic is required depends on which stage that they are at with their client. For example, when meeting with their client in hopes to win that piece of business, communication skills are being used. You see you only get one chance to make a first impression.

Characteristics that an event planner requires are:

Communication. As I stated above when you are trying to win a clients business, it’s important that your verbal and written communications are impeccable. This is your sales pitch so to speak. You will also be required to provide a written proposal to your client.

Fiscal Management. This is when an event or party planner needs to know their math. Quite often their clients will state their budget for a particular event. The event planner’s job is to create or plan an event all while working within the set budget.

Negotiation Skills. An event planner works with many suppliers. And quite often they are required to negotiate on their client’s behalf. Anyone who’s been involved in negotiations knows that this is an art. Negotiation isn’t a “my way or highway” attitude (some of our politicians could take note here). Rather negotiation is the ability to reach a compromise where both sides feel that they accomplish some of what they had set out to achieve.

Decision-Making Skills. The job is not for those who cannot make decisions. Event planners are called upon often to make on the spot decisions that can have a dramatic effect on the event itself.

Leadership. Again a “my way or the highway” approach does not work well here. Leadership is a quality that, when displayed properly, makes people want to work for you. A good leader knows how to correctly motivate their teams to achieve the desired results. In my experiences, I have found that the leadership trait is one of the hardest to develop in someone.

Organizational Skills. Boy does an event planner need to be organized. Think of them as you would a director in a movie. It’s their responsibility to make sure that all of the suppliers are doing their specific roles so that the overall event is running seamlessly. The words “organized chaos” would be a good way of describing what’s going on for an event planner during the event itself.