Take advice from these successful meeting and event planners and learn how to become an event planner yourself. See how their daily routines and behaviors make them effective in their jobs. Learn their event planning skills and qualities to become a great event planner.
Event Director Extraordinaire with C.KAY International. Caroline's key skills for event management include:
- I get up at 5:00 a.m. and get a head start on my day when it is quiet, especially when I am onsite, managing an event.
- I start my day by scanning my email, see if anything urgent has popped up. I deal with time zones all around the world, so I receive emails at any time during the day or night.
- Hitting the gym, or taking a walk outside when possible is important to me, especially in the morning.
- Every morning I connect with my family back home in the UK, even if it's just a 5-minute Facetime “hello” as I'm running between meetings. That conversation grounds and connects me, and makes me a successful event planner.
- I keep a running, prioritized to-do list covering everything in my life, from errands and birthday reminders to client meetings, and event production deadlines.
- At lunchtime, I step away from my computer and get out for a meal - if I'm not knee-deep running an event of course. I connect with a client or vendor over a meal, or get outdoors to soak up some Vitamin D.
- On a daily basis, I make sure to schedule phone time with real people, get my head out of my apps and away from technology. I telephone 2 or 3 friends, family, clients, or vendors around the world to touch base with.
- Daily research and brainstorming is key to success! I am always on the hunt for the latest event technology, event design, cool venue, hot destination, etc.
- Excel is my friend. I track event production schedules and client budgets incessantly, constantly updating spreadsheets to be on top of project status, allowing me to send updates to clients at a moment's notice.
- My last task of the day is to update my to-do list, and plan for the next day. Then it's hanging out with friends, exploring a new restaurant, or tucked up in bed with a good book.
CINDY Y. LO, DMCP
President and Event Strategist, Red Velvet Events, a Global DMC Partner . Cindy's event planner skills and qualities are:
- I review my calendar the night before.
- Anyone that is celebrating a birthday or anniversary, I email them first thing in the AM to let them know I am thinking of them.
- I always email a confirmation of my pre-scheduled appointments at minimum 24-hours in advance, sometimes 2 days in advance.
- I always check my social media channels at least three times a day - morning, noon and night. If my schedule permits, I might even check it more frequently and respond.
- I always try to reach out to 1 prospect client to see how they are doing.
- I always try to reach out to 1 existing client to see how their event planning is going.
- I prefer to review and respond to all emails before calling it a night.
- I always aim to keep my reminders and task list to less than 5 before I call it a night.
- I always remind myself of one thing I am truly grateful for.
- I make sure I take care of at least one old task so to feel a sense of accomplishment.
Marketing Specialist and Event Planner. Kristen's tips on how to be a successful event planner include:
- Take a deep breath;
- Check RSVPS;
- Check for engagement on social posts;
- Review planning checklist;
- Start each day with making a “What must happen today to-do list”;
- Close your eyes and envision the event and take note of what you see;
- Ask yourself “What’s the event fun factor?”;
- Remember the desired result, always;
- Smile, laugh and have a good time;
- Remember past successes;
Event Coordinator, The Lumber Exchange Event Center. Barb's event planning skills and tips are:
- I check emails every night between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. while the kids are
- Communicate several times a day with our in-house chef to ensure the menu he is crafting captures the exact vision of our unique events.
- Meet with event managers daily to make sure they are on point.
- Connect with all the vendors we are working with. The constant communication ensures no details are overlooked.
- I trust my team!
- Finalize events two weeks in advance. There will be changes up until the last minute, but this self-imposed deadline keeps our planners and our clients focused on the end goal.
- Get the staff excited about our incredible events. Remind them that event planning is a constant learning experience. Each event is different and will present its own challenges and it will be worth it in the end.
- Kiss my kids every second I can!
- Smile. The answers come easier when you react thoughtfully and stay calm.
- Remind myself that at the end of the day, I only have so much control. Things can go wrong the day of an event, no matter how much pre-planning you do. You have to roll with the punches, but know that everything will work in the end. That’s what makes this business so rewarding.
President, Launch Division, Overflow Storytelling Lab . Michelle's top tips for becoming a successful event planner are:
Check local, regional, world, and breaking news: check your television or online for news, weather and potential issues, especially those that might impact travel or programs. For breaking news throughout the day, I’ve selected one provider and set it to receive alerts on my mobile phone.
Industry news: I’ve selected one basic “industry news source” that I scan daily – the MeetingsNet email arrives via email around 6:30 a.m. daily; then I file it for future reference, or to read later if I’m short on time. In terms of general news, I’ve selected theSkimm which is a quick and easy daily read.
Voice mail and email:
Update voicemail greeting: check for messages received; manage text messages and manage email. Manage email by making sure all are filed or flagged for attention. Use an automated out of office assistant when traveling or unavailable. Keep your inbox items limited to 30 or less; and unsubscribe often.
Make the most out of office space:
Whiteboard the “must accomplish” tasks for the day, and celebrate the wins by drawing, add notes, reminders, etc. then take a photo for reference. At Overflow, our desks are glass write on/wipe off surfaces on purpose – we take notes, draw, create, and share thoughts without paper that way. A quick photo will capture the content to be easily filed for future reference.
Eat the Frog:
Least Favorite Task First – choose project and get it done
Be curious and contribute:
Dedicate time to write an article for a publication or explore ideas, scan BizBash and other favorite sites – journal topics and high- level findings, and determine if any deserve more time later. Don’t let this take you down a rabbit hole – you can revisit it later – take a snapshot of your notes and keep moving - keep your day on track!
Connect with people:
Dedicate time to client and colleague’s birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions, well wishes for a great meeting, event or vacation. Drop “hello” notes to people you’ve been thinking about. Send an introductory email or make a call to request a coffee meeting. Share updates with business development team members. Check LinkedIn for messages. Stay in touch with your network on a personal level.
Meetings and appointments:
When possible consolidate meetings and appointments to two days each week; and leave the other days free to focus on work without interruptions.
Distribute meeting agendas the day before, start meetings on time, recap and delegate tasks, calendar next steps. Share meeting notes with all who were invited before leaving the meeting.
Wrap it up:
Update calendar for the next day and confirm that reminders are set. Organize materials for next day meetings, send reminders and agenda to meeting participants.
Clean off your desk and work surfaces, making sure everything is organized and filed away, touch it once and be done with it. Spend the evening on YOU, exercise, family time, relax, get a good night’s sleep and return for a fresh start the next day.
Senior Vice President, CatalystCreativ. Robert's skills that make him a successful event planner are:
Live in a major city and enjoy everything it has to offer. I thrive off of the energy, and it’s a great way to keep a pulse on what people are interested in.
Travel is my biggest passion in life, and it’s a huge inspiration for my events. Whether I pull decor details from Portugal or a menu idea from Peru, experiencing other cultures ignites my creativity.
I’m always searching hashtags and checking out events my friends have attended.
There is no better way to draw inspiration for an upcoming event than to witness what’s going on in the industry today.
Reflect on past successes:
I love seeing a risk or a big idea pay off. Then I can present those out-of-the-box concepts to future clients with confidence and excitement.
Acknowledge where I need to do better next time:
This has been essential to my growth in this industry, as some of my most important lessons have been learned from events that weren’t as perfect as I’d dreamed them up to be. Even the tiniest of details can make a huge difference, and I’m always noticing how I can go the extra mile next time.
I’m religious about turning my phone off at 8:00 p.m. and being present with my partner every single day. I also don’t take work calls or emails on weekends unless it’s truly an emergency, because that down time with family and friends is what allows me to succeed during the week! A burned-out brain is not a creative one.
Although client events always take precedence, my favorite events are thrown casually for my family and friends. Whether it’s a birthday vacation for my friend’s son’s 7th birthday, or a formal sit-down family dinner, I put the most love and energy into these events.
As strange as it sounds, resting on my non-event days is critical to giving it all on event days! We all know how long and physically exhausting working an event can be, and I can never pull it off if I’m running on empty to begin with.
Cultivate relationships with clients:
Repeat events are my absolute favorite, because working with someone for the third or fifth year in a row allows you to dive so much deeper, and curate an event that accomplishes exactly what they want in a new way each year.
The Event Group. Sara's top 10 tips will help aspiring event planners be successful in their jobs.
- Rise and shine! Wake up to your alarm, ready to seize the day with a quick 5-minute meditation. Meditation will not only help you focus on the day ahead, but will start your day with positivity and intention.
- Dress in smart and comfortable attire. We are always meeting with clients and vendors, so looking stylish and professional is a must!
- Make a healthy breakfast. Whether you prefer to concoct a nutrition-packed smoothie for the road or sit down for a hot meal, breakfast is a key component in your morning routine.
- Spend the first 15 minutes in the office organizing your inbox and reviewing your to-do list for the day. If emails came in overnight, answer those that require a quick response, list the unanswered emails in order of priority on your to-do list.
- Catch up on your favorite special event newsletters and social media accounts.
- We love our office plants! Water and rotate them as needed to maintain that office Zen.
- Partake in a morning team meeting to brainstorm and connect with your team on upcoming events. This is where the magic happens!
- Take a power walk on our desk treadmill! As a meeting planner, productivity is a key component in our success, and what could be more productive then getting a light workout in while crossing items off of your to-do list.
- Break during the day for some easy stretches, eat healthy snacks and a substantial and healthy lunch to keep the energy going.
- Before ending your work day, clean and organize your desk, check your calendar to see if you have any upcoming meetings you need to prepare for, and create your to-do list for the following day. Transfer any items you were not able to achieve during the day onto your new to-do list so you can revisit them in the morning.
What do you do to be successful every day? Share your thoughts in the comment section below, and please take a moment to share this post as it will inspire other meeting and event planners.
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