I am a lover of organisation. I am usually the one in a group who spends more time planning the event than participating in it. So naturally my mind drifts to the idea of event planning from time to time. I have had a little experience in the preparation and running of events, mostly personal but some public. Now, however, I have begun realistically looking into the ins and outs of a job within this industry and here is what I have learnt.
The basic idea is that as an events planner who are in control of the preparation and smooth running of an interactive project. Therefore, certain skills are crucial. These include organisation, communication, ‘people’ skills and a positive and enthusiastic attitude. I believe these feature fairly high up on my skillset so I would love to find an industry and a way of working that allows me to put these into practice. Now these can be used in all forms of events, after research there are four main categories of events:
- Celebrations (fairs, parades, weddings, reunions, birthdays, anniversaries)
- Education (conferences, meetings, graduations)
- Promotions (product launches, political rallies, fashion shows)
- Commemorations (memorials, civic events)
Although events differ, the basics of what needs to be done remain. Most jobs include:
- Discussions with clients
- Producing initial ideas
- Agreeing appropriate budgets and timescales
- Creating an event plan
- Managing a team
- Researching venues, contacts and suppliers (food, décor, entertainment)
- Agreeing prices and booking the factors above
- Ensuring all legal documents are accounted for
- Publicizing the event or sending invitations
- Supervising the event
- Clearing away and post event evaluations
Events planners may engage in all of these activities or sometimes specialize in a certain area. This may depend on the size and type of event. From this list I have considered the skills and areas of interest that would be necessary to see if these match at all with mine. The nature of the job would definitely require someone who shows initiative yet can still work efficiently with a group, often under pressure due to tight deadlines. Looking at the artistic side of the job, one would need to be able to pay attention to details as creatively solve problems. Finally, the administration side of the process means one would need an awareness of sales, marketing and budgeting to be able to engage in negotiations. I think this combination really pulls together all of my strengths enabling me to make the most of what I can do. So the next step would be to try and do it, how do I go about that?
As is the case with most industries, I have found the individuals that go into events come from a variety of backgrounds. There are many qualifications one can gain however, as always; practical experience is usually valued most with employers. The most beneficial experience would be organizing and running your own event from scratch whether this is within a university environment, in your personal life or perhaps as part of your current job. It may not always seem possible to do this. Therefore, experience could be gained from businesses within hotel conferencing and banqueting, cultural events, travel and tourism, public relations and music and live entertainment as a starting point. As you begin to work in events planning specific roles this could be in hotels, leisure facilities, exhibition venues or charities. Another option is to work freelance and set up your own business. In order to get this experience I need to make myself hirable. Promoting yourself on every platform is required, the more you get yourself out there, the more likely something will come from it. However, I still need to remain professional while doing this and remind myself of the aim of promotion so that everything I put out there has a purpose. I have started this with linked in and creating various social media account specifically created for work related purposes. Another idea may be to create a video resume, adding a face and personality to a resume can go a long way. Networking is also crucial in the event planning industry. Most jobs aren’t advertised, you get work depending on who you know. Therefore, gaining experience and meeting connections is essential to success. Joining appropriate groups on LinkedIn can also do this digitally for example. Finally, I have begun to better understand the industry of events planning and what is required for the job, however broadening my knowledge on the subject is key. Reading blogs, joining chats (Event Planning & Management Group on LinkedIn), buying books (Event) and magazines (Event Magazine) and talking to people in the industry provides valuable knowledge that may lead to my desired destination. You never know until you try.