Top 10 event management skills

Tue 1 Dec 2020

Event management is an industry that’s fast-paced and constantly evolving. Successful event managers need to be able to easily adapt and keep up with the latest industry technologies and developments, but they also need to master some basic skills.

Here are the top 10 skills you’ll need to succeed as an event manager:

1. People skills

This is undoubtedly the number one quality that all successful event managers have in common. Since event management involves dealing with a variety of stakeholders, you’ll need to be able to comfortably and confidently collaborate with a wide range of people, including:

• C-level executives
• Government officials
• Vendors
• Sponsors
• Colleagues
• Customers
• Suppliers
• Supervisors
• Event staff
• Event attendees

Having the people skills to successfully build and maintain good relationships, resolve conflicts, negotiate confidently and fairly, and maintain a sense of humour will attract people to want to work with you again and again. Don’t forget – successful event management is a team effort, so it’s all about people skills and building relationships.

Develop skills to design, plan, produce and manage global events with an online MA in Creative Events Management:

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2. Flexibility

Since managing events can often be very fast-paced and unpredictable, successful event managers need to be able to step up to the plate when needed. That means as an event manager, you could be leading a large team of staff one minute, and helping with clean-up efforts the next. Resolving issues and making tough decisions — quickly, confidently and efficiently — are all part of the job. Having the flexibility to do whatever needs to be done to get the show running successfully is key.

3. Listening skills

Listening to your stakeholders and understanding what they want to achieve from your event is crucial. Remember, some of them might not be experienced in the event industry, so they might not be familiar with the industry lingo or understand what’s realistic. You need to be able to understand their needs and make sure their expectations are realistic. Actively listening to your stakeholders and considering their needs throughout the planning process will help to ensure your event’s success.

4. Organisational skills

Effective multi-tasking is essential when it comes to running a successful event. You need to be able to juggle multiple tasks at once, and use your strong organisational skills in both the planning and execution stages of your event. The best event managers have detailed planning documentation, step-by-step checklists and handy software tools to help them successfully plan and organise an event. Working as an event manager requires you to focus on the big picture while still keeping track of all the small details. To be able to do this calmly and manageably, this might mean you’ll need to delegate some of the more time-consuming tasks. And, if things don’t go according to plan, it’s always handy to have a ‘Plan B’ ready.

The events industry is dynamic and loaded with opportunities to work in events of all shapes and sizes. Find out more about the types of careers in the events industry: 

Careers in events

5. Passion

As with any other job, you really have to love what you do to be successful as an event manager. But given the stresses of the job at times, it’s especially the case with a job in event management. Being a passionate event manager will help you to overcome any hurdles that might come your way and to stay calm under pressure. It will also boost your creativity so you can create a great and memorable event rather than just something that does the job.

6. Communication skills

Being a clear, confident and approachable communicator will help to establish you as an effective team leader. It will also help to ensure everyone’s on-track and has a clear understanding of the event’s goals. Having strong communication skills also involves communicating respectfully and thoughtfully with others, and being able to accept criticism and be open to others’ ideas. Remember that everyone has a part to play in the success of an event, so be sure to communicate with everyone in a way that’s clear, confident, respectful and empowering.

7. Ability to keep calm under pressure

As an event manager, stakeholders will look to you as their first point of contact for almost anything related to an event. In moments of stress, where you might be juggling several things at once and dealing with multiple stakeholders, the last thing you or your team needs is a leader who cracks under the pressure, lashes out, and makes poor decisions. To be a successful event manager, you need to be able to stay level-headed and continue to treat everyone around you calmly and with respect. Remaining cool, calm, and collected – even when you might be feeling under pressure – will help you to deal with others successfully and to think clearly.

8. Problem-solving skills

Given the fast-paced and unpredictable nature of event-planning, you need to be able to think on your feet when it comes to problem-solving. No matter how meticulously you plan your event, something can always go wrong. These obstacles will be a whole lot easier to deal with if you can use your problem-solving skills to find creative solutions to any challenges that may arise.

9. Decision-making skills

Successful event managers are able to make several decisions at once – quickly. Being able to make decisions thoughtfully, quickly and confidently are all essential traits of an event manager. Part of being an effective decision-maker is also being able to recognise when it’s too late to change a decision you’ve made — and to have the resolve to stand by your decision. The more experience you gain in the industry (and the obstacles that it can present), the more you’ll continue to master your decision-making skills.

10. Industry knowledge and experience

If you’ve got specialist industry knowledge, skills and experience in event management, it will put you in a strong position to build a solid reputation within the industry as a successful event manager. Once you’ve built that reputation and have an in-depth understanding of the requirements and challenges that come with event management, you’ll not only find your job will be a lot easier, but also gain a wide network of contacts that will turn to you whenever they need an event organised.

Kickstart your career in events management

Falmouth Flexible offers an online masters degree in Creative Events Management that will equip you with the specialist knowledge and skills you need to be a successful event manager – and kickstart your career in event management. Hear from a graduate, Onna Rageth about her experience studying with Falmouth Flexible: 


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