14 Traits of Highly Effective Event Professionals

Want to enjoy standout success and satisfaction in your events career? Check out these 14 traits of highly effective event professionals!

1. Understand People

Events are fundamentally social occasions. Social psychology, group dynamics and individual motivations are complex topics to learn, and only really come from experience, but they’re essential ingredients to forging a successful career in events.

2. Have Grand Visions, But Sweat the Smallest Details

It’s not good enough to be only a ‘strategic thinker’ or a ‘competent doer’ if you want to rise to the top in the events industry.  The best event planners are capable of creating big visions and bold thinking, but they also know how important the details are to successfully execute on that vision.

3.  Learn the Economics

Getting to grips with cash flow, profit and loss statements and forecasting are not tasks reserved for accountants.  If you aspire to start or run an events company one day, or rise up anywhere into senior management, having an appreciation for the economics of the industry are going to be crucial to your advancement.

4. Be Willing to Delegate

If you do start making your way into the ranks of management, you’ll start to get new responsibilities and it will no longer be possible to undertake everything yourself.  This is the same if your business begins to flourish and you take on staff.  Many talented individuals fail to delegate properly and limit themselves by trying to control everything.

5. Nurture Talent

This isn’t a zero-sum industry, where your winning is predicated on everyone else losing.  It’s very much a team game, so make sure you spot and nurture talent, whether they’re your peers or direct reports.  You will need to support and grow their skill sets if you want to continue succeeding in your own career, too.

6. Give Back

Your time will be extremely precious, and you’ll rarely have much downtime as you strive to succeed.  However, finding time to help others, offer mentorship outside of your team, build and nurture relationships and give back to the events community will not only provide more satisfaction in the long-run, it will almost certainly get ‘paid back’ over the course of your career.

7. Become a Savvy Negotiator

The events industry is very fragmented, with specialist suppliers for almost every one of your needs, and they’re all in business to make a profit.  The sooner you learn the arts and science of negotiation, the better off you’ll be.

8. Find Inspiration Where Others Can’t

Great ideas rarely leap off the screen at 11am on a Monday morning, as you rattle off emails between meetings.  You need to search for them in unusual settings, by reading widely, listening to interesting people and always being aware that inspiration can strike when you least expect it.  This will help set you apart.

9. Stay on top of technology trends

The pace of technology continues to change the events industry at a rapid pace.  The winners will adopt new innovations first, to create business efficiencies and customer value, opening up clear blue water between them and their competitors.

10. Keep learning

It’s not just technology that changes at a rapid pace.  To stay sharp and on top of best practices you need to always keep an open mind, learn from everyone around you and don’t get stuck in a mind-set of  ‘it’s my way or the highway’ even if you eventually become the key decision maker.  Flexibility and a hunger to keep developing are important components of every successful career.

11. Go the extra mile

The events industry is a demanding one, full of different stakeholders to please.  Despite that, you have to give 100% to surpass all their expectations, and deliver beyond your remit.  Going the extra mile is what will help mark you out for success.

12. Build your personal brand

Personal branding isn’t just for the self-employed.  It’s about creating a consistent expectation of yourself amongst your peers, having values and living them.  It’s about being dependable and teaching people they can trust you.  Then it’s about making sure people know you do great work, because being a wall flower won’t pay off in the long-term.

13. Be prepared to work odd hours

Many events take place in the evening or at weekends, and even those that don’t will normally require you to put in preparation work outside of the 9-to-5.  This can be difficult to balance with other commitments, so you have to be prepared to sacrifice some of the normality your other friends may have in their careers.

14. Develop a flexible approach to working with others

Consistency of values is important, but flexibility in how you work with others to achieve your goals will be equally necessary to succeed in this industry, because you will come across ‘interesting’ characters, big personalities and competing agendas.  Learning to work with all types will stand in great stead for rising to the top.

What other things do event professionals need to do in order to find successful and fulfillment in their careers?  We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!