It’s hard work being an event planner, especially when your skill set needs to be all encompassing and yet horrendously specific. You need to know what to do when a crisis hits, where to host after a last-minute venue cancellation, and how to prepare your guests in the event of an impending apocalypse. Really, it’s a wonder we haven’t already changed the job title to ‘SuperHuman: doer of all impossible things.’

So if you’re thinking of becoming an event planner, or you’re already in the biz and you want to brush up on the skills you need to flourish, here’s our list of top 10 essential skills every event planner needs to succeed.

10 Skills an Event Planner Needs to Succeed

1. Time Management

You’ve got to be on the ball, all the time. Everything hinges on you showing up and being where you need to be before you’re even expected to be there. Don’t have a watch? Well, buy one. Trust us, you’ll need it. Your phone will die and clocks will break, and you’ll be thankful that you’ve got the time slapped on your wrist keeping you punctual.

2. Multi-tasking

If you can’t text the hotelier, reassure your frantic hosts, and sign for the venue decorations as you wave them up the stairs all at once, we have a problem. Event planning is fast-paced and jam-packed with to-do lists. It can be overwhelming and stressful, but every true event planner thrives on the multi-tasking energy. Which brings us to…

3. Organization

You have to have your life together. You just have to. You’ve got to love lists, sticky notes, files and the myriad of organizational apps available to keep you sane and working with a sturdy system. Everything has its place and as an event planner, you have to love it that way.

4. People Skills

There’s no avoiding people in this job (sorry my shy friends), so you’ve got to have some serious people skills. You’re going to rub against characters of every shade, and you have to know how to handle them all.

5. Communication

Similar to #4, you’ve got to have excellent communication skills, both written and verbal. Event planners have to be masters at clear, concise, and tactful emails, all while making their customers feel heard and understood. What’s more is that you actually have to hear and understand them to begin with.

6. Creativity

Event planners are some of the most creative people you will meet. They have to become seamstresses with nothing but a little duct tape, convert mason jars into candle holders, and help their clients create the perfect event they are envisioning. Which is why they also need…

7. Resourcefulness

If you’re an event planner, you can make things happen at the drop of a hat. You might even turn said hat into a collection plate for your performing artists when the night is through to send them home with a little something extra. You never know what you’ll come up with, because you’re a resourceful soul and you just think of those kind of things.

8. Determination

When the going gets tough, event planners hustle. Plans will fall apart, budgets will get blown, and you’ll be taking coffee intravenously 24hours before the big event, but you’ll get the job done and you’ll see it through.

9. Fast Math & Budgeting Skills

Being an event planner requires you to have some basic mental math skills (or at the very least have a calculator at your fingertips at all times). You’ve got to be able to keep track of the budget and know where the money is going on a constant basis if you want to have any success as an event planner.

10. Magic

At the end of the day, it all comes down to magic. Yup, really. You have to be a special kind of wonderful to be an event planner. Think you’ve got what it takes? Tell us what sets you apart from other planners.

Sage Words

Above all else, the most important skill you need to have as an event planner is a passion for what you do. You have to LOVE the job, and the job will love you right back.

Kimberly Rohachuk

Kimberly Rohachuk

Over my career I've had the honor of working on some major events, including the World AIDS Conference in Vancouver, G8 Foreign Ministers meeting, and the Vancouver 2010 Olympics bid delegation to Prague. I’ve also worked with a number of corporate clients all over the world delivering hundreds of events for groups ranging from 50 to 1,500 people.

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