10 Bad Habits of Event Planners (and How You Can Fix Them)

Are you guilty of any of these common bad habits of event planners? Stop it. Now!

Everyone has a few routines that we would like to change about ourselves or our work styles. Over time we develop habits that might not lead us toward our most productive and successful work. Recognizing areas that need improvement is important to your future success.

  1. Working Around The Clock

Many event planners have the luxury of setting their own hours during the planning phase before and after your events. You might work from home or for a fairly flexible company.

This is a wonderful benefit, but can also be potentially dangerous. Having this autonomy is nice, but can also lead you towards the bad habit of working during all hours of the day and evening. Do your best to set working hours where you commit to getting your work accomplished. Outside of these hours stay focused on your life away from your professional duties.

  1. Getting Flustered in Stressful Situations

Certain event managers have a bad habit of getting visibly frazzled when the pressure is on. There is a big difference between being internally stressed but handling it like a #proudeventprof and being stressed to the point where your co-workers, staff and attendees are noticing your behavior.

This stressed out attitude will trickle down to your staff and before you know it everyone (including your attendees) will notice the vibe of your event has shifted. The key is to keep yourself cool and composed on the outside, even when you have a million thoughts, ideas and tasks running through your mind.

  1. Not Listening

When you don’t take the time to listen to your staff, volunteers, attendees or other vendors you may be missing out on important information. Don’t fall into this bad habit or you might end up missing a specific requirement or detail that is critical to the success of your event.

Take the time to listen when guests, volunteers or staff members are speaking. Take notes and follow up if needed!

  1. Moving Too Fast

During an event we all spend time running around keeping our guests happy and the logistics flowing smooth. Be careful not to move too quickly or you could end up injuring yourself or others or just looking out of control.  Being clumsy or scattered will reflect poorly upon you and your company.

Take time to slow down and embrace the event. You will have more time to engage with your guests and see the clear picture of what you need to accomplish.

  1. Making Quick or Impulsive Decisions

Moving too fast can also lead to making poor decisions for your attendees or your event. When you don’t take time to think through your decisions you could end up making mistakes that cost you money or time and compromise the integrity or safety of the event.

  1. Not Asking for Help

Becoming overwhelmed can easily become a part of the job when you become an event planner. From juggling schedules and speakers to managing guest lists and vendors you have a lot on your plate. You are expected to ask others for help when you feel overwhelmed. Be sure you learn to delegate properly and ask questions when you don’t understand something.

A big part of the job is learning from experience. By asking for advice or recommendations from fellow planners or your supervisors you will help to build the future of your career. Being open to new ideas and the asking for the opinions of others will teach you so many wonderful skills along your career journey.

  1. Focusing on Your Competition

All too often we get caught up in the distraction of comparing ourselves to others. It has become so easy to see what others are doing via social media which makes it very hard to avoid the comparison trap. While it is a good idea to keep yourself up to speed on trends in the industry, you must be careful to know when enough is enough.

You never know the full story behind another person’s business, so you can’t spend too much time obsessing over their every move. Focusing on your business, your events and the experience you provide as a planner should always be your main focus.

  1. Taking on Too Much

Overwhelm can easily strike when we decide to take on too many projects or tasks. Try to keep your schedule organized and avoid getting yourself into situations where you just have way too much on your plate. As planners many of us want to be the one who is always up for a challenge and willing to take on any task, but we also have to limit the amount of work we commit to.

This is a very common mistake with new planners as you want to seem eager and to grow your career or business, however you need to be sure you are doing it in the right ways. Take it one step at a time and make conscious decisions about the amount of work you commit to. Maybe you really need to learn to say no?

  1. Behaving as a Guest

Event planning can sometimes seem like one big party. Working with celebrity clients, traveling to exoctic destinations and planning for new and innovative aspects are all exciting perks of the job. We are very lucky to have such fulfilling, yet fun, industry to work in.

This being said, you should never make the mistake of enjoying your event as if you were a guest. No matter the setting you must always stay professional and keep in mind that you are not one of the attendees, you are the one in charge making the event come together. Of course you can mingle with guests when appropriate, but never take the interaction or participation to a level where you might make the guest or yourself uncomfortable.  

  1. Staying Connected

Along with working all hours of the day we as planners tend to stay very connected no matter where we go. Social media, email, event apps…the list of connectivity continues on.  Don’t make the mistake of missing out on your personal life because you are spending too much time connected to your work.

Take that vacation and unplug for awhile. When you get back you will be refreshed and ready to dive back in. Even on the weekends you should remove yourself from checking your work emails. Most everything can wait until Monday!

In Conclusion

Bad habits can be hard to break and most of us are guilty of (at least) a few of these! Sometimes breaking yourself from old habits requires you to develop new and healthy routines. Try to focus your energy on making changes that will improve your business and the experience you provide to your clients. By stepping back a taking a hard look at what you do well and the areas where you can improve you will set yourself up for a long and successful career.


About The Author
Kelli White
Kelli White has 10 years experience in event management, creative marketing, volunteer coordination and non-profit fundraising. You can follow her at @kellimwhite.
Comment Policy Comments
  • 11. Not optimizing the value of your speakers for your attendees. Hint: After you hire them ask that each one give, in writing, 3 pithy, actionable tips they will share in their talk so you can prepare a momento of your meeting for your attendees: an eBooklet you email them as they leave, packed with this collection of tips + giving a brief bio of each presenter that includes a link to where they can learn more from each speaker + a page of credits to the staff team that contributed to the success of the meeting.

    12. Storyboard the sequence of moments the attendees will experience during the meeting to multiply the meaningful ones and reduce or eliminate the boring ones

  • Courtney Smith

    Hi Kelli,

    Thank you for sharing this. I am currently studying Events Management and reading a few of the blog posts I found this one to be very helpful as I embark on my new venture in the events industry.

    This is helpful in few ways, a lot of it can sometimes be common sence but I feel like we all need reminding every now and then. It is so easy to get caught up in your work and when focused on something especially when it is something that we enjoy it is easy to get carried away and lost in the process. Sometimes we need to take a step back and have a break from work, especially at night time and make the most of quality time with the family too.

    I also like what you said about asking for help. I am normally one who likes to have everything done my way and it is difficult for me to delegate tasks when I have a specific plan in mind. But you are right when you said a big part of this job is learning from experience! I have learnt and now more recently have found it quite easy to delegate tasks, having so much to do can stressful and especially on event day. So delegating off tasks to people definitely releases that stress and makes my job a lot more enjoyable.

    I look forward to reading more posts and tips from you as I prepare myself for this new career 🙂

    Courtney Smith

    • Kelli White

      Thank you Courtney for your kind words.

      Taking a step away (from time to time), especially early in your career will set a good foundation for your work life balance! I totally understand that asking for help can be tough at times, but once you learn how it will be very valuable to you and your team.

      Good luck in your new career!

Julius Solaris
Editor, Julius Solaris

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