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20 Things Event Planners Say and What They Really Mean

By Kelli White
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As an event professional here are 20 things you have probably said many times over and what you actually really mean.

Being an event planner comes along with many highs and lows. During the crazy busy days and long hours spent planning we have been known to say some interesting things when really we mean something else entirely. Do any of these sound familiar?

 

  1. Don’t worry I will do that...

... to be honest it will just be quicker and easier to do it myself.

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We have said it time and time again - as an event planner you must learn how to delegate and trust the team that supports you. In reality though we know there are times when you just need to get on and do something yourself. Whether waiting on the task being completed is holding you up, perhaps you are trying to help out a colleague drowning in work or you simply think that you could do it better yourself, sometimes you have to jump right in.

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  1.  No problem…

… Arghh - I think my head will explode with all the tasks on my to do list!

You want to be accommodating to your client or boss but how many times have you smiled sweetly when in reality it is anything but OK and you know that this means extra work or inconvenience for you.  

At times like these try to step away from the chaos in order to make the best decisions for your event. While you may not always have time to take a coffee break and think things over, you should allow yourself time to take a deep breathe, quickly weigh out your options and identify the best course of action.

  1. It is a bit late to make big changes at this time…

… Plus I have been chasing you for weeks and weeks for an answer on this.

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Making last minute adjustments to your event can bring on a whole new level of stress. When you have changes that arise you may have to make them work in a short period of time, but if you really don’t have the time to implement a new layout or set up a new technology it is okay to say no. Find your own balance between what will actually work and what your client wants.

  1. What can we learn from this...

… We need to make sure that this situation doesn’t happen again. Ever.

Having issues arise during an event can be a really tough pill to swallow. They can bring down your team and reflect poorly on you and the event. The best way to handle errors is to learn from them and not let them happen again. Finding a way to improve and make changes for the future will make you and your events so much better.

Make a list after each event of improvements for the next year. Nothing is worse than having the same issues arise. Identify the problems early on and make sure you know how to successfully fix them.

  1. How can we save some money here?

… I am trying to work miracles for my client and literally every penny counts.

When you take on a new client or event you should know early on what the budget looks like and often the allocated budget can be challenging. As planners we have so many exciting ideas that we want to implement to make the event great, but we don’t always have the funds to do so. Sometimes the client may even decide to scale back in certain areas, which is frustrating and makes your job even harder. Be honest with your vendors and venues and see if they have any suggestions to work with you at times like these.

  1. We have some ideas to share with you for the event next year…

… I know you are resistant to change but we really need to come out of the dark ages here.

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Clients can sometimes get stuck in a rut and be resistant to change - “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

As an event planner you are probably overflowing with ideas and suggestions and it can be frustrating when a client or your boss seems to be closed to new ways of doing things. This can be particularly true when it comes to event technology. Never give up thinking about how to make your events more exciting and engaging though and don’t give up trying to persuade those in charge. One day (we hope) your message will get through.

  1. We have a few issues…

… You need to shape up right away and put things right to get things on track.

Things don’t always go exactly to plan, despite your best efforts. At times like these you need the confidence in your team and suppliers to get things back on track. There is often little time for discussion, it is a case of listening, understanding and getting on with it. The reasons behind it and lessons to be learned can be discussed later, the event and its success is the top priority.

  1. Continuing my education is important to me…

… but how on earth can I find more hours in the day to do more.

Once you break into the industry it can be easy to let education slip towards the back burner. You should try your best to identify opportunities and set aside the time to continue learning and perfecting your craft. There are so many wonderful resources available, both paid and FREE, that you can use to take your career to the next level, in whatever time you have available. Don’t get left behind - you owe it to yourself.

  1. Can we find some volunteers to help…

… because our staff have more important things to do.

Volunteers are important to almost any event and they can take a ton of tasks off your plate as the planner and free up other key members of your team. Everything from set up, check-in, and administrative tasks can easily be delegated to a willing volunteer. Take a look at your workload and find the duties that you can offload.

  1. I think we need to start looking for a different venue...

… This venue isn’t working for us any more.

Sometimes you find a great venue and you really dread the idea of moving on. However, in order to keep your event fresh and growing you may need to look at some new spaces. If your venue has caused logistical issues or doesn’t fit your needs you should find a new spot sooner rather than later. Attendees really enjoy coming to an event in a great space that flows well and makes helps them to navigate your event.

  1. Can we talk through your reasons for holding the event…

… “Because we’ve done it every year” is not a solid objective.

As event planners we have a responsibility to ensure that everyone gets the most out of every single event we run. Even when our clients don’t actually realize the potential outcomes we need to work hard to clarify the true event objectives and demonstrate the value the event have created.

  1. How can we attract higher-profile speakers…

… The programme could be improved and I know it will attract more attendees.

Getting people in the door can lead to the success or failure and future of an event. Finding exciting and attractive guest speakers is sure to increase the traffic and buzz around your event. Seek out local celebs or guests who have a tie to your cause, organization or craft. With a little creativity, there are a variety of ways you can break through and track down the right person.

  1. Where can I find some better WiFi…

… Your WiFi is shocking and frankly this isn’t good enough. I have some very important work that needs to be done ASAP.

Nothing is worse for a planner than trying to get work accomplished and struggling to find decent WiFi. This could be at your venue, hotel, coffee shop, or home, but when an event planner loses connection it can be a really stressful time. If you are a WiFi seeker try buying a hotspot that will provide you with access anywhere you go. This is a surefire way to stay connected and in business even in the most disconnected locations.

  1. It is a very exciting time to work in the event industry…

… I must be mad. Why do I do this?!

Whenever you speak with a new or up and coming event manager you might be tempted to tell them how great it is to work in our industry, and of course it is a really fun and engaging career. However be sure to tell them the honest truth that along with the great venues, travel, and high-end perks come some very long hours and mountains of stress. If they can handle the harsh truths they will be better prepared to enjoy the excitement and adventure of this career.

  1. Travel is no problem for me…

… Barbados would be nice!

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Being asked to travel for an event can seem like such an awesome opportunity, but it isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. Make sure you know what you are signing up for before you agree to fly away for a client. Are all of your expenses covered? Where will you be staying? Do you have the option to extend your travel and enjoy the destination? Is it a destination you even want to travel to?

  1. You can’t please all of your attendees…

… but you will spend most of your career bending over backwards and finding ways to try to do so.

As an event manager you should know that you may not be able to please everyone, all the time, but of course you will go to great lengths to try. Sometimes this can become exhausting. Know the difference between being polite and being taken advantage of. Know when you have done everything you can to be accommodating and do your best to keep a smile on and provide great service.

  1. Communication is key to a great event team…

… so listen up!

Building an awesome event team can take time and practice, but one thing is for sure… if a team can work together and communicate well they will find success. Take time prior to an event to build a relationship between the staff that will be working on event day. The more they know and trust each other the more likely you are to have a rock star team. Encourage everyone to be open and willing provide ideas, but also to listen and react quickly when you need them to.

  1. Let’s look for a solution to this or find an alternative…

… I thrive on this stuff!

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Most eventprofs love a challenge and will work hard to find a solution, rather than saying “no”. At the same time we know from experience when something won’t work and when we need to produce an alternative option. This is a great opportunity for you to shine and gain the respect and loyalty of your clients.

  1. Could I take some more information?

… I am not a mind reader.

As the event planner people expect you to know everything and, on the whole, generally you do (about your event that is!). Sometimes though you just need a little bit more information to deal with the situation at hand and to deal with it efficiently.

Another classic is when people expect you to be able to give them a quote for your services, without knowing any details about the project, or even expect you to conjure up the total anticipated event budget.

  1. My pleasure…!

...Why did I ever decide to get into this career?!

On your darkest days as a planner you will go through the motions but be questioning why you ever chose this career path. In reality you will soon bounce back and thrive once again on the excitement and energy of your role, which keeps you coming back for more. When your days are long and strenuous try to remember the high points.

In Conclusion

As event planners we have all said some of these things, when really we meant something else entirely. We all have sayings that we use to learn, teach and grow. Try your best to convey the proper message and get to the root of what you are intending to say. Pay attention to what other team members say and try to read between the lines of what they really mean. Over time you will learn more about yourself and the industry by listening, learning and improving your communication.

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.
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