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We frequently discuss the skills it takes to be a successful event professional, such as focus, leadership, and adaptability. On the flip side, however, there are certain ways to tell that event planning is not the best career for you. If you see elements of your personality in this post, odds are you shouldn’t invest the time and energy to become a planner.
I recently spoke to a young woman at a networking event, who wanted to know how she could tell if she was a good fit to be an event planner. She’d studied business in college, and asked my opinion on how to tell if she simply wasn’t cut out for the eventprof life. After our talk, and giving it some thought, I realized that there were 7 things that have the potential to make it very difficult to become a successful event planner. So without further ado, here’s to tell if event planning is not the career for you.
Details Overwhelm You
To be completely honest, event planning is all about the details. As an event planner, it’s your job to keep track of an extensive rolodex of contact information from your sponsors, vendors, colleagues and attendees. Planners are expected to remember dates, times, locations, seating arrangements, passwords, menu items, and literally hundreds of other seemingly tiny details. These details make up a huge majority of a planner’s workload. If the thought of keeping up with that much information seems scary, it will be exceptionally difficult to flourish is an event planner.
You Don’t See Social Media as a Viable Marketing Avenue
Traditional marketing and advertising methods changed the relationships between consumers and businesses. But the days of 1960’s Mad Men are officially over. Social media is an integral part of every event planner’s life, and extends beyond the “basics” of Facebook and Twitter. New platforms rise all the time, and aspiring planners who are uninterested in learning to navigate these new platforms, and use them to their fullest potential are going to struggle in this industry.
Writing Is Not Your Forte
Event planning doesn’t, at first glance, seem like the type of profession that would require a lot of writing. However, similar to social media, content marketing is a major aspect of event planning (don’t believe me? the website you’re using right this instant proves otherwise). In addition, the sheer volume of contracts, vendor agreements, and email correspondence required to be a top notch eventprof, is enough to mandate that planners feel comfortable expressing themselves through text.
You’re Not A People Person
I’m not sure that this needs much explaining, but if the thought of dealing with hundreds of people each week makes you feel drained, event planning is not going to come easy. Event planners have to be social people. Maintaining an expansive professional network is one of the hallmarks of a successful planner. The event coordinator often liaises with all the vendors, the talent, and the sponsors. Sometimes planners have to make cold calls, and present their “elevator pitch” in meetings or at other social events. Not to mention the fact that during a live event, planners are often so busy running back and forth between the attendees, the speakers and the volunteers that they hardly get to enjoy the event themselves! Being comfortable interacting with other human beings is absolutely a prerequisite for the job.
You’re Uninterested In A Desk Job
Lots of people who are interested in becoming event planners envision a job that is a cross between scenes from The Devil Wears Prada and The Wedding Planner. I’ve spoken to many aspiring event planners who tell me that they were initially drawn to the planning industry because it lends itself to traveling to exotic locations, and flitting from party to party, without leaving them tied to a desk from 9-5. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but although event planning absolutely includes these elements, there is still quite a bit of desk work involved. It is true that no 2 days will ever be exactly alike, but many days will find you sitting at your computer, wading through email, updating social media, and digitally handling paperwork. If you only want to be a planner because you hope to escape your desk, I promise you’ll be disappointed.
Multitasking Is Stressful
They say that it’s best to do one thing at a time. Unfortunately, event planning is not that kind of party. Earlier on in this post we discussed the myriad details that event planners have to deal with on a daily basis. In addition to remembering and being responsible for those million details, planners also have to be able to keep up with multiple tasks and thoughts at once. You’ve got to be able to focus on the social media campaign for your event while making sure that your hotel can accommodate all your attendees. You’ll have to make a dent in your email inbox at the same time that you have to send off RFPs. Multitasking is an unavoidable element to event planning, and those who don’t “thrive under pressure” are probably going to struggle.
You’re All About The Last Minute
Organization is key for event planners. Between the myriad details you must juggle, and the various people you have to communicate with in order to pull together a cohesive event, procrastination is not an option. Event planning requires a long-term view. Often the day your event goes live, is between 6 months and a year away from the time when you as the planner get involved. Let me tell you as a person who struggles with procrastination, if you struggle with being able to set up your personal and professional schedule far in advance (read: months at the very least) event planning is going to be difficult.
Event planning is a wonderful and rewarding career, and I encourage anyone who feels passionately about the industry to do all they can to become a planner. However, if you balk at social situations, get easily overwhelmed, or are stuck in the bygone days of marketing, it could be that event planning is not the career choice for you.