4 Tips for Special Event Planners

shutterstock_178292735Dear Friends and Colleagues:

There will be times when you must constantly navigate deadlines and timelines, especially when planning several events at once.  You may feel as if you are always thinking, or as if you are always on! Goodness knows, I can certainly relate.

Last year, there was a 5-month period where I planned two open-house receptions after my job relocated, a fundraiser and reception for 250, a memorial service for a former leader with more than 200 colleagues and dignitaries, and a signature fundraiser for 700 supporters.

When planning multiple events, I become so mired in the details that I forget to enjoy the results.  We all know how it feels to be under constant pressure to produce successful events, yet when we deliver, we move to the next one as though we are on auto-pilot.

Despite a proven track-record, do you as though you could use more support?  If so, how do you manage?  If you are employed, does your environment allow you to address these feelings without judgement?  If you are an entrepreneur, have you created systems to provide support?  If your answer to either question is no, please know that you are not alone.

Here is some good news.  At any given moment, we can build support systems and acquire resources along the way.  Here are 4 tips that I thought you would find helpful.

1. Connect with a professional network.
Ideally, this is a place where you can seek advice for those more challenging moments.  For some a membership fee is required, others might be free.  Don’t think of this as just a venting session, for a good network allows you to share advice and your success stories.  Here are a few organizations for your consideration.  Resources are always growing, and I encourage you to always add to your list.

  • Association of Fundraising Professionals (for non-profit professionals)
  • Bizbash
  • Cvent’s Online Event Management Resources
  • Event Planners Association
  • International Special Events Society

2. Create your own “go-to” team.
Ideally, this is a special group of friends and colleagues who respect what you are trying to achieve, understand your challenges, and can offer moral support.

3. Connect with a mentor.
Ideally, this is a senior industry professional who can help you think through challenges and come up with solutions.  He/she can also guide you on ways to build upon your successes and learn from past mistakes.

4. Create your own personal mission statement.  
A mentor suggested that I develop a mission statement to encourage me during my challenging moments.  I came up with GRACE.

  • G – Be gracious at all times.
  • R – Be respectful to everyone.
  • A – Accomplishments are important.  Be mindful of what I have achieved.
  • C – Be a consummate professional in all my interactions with others.
  • E – Bring excitement, ease, and elegance, to every event.

My Final Question.
How do I emerge from each situation with grace and dignity?

This is what gives me pause. To be totally honest, I do not always have the answer to each challenge, but I have noticed that during the process, I am able to ground myself in the confidence needed to complete the task.

From the depths of what I am challenged with, I reconnect with what I strive to be – a gracious woman, committed to doing the best job possible.

Have a great day!


2 Replies to “4 Tips for Special Event Planners”

  1. I would add and new vendors to number one. I mean, joining associations and speaking with colleagues is perfectly fine, but speaking with new vendors and paying attention to what they offer can also help any event planner get new ideas for his own business.


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