A Complete Guide on How To Manage an Event (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 24 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Hosting various types of events is a regular business practice for many organisations. Event management can be challenging as it requires a range of skills and specialised knowledge. Learning about how event management works can help organisations to devote proper efforts and resources to it. In this article, we discuss event management, the stages of the planning process, the skills you need to be successful in the role and how to manage an event.

What is an event manager?

An event manager applies project management principles to the planning, organisation and execution of an event. They execute small and large-scale events to ensure that guests understand the purpose of the event and gain something valuable from it. These professionals collaborate with many others to run an event successfully and they work on each aspect of the event, from creating a vision to communicating with vendors. Other job duties include:

  • Creating a concept for the event

  • Developing a marketing strategy

  • Writing timetables and schematics for the day-of

  • Obtaining the required permits to host

  • Selecting and reserving a venue or location space

  • Contacting and negotiating contracts with vendors

  • Inviting and advertising special guests or speakers

  • Arranging transportation for guests

  • Developing a menu for food and drinks

  • Creating a backup plan

  • Controlling and coordinating the event on the day-of

Related: How To Become an Event Planner

Skills for event managers

Event managers need specific skills to cope with the demands of their profession. To be successful in this industry, these professionals may benefit from the following skills:

Planning skills

While an event planner generally carries out the event planning, a manager may collaborate with them on various aspects of the event. These can include determining the event budget, developing the event schedule and selecting the event venue and activities. The ability to plan and consider all possibilities is crucial for the event's subsequent success.

Related: Management Skills: Definitions and Examples

Organisational skills

The person in charge of the event has to organise and arrange an event in its entirety. Whether it's a small birthday party or a larger scale event, the manager of the event is typically in charge of all the details and makes sure that everything runs on schedule and according to plan. They also plan for contingencies in case anything goes wrong.

Communication skills

Event managers contact vendors via email or phone to negotiate and hire them for specific event-related services. Additionally, they must address client concerns and handle marketing requirements. It's also necessary for these professionals to express themselves clearly in speech and in writing to avoid costly errors that can arise from misunderstanding.

Interpersonal skills

As event professionals coordinate and collaborate with diverse people and teams in planning various events, they typically have excellent interpersonal skills. It's important for them to know how to work well with different personalities. Additionally, they must know how to defuse tense situations and avert conflicts.

Multitasking skills

Organising and managing an event requires paying attention to many different aspects, such as lightning, stage construction, seating arrangements and setting up booths. Thus, being able to multitask and oversee various tasks simultaneously can make your job easier.

Creative and problem-solving skills

When organising events, it's not uncommon for unexpected, complex challenges to arise. Resolving these quickly without affecting the event schedule is of paramount importance for event managers. They must also be able to discern which are the most urgent ones and sort through all available options to come up with the best solution. However, for such resolutions, event managers have to do away with regimented thinking and try to be more open-minded and creative.

Negotiation skills

Along with renting venues for events, event managers have to hire caterers, decorators and lighting contractors. They must make program arrangements with speakers and entertainers or their agents. Thus, event managers must have sharp negotiation skills to remain within their budget. They must understand the value their business brings and make judicious use of that in their bargaining.

Technological skills

Technological skills are necessary as event managers must use event management software to manage all event-related data, from email marketing to event websites, registrations, attendee surveys and venue sourcing. They can also use the software for creating budgets, organising tasks and scheduling resources. Technological knowledge is also useful for employing interactive mobile applications for business networking, communication, engaging with the audience during the event and collecting feedback.

How to manage an event in five stages

Follow these steps to help you manage events:

1. Research

Before planning an event, it's important to have a clear goal or objective. Do some research to determine what angle to take, how to best achieve the goal and what type of event is feasible for your team. This stage of planning includes compiling a budget and conducting preliminary research regarding location or deciding what type of event to have.

For example, imagine a local nonprofit needs to host a fundraising event each year. Six months prior to the event, the team has a meeting to determine how much they want to raise, their budget for the event and what style of fundraiser would work best to achieve their fundraising goal. This first phase is crucial to the success of this event as it provides event managers with a clear direction.

2. Event design

The second phase is where managers begin to compile ideas, choose a theme or determine how to decorate the venue. This stage is where the events team uses creativity to generate unique ideas for the event. This phase includes the creation of schematics and timetables, which guide the event during set-up and on the day of. Developing these details early ensures that your team has plenty of time to account for any unexpected changes.

For example, imagine you're planning a professional golf tournament to thank your clients. Since the purpose is to show client loyalty and to promote your services, you might decide to design a t-shirt or other merchandise for each guest during phase two.

3. Plan the details

The details planning stage encompasses most of the planning process. Rather than coming up with a vision or setting goals, the manager and events team work to solidify details for the day of the event. While the manager may delegate tasks to members of their team, it's important they know what's going on with each aspect of the program.

4. Execute the event

Once the key elements of planning are complete, it's time for the manager to orchestrate the event. This stage involves setting up, decorating and preparing the venue to host the event. Some events require set up a few days in advance, while others are set up the morning of the event.

5. Post-event evaluation

Once the event is over, it's valuable for the manager and the events team to evaluate the success of the event. They might assess how closely they met their goals. For example, if the fundraising goal was $50,000, the team can compare this statistic to the actual figure they raised. They can also evaluate the production as a whole to learn what elements contributed to the outcome of the event.

Tips for event management professionals

Here are a few more tips to consider when entering the event management field:

Stick to the five C's of event management

A popular tool for organising events is called the "five c's." You might use these as a way to remember the main steps for orchestrating your event. The five c's include:

  • Concept: After you invent a concept for the event, try adhere to it throughout the process.

  • Coordination: It's helpful to have detailed plans that your team knows thoroughly so every person helping with the event can coordinate their work efforts.

  • Control: This step helps you ensure that every detail is set up for success on the day of the event. You might do a trial run of the event to confirm that each aspect is under control.

  • Culmination: This refers to the day of the event, when all of your team's efforts culminate into a successful event.

  • Closeout: After an event is over, make sure it ends successfully. This includes tasks like paying vendors or cleaning the venue space.

Collaborate

One of the most important aspects of event management is collaboration. An event is likely to run smoothly when multiple people engage with each stage of the planning process. If you're looking to start out as an event planner, it's helpful to find a mentor and to learn from their own experience in the field. Collaborating with experienced event managers can give you the tools you need to find success in the role.

Related: What Is Collaboration? (Definition and Examples)

Develop business acumen

Because there are so many different elements to event management, it's important to develop skills beyond organisation. Business skills and knowledge of the market equip you to negotiate with clients, vendors and independent contractors and set a fair price for your services. You might gain these skills from years of experience or decide to take a course in business to prepare you to enter the field.

Related: Management Skills: Definitions and Examples

Remain calm throughout the process

Planning detailed events and completing them successfully may be stressful at times. However, remaining calm during the process and focusing on the specific tasks you need to complete next may help the process feel more manageable. Your calm presence at an event helps others involved feel equally calm, too. This attitude can encourage the entire events team to handle any unexpected circumstances during the event in an orderly manner.

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