Recently, I attended a wonderful Bridal Show in NYC hosted by a well-known celebrity. As part of the event, there was a panel discussion featuring some of New York’s finest in the wedding and event planning industry. They were to answer questions fielded from an audience of several hundred Brides to Be. The panel also included a celebrity event planner or “Eventiste”, as she referred to herself.
At some point, this Eventiste made a comment to the audience that she forbids her clients to look on social networking sites for ideas because she doesn’t want them coming to her with any pre-conceived notions of what they want. She even went so far as to mention the social networking site of one of the other panelists, made several very condescending comments to the audience, and railed on about “her way of doing things”! News flash here people…it’s not about you! It’s always about the bride, client, company, etc. that you are hired to assist! The audience was abuzz as they watched this Eventiste totally derail before their eyes. I was sitting next to a young couple and heard the Groom to be say: “They talk about Bridezillas, what about the Wedding Planner from Hell?” I laughed because he’d voiced exactly what I was thinking! That whole episode made me really think about my profession and the skills and attributes necessary to be a successful event planner, corporate or social, in today’s market. Here’s my top ten list of must haves:
- Humility – If you want to achieve greatness, and even if you’ve already achieved greatness, treat every potential client you meet with the utmost respect. Make them feel as though it would be your greatest pleasure to help them. The next most sought after event planner is right behind you and if you’ve alienated droves of people because you thought you were too good for them, you’re going to be yesterday’s news before you know what hit you.
- Good Listening Skills – It’s always about the client, so you better be listening closely when they tell you what their idea of their dream wedding, perfect party or successful product launch looks like. Yes, you can infuse your creativity, make suggestions, even advise them if you think something is really inappropriate or won’t work, but in the end, you need to meet the goal!
- Flexibility – Don’t have all these steadfast rules and pre-conceived notions for the event. Be flexible and find ways to use your creativity to satisfy the client even if their ideas don’t exactly concur with your own. Learn the finer points of negotiation. They will serve you well. Give a little, gain a lot!
- Creativity – No cookie cutter events here people…you are so much better than that…aren’t you? Have questionnaires for different types of clients and seek important information that will assist you in making every event unique to your client. Find what they love to do, what they want to celebrate, what they want to sell and get wildly creative to produce a true Signature Event!
- Stay Current – Keep abreast of new trends, techniques and vendors in your field. Take continuing education classes, read trade publications and forecasts, and speak to your vendors to see if they are getting any new, unusual requests for anything that may be trending.
- Organizational Skills – An absolute must for the event planner. You are dead in the water without them. Have a detailed plan of attack for every event from beginning to end, and document absolutely everything you do! This will come in handy for your staff as well. You can’t possibly handle every detail of every event yourself, but if everything is spelled out, your staff will be able to assist you with ease.
- Attention to Detail – Often, it’s the smallest details that have the greatest impact. Don’t overlook any opportunity to make some part of the event extra special by adding a small, but thoughtful detail.
- Grace Under Pressure – Things can and will go wrong. As organized as you are, there are things beyond your control. Stay calm! Always try to anticipate beforehand those areas of the event that could cause potential problems, and have a “Plan B”. Don’t ever let on that you are flustered, worried or maybe even frantic! Handle the situation head on with alternate plans. All your client ever needs to know is that something became a potential problem, but their ever-capable planner handled it.
- Integrity – Always, always maintain yours! Don’t lie to your customers, don’t promise them things you can’t deliver, don’t cut corners or cheat them in any way. Always be honest about problems that may arise in the planning stages and offer thoughtful solutions. Don’t take on a client if you know that giving them what they want will compromise your integrity in any way.
- Love What You Do! – If you don’t, you have no business in this business. This is a business about making people’s dreams a reality. It’s a gift for them and for you! You can always tell the event planner who works to live from the one who lives to work! Have true passion for what you do! Making clients happy is the gift that keeps on giving!
This is a guest post by Ann Meyer Signature Events, LLC. Ann Meyer Signature Events is a distinctive Wedding and Event Planning Company catering to a discerning clientele. Their passion lies in creating chic, elegant, one-of-a-kind affairs that reflect the essence of the client and their most personal wishes and dreams.