3 key signs of a great event planner

Should you plan your big event, or would you be better off hiring a professional event planner? This is a common question with no easy answer. While a professional likely has much more training and experience, some people have a natural talent for planning their own events and those of their friends. You might have a relative or friend who fits the bill, or you might like the peace of mind that comes with hiring an expert. Regardless of who ends up doing the planning, below are 3 key signs that the person you chose will do an excellent and professional job.

1. Flexibility and creative thinking
Big events tend to take on a life of their own. They usually evolve dramatically during the planning and preparation phases, as different people’s ideas are incorporated and refined, budgets are considered, and sub-projects succeed or fail. Yet these phases are only the beginning. Murphy’s Law is alive and well in the event world, which virtually ensures that things will go wrong on the day of the event.

While a good event planner can design a tightly coordinated and cohesive event, what sets the truly great ones apart is their ability to think on their feet and come up with creative solutions on the fly. Your event planner should be entirely comfortable with people, equipment, and situations falling apart around him, and be able to coolly and calmly put everything and everyone back together by engineering an alternative plan that addresses the immediate crisis without losing the overall cohesiveness of the event.

2. People skills and customer service
A great event planner recognises that she is in the people business. From clients to suppliers to venues, the event planner must have a knack for putting people at ease. Personal connections, an innate understanding of how each person fits into the big picture, and empathy for individual concerns are absolutely required. An event planner must understand psychology well enough to decide how to present bad news, share ideas or new considerations, and inspire confidence, while keeping in mind that every person is different and requires an individualised presentation style.

Equally important is the ability to say no in a way that does not alienate anyone. Every person involved in the event will have her own priorities, ideas, and concerns, and different people’s interests will often conflict. Like a head chef leading a kitchen brigade, the event planner must always keep the big picture in mind, make executive decisions for the good of the event, and deliver his decisions with equal parts authority and compassion.

When dealing with the client, however, the event planner must remember that the customer is always right. It is appropriate to act as a concerned guiding force, but not to become egotistical, refuse to listen, or insist on elements that are outside of the client’s budget or personal interests.

3. Time and budget management abilities
A special event is actually a complicated choreographed routine that can be broken into a seemingly endless number of steps. In order to get them all done in a timely and budget-friendly manner, a great event planner needs top-notch organisational skills. Some people use spreadsheets, while others prefer writing each task by hand in a day planner. The exact method used is not nearly as important as the fact that it works perfectly for the individual.

Accurate budgeting requires a keen knowledge of the market and understanding of the factors that can influence cost. Projecting costs based on unknown variables is not easy, but a great event planner uses his knowledge and experience to come up with highly accurate estimates. When changes are proposed, the event planner must be able to quickly work out approximately how much the change will cost in both money and time.

How can you tell if the event planner you are considering meets the above criteria? Make the time to conduct a thorough interview, and ask questions designed to test her skills in these areas. Ask about hypothetical scenarios or real-life experiences. Explain what you envision and ask for suggestions on enhancing your ideas. Most importantly, ask for references, and be sure to follow up with them. No amount of interviewing is a satisfactory substitute for speaking with someone who has been through the entire process with the person you are considering.

At Betta Party Hire, we are here to help. If you desire personalised assistance, please phone us on 1300 472 793. No matter how large or small your event, we will be delighted to share our knowledge and recommendations for trusted professionals who can help you ensure that each aspect of your special event is perfect.

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