In a nutshell, event management is the design and creation of events from trade shows and exhibitions, conferences, meetings and award ceremonies to parties and celebrations. Depending on the type of industry you go into, your role as an event manager can vary hugely.
As an event manager you will be responsible for ensuring that every aspect of your event is considered, planned and executed smoothly. You’ll be thinking about your target audience and formulating event ideas that will appeal to them whilst sorting logistics and practical details and overseeing the event on the day (or night). As an event manager you are essentially a one-stop-shop and should keep a cool head at all times, especially when pressure starts to mount. If you are up for a challenge and don’t mind having your hands full, then event management could be the career for you!
Key functions of event management
In general, the key functions of an event manager are that they are responsible for planning, organising, managing and coordinating various types of events. Usually, event managers coordinate meetings with clients determine details about events. If event planning is for you, anticipate lots of meetings, lots of briefs and lots of juggling responsibilities!
What do event managers do?
- Understand requirements and details of each event
- Understand clients’ needs, wants and requirements
- Comply with financial and time constraints
- Book venues and schedule speakers
- Meet with clients and coordinate with them regularly and constantly
- Engage and book speakers or entertainment
- Arrange transportation and parking
- Obtain necessary permits and appropriate insurance
- Comply with health and safety standards
- Develop emergency contingency plans and communicate with the rest of your team
- Be able to manage a crisis situation at the event
- Design a security plan
- Monitor the event constantly
- Look for and compare different vendors (catering, decorators, musicians etc.) to get the best price and service
- Hire, train and oversee your wider team
- Manage all event operations (preparing venue, issuing invitations, food, drinks, entertainment etc.)
- Carry out event budget planning and stay within the budget
- Oversee and manage the event
- Evaluate event’s success and submit reports
- Follow up with clients, suppliers and your team.
Skills to Succeed as an event manager
As with most event planning functions, event management requires excellent organisational skills to succeed. You’ll need to be comfortable with spinning multiple plates at once and have confidence in your ability to get everything done on time, to deadlines.
Being able to prioritise and stay on task is what leads to a successful event. So therefore, absolutely no running around like a headless chicken but smooth, seamless organisation. You will need to be creative too, as event management begins with the process of creating a vision for the event and then seeing it through to execution, which needs creativity, flexibility, patience and lots of time and energy. Get those mood boards at the ready!
At eve we really appreciate the smaller details and this is something that you’ll need to be thinking about as an event manager. In our opinion, the most successful event planners think of everything, from ensuring that catering options fit the theme of the event to branding and décor, dress code and smaller touches like providing sun lotion on hot days, blankets on cold ones, flip flops for people who want to ditch their heels, USB or charging ports, Wi-Fi information, a sewing kit for wardrobe malfunctions or toiletries in the bathroom – the possibilities really are endless when you truly care about the event you’re creating.
Because project management is a key element and involves managing not only events but teams of people, often large teams, and lots of vendors and suppliers, other transferable skills are also hugely important. Interaction with individuals at all levels of an organisation is key in event management and being a comfortable communicator and a team player is a must. You might be shortlisting entertainment suppliers one day and meeting the CEO of your client organisation the next, so you need to be versatile.
Event Coordinator requirements and qualifications
There are certain requirements and qualifications for an event manager, although this may differ from company to company. In general, these are the requirements required to become and event manager:
- 2-5 years of experience in an event management role
- A portfolio of successful events
- Excellent supplier and client management skills
- Knowledge of basic recruitment practices
- Sense of pride in the company
- Excellent people skills
- Critical thinker and problem-solving skills
- Team player
- Good time-management
- Great interpersonal and communication skills
- Degree in hospitality management, public relations or a relevant field is preferred for many companies.
Event Management Versus Event Planning
While very closely related and interlinked to a certain extent, event management and event planning are different functions.
The key difference (which the names give away!) is that event managers manage the event and event planners plan the event.
In most companies though, event managers may also plan aspects of events and event planners may manage certain components of the event planning process. The two roles go hand in hand. Event managers and event planners work side by side, and their responsibilities may overlap.