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Everything You Ever Needed to Know about Becoming an Event Manager


What do Event Managers do?

 

Many people underestimate just how much is involved in the course of organising an event, even a small one. Depending on the client and the level of involvement in each event, event managers can be in charge of researching and securing an event venue, engaging a transport company, hiring staff, arranging catering services and setting up accommodation for attendees and vendors. As well as this they are also responsible for ensuring all health and safety requirements are met.

Event managers are also frequently involved in the marketing of events, including all online and offline advertising and social outreach, telemarketing and all activity relating to ticket sales. As well as acting independently to get all the admin and paperwork done, much of an event manager’s day to day activity can involve liaising or even working directly with the client’s own marketing department.

On the day, event managers are responsible for registering attendees, issuing out badges and generally getting people into the event with as little hassle as possible. They’ll also deal with any problems or issues on the day and will be in communication with event staff, sponsors and vendors.

 

Below is a list of tasks and activities that feature heavily in the life of an event manager:

 

Manage all pre-event planning including booking guest speakers, creating delegate packs and any pre-event parties

Liaise and consult with clients at a strategic level, as well as regarding the finer details of the event

Produce detailed timelines, suggested venue and supplier lists, staffing requirements and detailed budget breakdowns

Liaise with sales and marketing teams to promote the event both online and offline

Research and secure venue and negotiate price

Research, hire and manage various suppliers and contractors

Coordinate all event logistics including venue car parking, security, first aid, hospitality, catering and travel arrangements

Communicate with the media to arrange interviews, press packs and entrance to the event

Troubleshoot any problems or issues on the day of the event making sure all runs smoothly and to budget

Manage and coordinate a team of event staff on the day

Make sure that all insurance, legal, health and safety obligations are properly communicated and adhered to

Oversee the setting up and dismantling of all event staging, lighting, booths and other equipment

Produce post-event analytics and evaluation for the client to inform any future events

 

What it takes to be an Event Manager

 

There are no specific qualifications required to get into event management and event managers come from a range of backgrounds. A degree or diploma in event management isn’t essential but it can help when it comes to getting your foot in the door. Other relevant courses include business, leisure & tourism, marketing and hotel and catering management courses are all relevant.

What’s more important than qualifications is having practical and relevant work experience in anything that involves event planning or public relations. One way into this industry would be by volunteering to help at events. Many conferences, product launches and award ceremonies are reliant on volunteers and helping out at these kinds of functions will also help get you on the radar of people in the industry.

 

Skills and Qualities of a good Event Manager

 

Putting on a successful event means everything needs to come together on the day without a hitch. This requires a pretty varied skillset to pull off. Whilst the most essential skill required of an event manager is up for debate but a recent survey of event professionals from Genioso Event Magazine put organisations skills at the forefront on 15.85%, above problem solving skills on 12.2% and communication skills on 11.59%.

 

Let’s look at some of the most important key skills found in event managers:

 

Organisational skills

Whilst you can learn techniques to improve upon your organisations skills you’re either born a good organiser or you’re not. If you aren’t very good at organising anything then maybe a career in event management isn’t quite for you.

 

Project management skills

The ability to project manage means multi tasking and understanding the importance of tracking budgets, people and resources as well as excellent time management.

 

Leadership skills

Events come together because of the efforts of teams of people. Being a strong leader is therefore essential when it comes to getting the most out of people and bring them all together to pull off a successful event.

 

Problem solving skills

No two events are the same and each will throw up its own unique logistical, managerial and technical challenges. Being able to tackle problems calmly and in a logical fashion is therefore a crucial asset in an event manager.

 

Communication skills

Event managers talk to a lot of people in the build up to an event, as well as on the day. As well as your own team, you will need to communicate with sponsors, vendors, event venue staff, caterers, hotel staff, transport companies, etc. The list is huge and having good communication skills is therefore an absolute must.

 

Tech savviness

Events are increasingly becoming dependent on new technology, including social media, event registration and badging systems, data management software, etc. Being tech savvy is a real advantage then when it comes to getting to grips with this.

 

Passion and energy

It really might seem like more of a trait than a skill, but passion and energy in abundance really is essential when it comes to event planning. You will be meeting a lot of people and doing a lot of miles and you need to remain on top of your game the whole time. Trust us when we say, it’s a lot harder than it looks sometimes.

 

 

How to get started in Event Management

 

The UK events industry has grown rapidly in the last few years but the events management industry remains highly competitive. Standing out and rising to the top means setting yourself apart from the competition and this means living and breathing events and being prepared to always go that extra mile for clients.
Getting a foot on the ladder in the first place can be difficult though but there are some tried and tested methods that should put you in good standing for your first job in the event management industry.

 

Employers who use event managers

As well as specialist event management agencies, like us at Outsourced Events, many private and public sector organisations and companies will have their own event management teams. This includes hotels, universities, conference and exhibition centres, venues, big corporate companies, local authorities and public buildings and attractions. It pays therefore to explore various employment options.

 

Understand the industry

It’s amazing how many people want to go into event management without really understanding what it entails and what is required of them. Do your research and get to grips with what’s involved. There’s a ton of free resources and info online (more can be found in the further information chapter).

 

Volunteering

A lot of event organisers are on the lookout for volunteers to help support their event management team. The range of work might be varied but this can be a critical foot through the door for someone wishing to break into the industry. It also offers up the opportunity to network with event professionals. Finally it will give you the experience on your CV that will start to open up more doors.

 

Master’s Degrees

As we’ve already discussed, there are no formal qualifications required to get into event management. That being said, it is a competitive industry and having a master’s degree in events management will certainly put you ahead of a lot of the competition and could give your career as an event manager a real head start. You will also have the opportunity to pick up lots of practical experience while studying for a master’s. For more information visit the Association for Events Management Education website.

 

 

Event Manager Myths Debunked

 

Despite the popularity of events in the UK, whether corporate or public, there are still a huge number of misconceptions about what it is we do as event managers. From the smallest CXO round table events and product demos to huge trade fairs and music festivals, every event takes a huge amount of planning and organisation and has come about because of a team of dedicated professionals.

In this section I want to put a pin in some of the most common myths associated with event management.

The UK events industry has grown rapidly in the last few years but the events management industry remains highly competitive. Standing out and rising to the top means setting yourself apart from the competition and this means living and breathing events and being prepared to always go that extra mile for clients.
Getting a foot on the ladder in the first place can be difficult though but there are some tried and tested methods that should put you in good standing for your first job in the event management industry.

 

Event managers are just glorified wedding planners

A common misconception about event planning is that if you can organise one event you can organise any event. Whilst there are common attributes like organisational ability and interpersonal skills, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The skillset required to organise a large corporate event include an understanding of PR and marketing, as well as advanced project management and system skills. Weddings are very different types of event and require a more hands on DIY approach from the planner.

 

Anyone can be an event manager


As we’ve discussed, whilst there are many skills that can be learnt in both in academia and on the job training, not everyone is cut out to be an event manager. Having the ability to organise, strong leadership skills, the ability to multi-task and strong interpersonal skills are things one tends to be born with and are related to personality as much as learning. If some of this doesn’t come naturally, then it’s unlikely it ever will.

 

Event managers all work part time


It is possible for event management to be a part time job but more often than not it is full time with some unsociable hours involved. Event managers are some of the hardest working people you’re ever likely to meet and put in some serious hours when it’s needed.

 

Event management is easy


As you may have guessed by now, event planning and management is no walk in the park. Event managers need to be able to respond to situations quickly and calmly. In fact, according to Career Cast, event managers rank as the 5th the most stressful job, coming in above police officers and senior corporate executives.

 

Event management is glamorous


Even when travelling to exotic locations or exciting new cities, event managers have to be on top of their game at all time, checking emails, receiving calls and ensuring everything is running smoothly. The locations, people and event itself might seem glamorous but the blood sweat and tears that go into organising it certainly aren’t.

 

 


 

Further Information

 

Below is a list of organisations, resources and advice on event management and training in event management.

 

Event Management Jobs Pages

 

 

Specialist Recruitment Agencies

 

 

Professional Bodies

 

 

 

 

Denise Sharpe of Outsourced Events

Denise Sharpe is Managing Director of Outsourced Events.

The UK events industry has grown rapidly in the last few years but the events management industry remains highly competitive. Standing out and rising to the top means setting yourself apart from the competition and this means living and breathing events and being prepared to always go that extra mile for clients.
Getting a foot on the ladder in the first place can be difficult though but there are some tried and tested methods that should put you in good standing for your first job in the event management industry.

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