For most of us, a career in events management is more possible than ever – most of us already possess the vital skill of multitasking.
“What does it take to become a successful event manager?” is a question that is frequently asked. It is also very difficult to answer.
One skill you need is versatility. As an event manager, you are:
• the manager,
• the decorator,
• the “go to” person for all others,
• the operations expert,
• the negotiator, and
• the accountant.
There are many facets that go into producing an event. As such, this is a job that requires a wide range of skills.
A huge learning curve
One of the most exciting elements of event management is that it offers opportunities to continuously improve your skills and knowledge.
In events, the day you feel that you have nothing left to learn, is the day you should retire from the industry.
Between conceptualising the event and executing it, three distinctive skill sets are involved, namely creative and operational planning and marketing.
The ability to sell an idea, vision or concept, is utterly vital when working in events. Charisma and confidence assist good planning in allowing the event manager to sell their idea to clients.
Even the most potentially incredible event may never materialise if it is not marketed or articulated successfully.
A good event manager understands that they need to be involved in every step of the planning process, whether as chief decision maker or merely as the overseer.
This is, in essence, the ultimate skill of project management, because at the end of the day the success of the event lies in your hands.
You are the one that needs to execute each step correctly and make sure each supplier and contractor is doing their job in working towards the greater goal – a successful event.
If one thinks of an event as a well-oiled machine, each cog has a part to play and each one is reliant on the other to create a successful event. If one cog is not working or is absent, the machine cannot function.
Creating the budget for an event and securing the funding is another crucial cog. The ability to work with figures and the understanding of some basic accounting and finance skills are very important.
As most events are businesses, their goal is to make money. Even events, which are not financially motivated, require financial planning and capital to be produced, such as product launches or charity events.
Working creatively within a budget is a key skill, and knowing where to source the best and most unique stock at the best prices is a skill learnt primarily through experience and good research.
Risk management and operational planning are another two key skills that an event manager must acquire. Events, by their very nature, are risky.
There are many bylaws and regulations, which need to be adhered to over and above all other planning.
Large scale outdoor events require a vast amount of operations and logistics planning. This is where the event manager gets to wear the hat of the electrician, the plumber, the landscaper, the infrastructure manager, the lighting consultant etc.
You don’t need to be an expert in each field, but you do need a basic understanding of each area in order to successfully manage the event.
It may sound rather daunting, and it can be at times, but it is most certainly not boring! Events management is a challenging and rewarding career for those with the drive and passion to take it on.
Mandy Ross is the Course Convener for the University Cape Town Events Management course. The course is presented in conjuction with GetSmarter, an online education company. For more information contact Tamsin on 021 447 7565 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, visit www.GetSmarter.co.za. Find GetSmarter on Facebook and on Twitter @getting_smarter.
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