What skills must an event organizer possess to do a kick ass job?

I’ve been organising events since 1996 and those events – as a whole – haven’t changed that much. I wish I could day the same for myself!

Conferences, exhibitions, festivals, road-shows, gala dinners, award ceremonies are all much the same as they were twenty years ago. We haven’t seen the shape shifting development that other industries have. However a few things have changed around the edges and I think it is time that we reviewed the skills that an event organiser needs to possess to be an event superstar.

Here is my list of the: 10 MUST HAVE event organizer skills

An all rounder rather than a specialist

During the 1990’s most events businesses sliced and diced the role of the organiser. Specialisation was the key: if you shone in sales you were moved to sales. If marketing was your thing, marketing called and you answered. However as the industry moves from the idea of an event being a ‘service’ rather than a ‘product’ the rounded organiser is back in fashion. So what skills does an event organizer need now?

This is a constantly evolving list and that makes for one challenging job! 

1. An understanding of logistics. This is and has always been a key requirement for an event organizer. Our rounded planner has to understand room layouts, the proclivity of people when queuing and where the best stands are likely to be located on a floor-plan. They also need to consider sight lines, maximum room capacities and a thousand other things that no longer conveniently fall under the jurisdiction of ‘operations.’

2. A role in Marketing. No one has the event so close to their heart as the event organizer. This is why an understanding of the discipline of marketing an event is a must have event organiser skill.

3. Create ‘Experiences’ not just run events. In order to ensure that our events are more than ‘people and logistics’ a deep understanding of meeting design is key for the reborn ‘Event Organizer’. It’s not just the learning environment that has to be considered, but an understanding of the psychology of attendees which even filters down to their on-site food and beverage consumption.

4. Use the power of Social Media. Understanding the role of Social Media in promoting and engaging attendees in our events is a recent but undeniably crucial weapon in our ‘rounded event organizers’ arsenal.

5. Use Event Technology. With mobile apps, voting and engagement pads, gamification and all manner of gadgets and gizmos, our organiser has to be ‘tech’ savvy like never before. It may be that you don’t need to use event technology to improve your event, but you won’t really know until you know what the available technology can do.

6. Hybrid Events. The extent of Hybrid events has yet to be properly measured, but there is no doubt that they will become an increasingly bigger player in the world of events. Along with its sisters ‘live streaming’ and ‘web casting’ our organizer has to be fully versed with these new ways of delivering our content and experiences.

7. Budgetary control. We have to think not just about achieving our budget targets, but adding the maximum value with the money we have. It’s not enough to bring the event in on target we really have to be as creative as possible with the money we have.

8. Negotiation. A very traditional function and still a core skill for the organizer. But even this has changed: it’s not now just about getting the lowest price. Event Organizers must leverage Social Media, other forms of marketing and consider how to bring suppliers into the event experience. This approach focuses on adding value as well as working for the right fees and charges for venues, speakers and even other suppliers.

9. A people person. A part of the role that has and will never change. Firm but approachable. Decisive but flexible. Fun but serious. On site and in planning this facet of the role is kernel to an events success.

10. A true industry representative. Our modern day organizer has to be more like ‘Mighty Mouse’ than a ‘Teddy Bear’. The all-round organizer has to represent an industry still struggling to be recognised and appreciated. They have to be dynamic and they have to shout about the value and the importance of events to so many types of businesses in so many different sectors.

We hope by completing a list like this others will see exactly why it is a very difficult juggling operation to run modern events. We’d love to hear your top ten or perhaps you don’t agree with any of our top ten. Visit our Facebook page to continue the discussion.