13 Truths Every Event Manager Knows For Sure


Ask any event manager about the opportunities and challenges facing the events they oversee and the answers will be as varied as the events themselves.

But ask them about being an event manager and the differences disappear.

No matter the size or scope of the events they oversee, event managers share a number of common truths about the profession they love.

Here are a few....


The learning never stops.

Just when they think they’ve mastered everything, something new comes along that requires them to dive in and figure it out. Great event planners know that continuous learning keeps them fresh, challenged and frankly it’s what many love about the job. Every event is different and even those who have spent their entire career in the business continue to add to their know-how and experience.


Sometimes things won’t be perfect. But they will be good enough.

Perfectionism can be a wonderful trait when it comes to managing events. It’s what everyone aims for. But every now and again things don’t work out quite as planned. A good event manager knows that sometimes “good enough” is ok. It often is the only way to think about a given situation to keep from over-stressing in the moment. The real key is figuring out how to fix it so next time it’s perfect.


The attendees/guests don’t see what is behind the scenes.

This kind of follows the point above. Sometimes things behind the scenes are incredibly chaotic and it feels as though everything is falling apart. Good event planners remember that despite everything not quite living up to the perfect vision they had in mind, the attendees don’t know what was planned, can't see behind the scenes and can be perfectly happy with things just the way they are.


Decisions must be made to maximize the experience of the guests/attendees.

Great event planners know that even the most fabulous idea that is executed to perfection won’t mean anything at all if it doesn’t address the needs or desires of the attendees. They are the life-blood of the event.


Just when they think they’ve seen it all…

Ask any seasoned event planner if anything surprises them. Most will laugh. Just when they think they’ve run into the most outlandish request from a client someone tops it. Just when they think they’ve seen the craziest guest behavior, someone manages to outdo the crazy. It’s part of the fun of the business. Never a dull moment.


They know not to burn bridges.

It’s a relatively small industry. Good event managers know they are likely to run into the same people at some point in the future. It’s never, ever a good idea to burn bridges. It doesn’t mean sticky situations don’t occur. They are just wise enough to know how often paths can cross again and work hard to always present themselves professionally, honestly and manage even the most difficult scenario with grace and civility.


Good supplier relationships are worth their weight in gold.

Suppliers can rescue event managers in untold ways and in unimaginable situations. Those who foster great relationships with their suppliers will always fare better than those who choose the adversarial route.


Complacency is deadly.

A great event manager knows that events evolve and grow and require constant tending to keep them relevant and successful. They know that complacency is like a disease that will slowly ravish the existence of even the biggest and the best events in the world. Refresh. Reinvent. Change.


They can push themselves harder than they think possible.

Just when they think they’ve never worked longer hours or twisted themselves quite as far inside out to make a miracle happen, something comes along to push them even further. And they answer the call. Every time.


Change is inevitable.

Great event manages know that the very essence of the industry is rooted in change. And they love it. Whether it’s a re-branding or a new technology or a market shift or a new client, change is around every corner. It’s what draws many to the industry.


Preparing for every contingency is great but…

Good event planners know that all the planning in the world doesn’t mean something won’t happen they weren’t prepared for. The good news is that in preparing for everything else, they will find in themselves with the capacity and inspiration to figure out the newest challenge.


Arriving on site is the best!

Planning is great. Arriving on site is better. No more time to weigh the options, to change plans or to imagine what might go wrong. Now decisions are made on the spot, results are seen immediately and the magic happens. The immediacy of it all is energizing.


A great team can make or break an event.

All great event managers know that the most important assets they have are the people around them. Whether it’s staff or volunteers, a great team is priceless. They can make the most stressful situation easier, take on heroic efforts that inspire everyone and sometimes even make the day a little brighter by simply making a cup of coffee at just the right time. No great event planer does it alone.



Post by Margaret Johnston,

As a career event professional, Margaret brings valuable insight and knowledge to the recruitment, management and development of high-performance teams for the event industry. A strategic and inspiring leader, Margaret has held executive roles for several global event management companies and key roles in the start up and orchestration of many high profile and international events.


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