Successful event managers at the peak of their career are driven, highly organised professionals – but did they all start out that way? If you’re lucky, you might have these personal traits, those innate qualities that come naturally to you, plus perhaps the patience and stamina which certainly contribute to making you the right kind of personality for event management.
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But what other personality traits might benefit a career in event management? What are the most wanted event management skills? And how are these different from the actual personal skills you might need to learn or further develop a successful role in events? Have a look at what the experts from event management training and placement specialists, Event Academy, have to say.
1) Great Communication Skills
Communications happen in a variety of forms for all of us across a typical day and in almost every form of communication you can think of – speaking and listening, reading and writing, presenting, signing and signalling – and your abilities in these areas can have a significant bearing on success in event management.
“It’s essential to be a phenomenal communicator both written and oral” comments Martin Turner, Senior Lecturer at Event Academy. Whilst that’s good news for those individuals who are natural communicators, who can get their point across succinctly and understand what it means to be clear, concise and effective when it comes to communicating what they want, the demand doesn’t end there! In events, it’s not just about communicating information from person to person – it’s also the ability to present and communicate ideas.
2) Being a People Person and Team Player
Running naturally alongside communication is the ability to engage with others effectively, which includes being approachable and able to work productively in teams. “Such people skills are recognized as being important at any level of expertise or position in the pack,” points out Justine Kane, Course Director at Event Academy. “Event managers need to be leaders and team players.”
This ability to be part of, as well as communicate effectively within wider teams is also important when it comes to networking, the lifeblood of success in events. Key personal traits which underpin this umbrella of communication, teamwork and networking include patience and respect. Having patience can be as productive as pro-activity when it comes to working in busy teams with other professionals and is part of respecting their professionalism. In turn, showing respect, by waiting patiently for agreed deadlines and actions, or through being punctual and timely with your own responses and actions, shows that you respect others’ time. This is all part of being a team player with everyone involved in the event you’re organising and the network which supports it, not just with the client or employer who is paying for it all.
3) Willingness, Flexibility and a Positive Attitude
Attitude is a state of mind which can make or break you as an event manager. You have to be flexible and adaptable – there is no room for single mindedness. This adaptability doesn’t just apply to the many things an event manager can find themselves being asked to do on a daily basis, it also applies to the new methods and innovations which continue to flow into this fast-moving industry.
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4) Highly Organised and Efficient
The events industry is of course based around organisational skills and as far as traits for success are concerned, an absolute non-negotiable is the need to be organised. Lorne Armstrong, Director of Event Academy, explained that “because project management’s about detail and logic, the ability to organise your thoughts and goals is essential”.
5) Budgeting Capability
All the experts agree that having the ability to handle budgets is key to success. Whilst a natural aptitude for numbers can certainly support this, the ability to manage budgets, plus skills in negotiating as part of effective money management, are certainly professional skills which may also be learned.
6) Attention to Detail and Pride in Work
The personal traits of being able to pay attention to detail and take pride in the work involved is also vital. Personal pride is key to delivering success for the event and for yourself in the role.
7) Determination to Succeed, Stamina to Work Hard
This ability to deliver great events can only be achieved if underpinned by determination and drive, which lay right at the heart of success. Although these might be externally motivated, they can’t really be taught – it’s either in you or it isn’t!
Chirag Patel, an Event Academy graduate recalls from his event studies the difference determination made in creating a career in events after training: “We had 50 people in our course and the people who were determined, were the ones who are still working in the industry today.” But he also recognises that this only works intrinsically “At the end of the day, it comes down to the individual to make strides, push themselves forwards and get their foot in the door – which is really the hardest thing to do.”
But determination is not just a trait which gets you started. The drive to achieve a successful career in events also requires stamina and commitment. In Chirag’s experience of this high-pressure industry, something extra is needed and it’s all to do with the mindset through which your determination and drive is channelled. “It’s not just about being really enthusiastic and driven but also about being calm under pressure. People who succeed in this industry have a really strong drive and a really strong mentality to make it.”
Of course any SWOT analysis will demonstrate that we all have weaknesses, and whilst Kane lists the many must-have attributes in her students and teams, she wisely acknowledges: “There’s no chance that you’re going to have all of them because there’s no such thing as the perfect person – and therefore, no such thing as the perfect event manager.” This is why, if you find your personality isn’t yet a great match, to make the most of event management training courses, which directly support the development of industry-essential personal skills. One example of this is confidence – that underlying personal trait which supports all of the others – and something that can be really developed through events experience and training.
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