“So you want to know the secrets of becoming an effective events planner
and manager,” the elderly, well-groomed elite asked, as, with a twinkle in his
eye, he smiled at the young man opposite him.
“Yes, Chief Ileowo Gidankudi Bassey,” said Deola Musa Akan, returning the
smile, “I know that you are a trail-blazer, with over 25years experience in this
challenging industry and, so want to learn from you how you’ve survived and
“Why events-planning? What drives your dream to excel in this field? What do
you intend to achieve at the end?”
“It’s something I just like doing…meeting people, organising events for them,
the joy of seeing the happy faces during a successful naming ceremony, birthday-bash, wedding party, new product-launch in a factory, or end-of year anniversary of a company,… even there’s fun in the stress of taking risks of planning and executing some events within very short deadlines..”, stated Deola with a bright look.
“Well, you got me there… I was like that at the beginning …still am now, over
half a decade in an ever-evolving industry. Now listen and I will tell you some vital tips, tools and things that will help you in your quest for excellence as an events planner.”
With that, Chief Bassey reclined in his executive sofa, and began to lecture Mr Deola, who signalled to me to start jotting down. The summary of knowledge gained is what forms the body of this story.
Description and Demands of Events Planning
An event occurs is a result of an occasion worthy to be celebrated publicly.
An event can be described as a public assembly for the purpose of a celebration, education, marketing or reunion.
Events can be classified into three main categories. Events can be classified on the basis of their size, type
and context (Event Education Journal, 2013).
There are three main categories of events are private, corporate and charity/fundraising as follows:
- Private – used for individuals who can rent venues, such as Wedding
receptions, Birthday parties, Festival gatherings;
- Corporate events are used for a business to promote their company’s brand and products such as Business dinners, Conferences, Seminars, Product launches, Meetings;
- Charity/ Fund Raising, used for individuals to raise money for charity or sponsors of other worthy causes, or by events such as Sports events, Charitable auctions, Society dances/balls, Sponsored walks/runs.
During events, hosts and celebrants go great lengths to ensure their guests are well catered for during every event.
Most events are not planned by the celebrant but out-sourced to events planners. This is due to the celebrant’s desire to avoid the event-planning pressure and lack of time to do it himself, inadequate expertise, and need to optimise scarce funds.
Event planning is the process of planning and coordinating all activities to make the event successful, which can include activities such as budgeting, scheduling, site selection, acquiring necessary permits and so on. We shall discuss that in subsequent posts. Planning without management may hinder execution of the large-scale events.
Events management is the application of project management to the creation and development of large-scale events such as festivals, conferences, ceremonies, weddings, formal parties, concerts, or conventions.
Events planning and management are critical to the success of any event and is therefore useful in every field of endeavour. Every event is handled like a project, where the manager strives to obtain a balance between the three
forces prevalent on the project – cost, quality and time by using the work triangle.
Events Planning involves Scheduling but Events Management involves using Work Triangle
To be an events planner in hot demand, you have to have a track record from lots of successfully executed projects. Your experience and past achievements are what make you build capacity, increase your competence, and grow client bases and referrals, to make you ready to take on more tasking contracts.
By its nature, planning an event is like designing a project; it has not been executed, and so has inherent risks of unknown issues that could lead to failure. As an event planner, you must therefore be willing to tackle all
challenges that arise to ensure project success.
You stated earlier that you ventured into events planning to fulfill your life purpose and so ready to bear the risks that may arise- this is a good motive that will sustain your passion.
You are a special type of entrepreneur described as a Propreneur by Self Employment Experts, Sarah and Paul Edwards, in their bestselling book, Secrets of Self Employment.
An entrepreneur is an adventurous business risk-taker who ventures into all manners of business solely to make profit, but you have ventured into this business, not for its own sake, but because you see it as a means of fulfilling your passion to serve people through it: that’s what a Propreneur does.
To be an events planner in hot demand, you have to have a track record with lots of successfully executed projects. Your experience and past achievements are what make you build capacity and increase your competence to make you ready to take on more tasking contracts.
Next is to enlighten you on how to build your competence and capacity and so prepare to become an effective events planner and manager. You know that sustainable proper preparation + opportunity = success.
How to Prepare to Become an Effective Events Planner and Manager
The seven tips below are given to adequately prepare to realize your dream as an effective events planner. To save space and time, I briefly state them, but will delve deeply another day.
- Take care to ensure you are spiritually, mentally and physically well. Participate in spiritual exercises like prayer, worship that makes you connect to your creator, God, the true source of all success; meditate
on that which makes you more creative; and keep fit in your body by eating balanced diet and exercising well. Remember; the holy Book says, “the living have hope”.
- Work-life balance, as understood to mean creating time to spend separately on work and on life as two mutually exclusive conflicting aspects of our being, is a myth, according to renown consultant relationship management coach and expert blogger, Dr. Serena Ree, so, again, I stress that to have a harmonious balance it is best to do what you love and love what you do so that time spent on work and life are integrated in what makes us whole and not disintegrated human beings.
- You studied Advertising, Mass Communication, Theatre Arts, and Public Relations in the tertiary institution and by that formal education; you have the requisite competencies to handle tasks that arise in the events planning industry. Your two year-stints as project manager in that image branding company also helped develop your capacity.
- You are competent, but also need to improve your exposure and awareness of the industry, by association with senior colleagues in the industry, to learn from them and tap into their wealth of experience, like you are doing now talking with me.
- The events planning and management industry is relatively new in Nigeria, so does not yet have a regulatory body. However, under the aegis of the group, Events Marketers Nigeria (EMN), players such as wedding vendors, make-up artistes, DJs, and event market enthusiasts meet once a year, under the aegis of the convener, Mr Temitope Amodu. The forum allows these stakeholders to brainstorm, share ideas to improve the industry, as well as network for collaboration in future projects larger in scope than what they can handle individually. It’s good you attend to sharpen your saw, and I shall notify you of the next meeting.
- To increase your clientele base and patronage, which translates into more profits in your three locations, you need to do detailed
environmental scans- to know the potentials of you localities, needs of
your prospects to satisfy the customer. Note traditional festival days for activities you can participate in; join their local associations; get granular to know how to cook and serve their local delicacies.
- Lastly, make sure your business is run with a strong legal and corporate structure in place. For every contract you do, let agreements and terms of engagement be written down; adhere to simple principles of corporate governance (have a board of directors); keep books of your transactions well for tax audits and annual tax payments; seek legal advice to ensure all dealings are legitimate.
Additional Tips to Migrate from Good to Effective Events Planner
What differentiates equally competent events planners into the two categories of good, and effective? Let me give you some useful tips to guide you if you want to be that events Manager in hot demand.
I stated earlier that skills acquired from training, certification, apprenticeship, constant practice, continuous learning build your competence and capacity. So what makes you more effective than your colleague with equal
competencies? It is a soft skill called attitude.
Competent events planners might not necessarily be effective. They may be efficient – getting the right job done, but not effective – getting the right job done at the right time. The effective professional executor operates at peak
performance most of the time because he gets the right job done at the right time. There are many attitudinal characteristics that make this happen; let me list five:
- Believe in the GOD-factor, or divine guidance, in everything you do; regardless of your religious background, settle it in your mind that, past, present and future achievements had, and should have divine assistance.
- Focus, think, on the task at hand; visualize the goal, and as you do, work hard, making positive pronouncements with your mouth for your success to manifest.
- Remain relaxed under pressure and never give in to negative triggers that can derail you from pursuing achievement of your goal.
- Reach out trusted associates to resolve difficult tasks; no man is repository of knowledge so learn to synergize with others who can assist you achieve targets.
I have given you some tips on how to prepare to be an effective events planner and manager. In closing, let me summarize, what I have tried to share with you today:
1. description and demands of Events Planning;
2. how to Prepare to Become an Effective Events Planner and Manager;
3. tips to migrate from good to effective Events Planner.
Have you learnt something new today? If so, when you call another day, we will have discussions on issues as they arise.
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