Event Management: Definition, Key Aspects and Skills

Updated March 10, 2023

A person smiles while engaging in a conversation with someone at a networking event or orientation.

Hosting various types of events is a regular business practice for many organizations. Event management can be challenging as it requires a range of skills and specialized knowledge. Learning about how event management works can help organizations to devote proper efforts and resources to it.

In this article, we discuss event management and the skills you'll need to be successful in the role.

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What is event management?

Event management is the process of planning and hosting a variety of public and private events for social or business purposes. They may be large-scale or small-scale events and can include business conventions, training seminars, industry conferences, trade shows, ceremonies, parties, concerts, festivals and press conferences. Event managers must follow the clients' instructions and work within a specified budget and predetermined schedule. To set up the events, they must collaborate with various vendors.

The difference between event management and event planning is that while event planning concerns itself with coming up with workable event ideas and the activities that will take place during the events, event management leans more towards project management and deals with the organization and execution of the event plans. However, the roles do overlap often, and event managers may be involved with the creative planning aspects of the events as well.

For established and new companies, event management can be an essential aspect of their marketing strategy. Organizing small-scale or large-scale events can help promote a brand and further a business's interests. Events create opportunities for people who attend these events to learn about the hosting organization's products and services and may even convert attendees into loyal customers.

Additionally, along with making their brands better known, the events that the companies organize can provide marketing education and training to their employees. They can foster team-building exercises, improve relations between different departments, and boost networking across industries. The events may also celebrate business milestones and raise money for various causes.

Aspects of event management

Planning, organizing and hosting an event can be a very complex process, requiring event managers to control all the creative, technical and logistical elements. Here are some of the duties and actions they must undertake for successful event management:

  • Coming up with a workable concept for the event

  • Planning a marketing strategy

  • Writing and finalizing the script for the event

  • Working on the audio-visual production

  • Obtaining necessary permits for hosting the event

  • Getting insurance

  • Selecting and booking a venue

  • Designing the floor plan for booths and other facilities

  • Complying with health and safety standards

  • Contacting and negotiating service rates with various vendors

  • Inviting speakers and entertainers

  • Arranging transportation and accommodation for guests

  • Ordering food and drinks

  • Hiring security for the event

  • Creating emergency contingency plans

  • Coordinating the event

  • Controlling the event

  • Monitoring the end of the event

  • Closing the event

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Skills for event managers

Event managers must have specific skills to cope with the profession's demands. An ability to stay calm under pressure is a must for event managers. They also need to have the following skills:

Planning skills

While an event planner generally carries out the event planning, an event manager may collaborate with them on various aspects of the event. These can include determining the event budget, developing the event schedule and selecting the venue and activities. Planning and considering all possibilities is crucial for the event's subsequent success.

Organizational skills

The event manager has to organize and arrange an event in its entirety. Whether a small birthday party or a larger event, the event manager has to be in charge of all its details and ensure that everything happens on schedule and according to plan. They must also plan for contingencies in case anything goes wrong.

Related: Time Management Skills: Definition and Examples

Communication skills

The event management job involves communicating directly with vendors or contacting them via email or phone messages, and hiring them for specific event-related services and negotiating the prices for these. Event managers must then monitor and coordinate the work of different service providers. Additionally, they must address client concerns and handle marketing requirements. Event managers must also be able to express themselves clearly in speech and in writing to avoid costly errors that can arise from misunderstanding.

Related: 4 Types of Communication (With Examples)

Interpersonal skills

As event managers must coordinate and collaborate with diverse people and teams in planning various events, they must have excellent interpersonal skills. They must know how to get along and work well with different personalities. Additionally, they must know how to defuse tension-filled situations and avert conflicts.

Multitasking skills

Organizing and managing an event requires paying attention to many different aspects, such as lightning, stage construction, seating arrangements and setting up booths. Event managers must have the ability to multitask and oversee various tasks simultaneously. They must make sure that all the aspects coordinate well together.

Related: How To Balance a Fast-Paced Workplace

Creative and problem-solving skills

When organizing events, it is not uncommon for unexpected, complex challenges to arise. Resolving these quickly without affecting the event schedule is paramount for event managers. They must also be able to discern the most urgent ones and sort through all available options to come up with solutions that will cause no or the least backlash. However, for such resolutions, event managers must do away with regimented thinking and try to be more open-minded and creative.

Negotiation skills

Along with renting event venues, event managers must hire caterers, decorators and lighting contractors. They must make program arrangements with speakers and entertainers or their agents. Event managers must have sharp negotiation skills to undertake these interactions and get the exact services they need while remaining within the event budget. They must understand their business's value and make judicious use of that in their bargaining.

Technological skills

Technological skills are necessary as event managers must use event management software to manage all event-related data, from email marketing to event websites, registrations, attendee surveys and venue sourcing. They can also use the software for creating budgets, organizing tasks and scheduling resources. Additionally, event managers use the software to plan seating arrangements, design event floor plans and schedule speakers and meetings. Technological knowledge is also helpful for employing interactive mobile apps for business networking, communication, engaging with the audience during the event and collecting feedback.

Event management plays a significant role in a company's ability to visualize events and follow through with their successful execution. As these events can influence the public perception of the company and its business, competent event managers are in demand across industries.

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