Your career as an event planner is intriguing to many but do you find yourself answering the same questions over and over again?
Here are top nine questions I have been asked throughout my 15-year career in the event industry. Some questions show people’s interest and intrigue, some are pure ignorance and some are potentially borderline insulting! Does any of these sound familiar?
1. So You’re a Party Planner?
Erm, no, not exactly!
I predominantly organise conferences, but for some people, organising events can only mean one thing – planning parties. Although I have organised plenty of parties over the years it is not primarily how I would describe my role. I do of course have the utmost respect for creative and talented party planners and colleagues that specialise in this area and have the vision and flair to transform any space into a party paradise – much more so than I do! But likewise, as a party planner wouldn’t feel it was a fair representation if someone presumed they were a professional conference organiser, I would prefer not to be described as a party planner.
And – furthermore – why should we be pigeonholed anyway? Although there are tremendous benefits to specialising in one niche of the event industry the reality for many of us is that we are good all-rounders and run a range of events. This may be because we are looking for variety in our work, through necessity to make a living or simply to honour our loyal clients’ wishes for the events they need us to create.
2. So What Does an Event Planner Actually Do?
Where do I start?!
To us, it seems so obvious the amount of planning and detail that goes into every single event but others are simply baffled by our role and evidently think that events magically happen by themselves. This should, of course, be a huge compliment to the industry that we make it look so flawless and easy executing our events but it often comes across almost as an insult! I love taking one type of event as an example and responding back with 15 or so broad tasks an event professional will handle. Even just outlining some of the basics seems to come as a bit of a shock. I guess it highlights how some people simply are not cut out for event planning if they cannot think about the detail required for its success!
3. There’s a Degree for That?
Yes! Is it really so unbelievable?!
The argument about whether event managers are born or made rattles on and even those within the industry can have opposing views about whether an event management degree is worthwhile. Those from outside the industry can sometimes be even more incredulous. Most of the degree level event courses I am familiar with seem to have a strong business focus with modules around finance, marketing, project management, innovation, human resources, as well as specific event planning modules. All in all, they offer a solid basic education, even for those that do not end up working in the event industry in the long term. I personally think there are a lot more niche or general degree courses which deserve ridicule or wonder before an event management degree is brought into question.
4. Great – Can you Organise my Child’s Birthday Party/Wedding/Charity Fundraiser Then?
Yes, possibly. Is this actually a serious request though?
As I mentioned, many #eventprofs are good all-rounders and of course the principles of planning one type of event can and are transferable to another type of event. However at the same time as event planners it is important we learn to say “no” and not spread ourselves too thinly. In a work capacity planning a child’s birthday party or someone’s wedding is not something I would consider, there are experts out there that specialise in these areas and plenty of work to go around for everyone.
See also, point 1 and point 8!
5. How Many Celebs are in your Phone Book?
A few! But always a tricky one to answer!
In the name of professionalism and confidentiality, this is always a difficult one to answer and I always try to give a suitably vague answer. Indeed the few popstars, DJs, TV personalities, speakers, commentators and performers I have links with may be more Z list than A-list in your opinion anyway but I treasure them!