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Event Experience

Top Skills Every Event Planner Needs

A2Z Team April 2, 2024
Table of Contents
6 min read

Professional event planners are often drawn to the industry because they have certain innate skills. To structure an event from start to finish, whether it’s a child’s birthday party or a multiday company retreat, takes a lot of work. Core traits, like organization, communication, and problem-solving, are really just the beginning. Here, we look at the top event planning skills of professional planners, and why they’re so important.  

Understanding Event Planning Skills  

Event planning skills make the difference between a fabulous event and a messy one. The best planners do more than just prepare for the worst, they can also cope with the worst if it does happen.  

The most important event planning skills include: 

  • Flexibility: Event planners need to be ready for anything, whether it’s a fight between guests or an unexpected weather event.  
  • People-skills: This skill is more than just great communication. Planners need to be able to network with related professionals in their industry to really get ahead.  
  • Creativity: From implementing new technology to coming up with fun color schemes, event planners need to be ultra-creative with the (oftentimes limited) resources they have.  
  • Analytical: Thinking through a problem requires a lot of brain power. Often, the real issues are not as apparent as they first seem. Event planners need to be able to work through the data to come up with a solution.  
  • Organized: All the details of an event can get jumbled together, and this is true even for those who are exceptionally detail-oriented. Event planners need to have strong organizational skills so they don’t miss a thing.  
  • Financial savvy: From vendors to decorations to marketing, events can become very pricey affairs. It’s important for event planners to have a handle on how to keep everything within their budget before they make commitments they can’t keep.  

Why Are Event Planning Skills Important?  

Event planning skills are so important because every event is ultimately a different affair. From the timing to the guests to the cause, even regularly scheduled events take on their own personality and flair with each new iteration. Event planning skills focus on adapting to each new situation, ensuring that every guest gets the best possible experience.  

Top Event Planning and Event Management Skills  

Top event planning and event management skills include the following: 

  • An understanding of events: Event planners need to know the general structure of events: how they’re promoted, how they run, and how to capitalize on post-event enthusiasm.  
  • Attention to detail: Event planners should be able to think through each stage of the event and identify different pain points along the way.  
  • Multitasking: Event planners need to do many things at once, which means they can’t get overwhelmed when they have 100 tasks on their plate.  
  • Delegation: You can try to go it alone, but you’re going to wish you had a team at some point. Event planners need to be able to work with other people so they can focus on what they do best.  

Key Event Planning Skills for Effective Event Planners  

The key skills for effective event planners can vary somewhat from industry to industry. For instance, a wedding coordinator will need to be more attuned to familial relationships, while a corporate planner will need to be aware of how company rivalries might affect the event. There are some event planners who plan events for all types of guests and causes, though typically the best ones choose a sector that they can really master. No matter which sector you choose, though, there are some skills that are non-negotiable.  

Organizational Skills  

Organizational skills are a top priority for event planners, and this is true even if their events are seen as relatively simplistic to the untrained eye. Even an hour-long brunch or small dinner party can have multiple moving pieces. Start by writing everything down, whether it’s on paper or in a spreadsheet, and you can work on each to-do item. You’re less likely to hit a snag along the way.  


Communication is more than just telling guests when to show up. Vendors need to know when to be there. Guests will need to know what to expect. Your whole team will need to stay in touch if things don’t go as planned. Strong communication skills enhance events because everyone is on the same page. Instead of parking attendants asking where to go with overflow cars or guests wondering if they need to tip their bartenders, employees can simply do their jobs and guests can relax and enjoy themselves.  

A Basic Understanding of Events  

The event planning process will vary based on scale and industry. Weddings, retirement parties, corporate celebrations, funerals: each one will have its own foundation that event planners need to understand. Once you get a firm grasp on this basic structure, it’s easier for event design to come together. As you work within the general framework, you can refine your execution strategies and adapt to each new request.  

Passion for Planning  

Passion in any job is a key ingredient for success. Event planners should be enthusiastic about showing up day in and day out. This kind of dedication is what keeps people going, even when there are inevitable hiccups along the way. Maintaining a sunny demeanor even when the ring bearer swallows the ring may not be easy, but it’s easier when you remember why you got into the profession in the first place. Events and celebrations mark major milestones and goals, making them an integral part of the human experience.  

event checklist

Negotiation and Budgeting  

Budgeting and negotiation are important skills for event planners, particularly when you are working with clients, vendors, and employees. Getting better at these skills will mean researching costs, recording expenses, and constantly working to find the edge in any given situation. For example, offering long-term work to a vendor may mean that you can negotiate lower prices for all contracts.  

Networking Savvy  

You’ll work with all kinds of people in event planning. The stronger your network, the easier it is to get things done in a pinch (and within your budget). The best way to build your network is to provide value to everyone you work with and to be as consistent as possible. Show up on time, do your job, and look for ways to help whenever you can. Once you have a list of people and organizations, make sure that you stay in contact, so it’s easier to ask for favors (and for them to do the same).  


Problem-solving in a crisis is very different from solving one in the abstract. Directing guests in an emergency or mitigating a minor catastrophe requires event planners to remain calm and look for a solution. It is impossible to plan for every contingency, but we highly recommend running through different scenarios as thought exercises to make it easier if and when the time comes.  


From the invitations to the final photos, a lot can change along the way. You need to be ready for anything and prepared to take the event in a different direction if you need to. For instance, if your outdoor plans are ruined by natural causes, you may need to take the party indoors. Keep in mind that no one expects perfection, but they do expect effort. Adaptability and creativity are related, but it essentially comes down to how quickly (and how calmly) you can pivot away from the original plan.  

Leadership & People Management  

Event planners need to be great with different kinds of personalities, and they need to be willing to take the lead. The best way to get better at these skills is to practice them both on the job and in real life. For instance, you might decide to take the lead on a home repair project, where you’ll need to work with contractors to finish everything.  


Event planning skills are a mix of innate traits, like extroversion or financial aptitude, and practice. The more you work on your weaknesses, the easier it will be to establish yourself in a competitive industry. The most successful planners love their profession for what it is — flaws and all. If you want to be a part of the elite tier of industry pros, you’ll find that it’s easier to get ahead when you perfect the top skills. Just remember that this is a lifetime pursuit: even the best can always get better.