You love hosting dinner parties. You’ve been labeled as a Type A personality by your friends. Managing other peoples’ business is basically your second form of oxygen.
You must be a meeting planner. Okay, no, that’s an incredibly narrow way of thinking about the events industry and you, of course.
But for real. Have you ever thought about being among the event planners that run the world? Event professionals don’t get nearly enough credit for what they do.
The same way that you don’t get enough credit for facilitating dinners like they’re the next big annual conferences held at convention centers. Just hear us out.
Whether it’s special events, corporate events, business meetings, or more, event planners manage to get anything and everything done. So if tight deadlines give you that junky adrenaline rush and trade shows feel like home, you might want to reconsider where exactly you’re putting all those communication skills to use.
See Related: How To Build Strong Relationships With Clients
What does a meeting planner do?
In short, event planners plan events. But that’s not even the tip of the iceberg.
Event planners are in charge of everything from hospitality management to strategic planning. From risk management to public relations.
Basically, any large events will absolutely have to have at least one or more event planners on board. Because let’s be honest.
The majority of guests will only see event staff, event design, the corporate entertainers on stage, and maybe even some project management. But event planners will be able to see the whole picture: facility operations, potential employers, job opportunities, labor statistics, and more.
What qualifications do you need to be an event planner?
To get to event planning requires a lot more than just a vision and a dream board. Here are some of the ways you’ll secure your education in meeting planning and even continue your education through online courses.
Most, if not all, exhibition organizers and event planners have their bachelor’s degree in marketing, public relations, communications, or business. And each of these fields of study provide fantastic insight into the world of event management.
Additionally, some even earn their degree in meeting management or even event management. So they went straight for the cake.
Either way, an education in these fields will arm you with the interpersonal skills, negotiation skills, and career advancement outlook you’ll need as an event planner. Not to mention you’ll remain relevant in the field once your name gets circulated around.
Formal training can be anything from hospitality management to assisting wedding planners. Ultimately, it’s all about continuing education in the field and meeting an event planner or two.
Networking is an absolute must in the meeting industry. So this is your chance to show other event planners that event planning is your game.
Being a certified meeting professional or certified meeting planner comes with more than just clout. It’s about honing your skills in a specific area and earning the event planning certificates from the Events Industry Council to prove your expertise.
To become a certified meeting professional in hospitality management, you’d want to earn your CPCE, or Certified Professional in Catering and Events. To become a certified meeting professional for the federal government, you’d want to earn your CGMP, or Certified Government Meeting Professional.
And so on. In fact, government meeting professionals are considered the highest designation available for those in the meeting planning industry. Yeah, they’re a big deal.
How to become an event planner
So you know the qualifications to become an event planner. But how exactly do you go about doing it?
#1. Lay out your career outline
When it comes to job outlook, you’ll definitely want to know where you’re headed as soon as possible. Because an event planner will be in charge of continuing education courses throughout their entire career.
So position yourself wisely from the start! Find a specific venue you may want to be an event planner for one day.
Or find an employer who requires you to travel around for corporate events if you want to live that lifestyle. Even cement yourself in the meeting planning business to create your own business someday.
Just take the time to figure out your long-term game. Then set yourself up for the events that will ultimately get you there.
#2. Obtain your education
You know the deal. Event planning is like an Olympic sport and your education is the very qualification you need to get you into the game.
Even ask another event planner or two what they studied and take tips from their own career journeys. You never know how much you’ll learn from other events experts.
And you might be surprised at how willing they are to share their own stories! Remember how we said that networking is a highly underestimated factor in the world of event planning?
Well, this is your chance to not only gain an education. But meet some fellow event planners along the way who might be able to connect you to a couple of jobs down the line.
#3. Gain hands on experience
It goes without saying that event planning is like diving into the deep end. So you’ve got to start somewhere.
Gaining experience in the event industry will teach you the basics like registration procedures, logistics management, how to book a virtual event host, and how to define objectives. And don’t be afraid to start small either.
Odds are, you’ll think you’re starting small and then it will avalanche into more responsibility organically. What? An event won’t plan itself!
#4. Learn how to use industry technology
You might not know it but there’s quite a bit of events technology that you’ll need to master as an event planner. Project management, customer relationship management, and sales and marketing software exists.
That’s right. It’s not just a myth. And sometimes, event planning will require you to know specific programs like Marketo Marketing Automation, Microsoft Project, Convention Industry Council CIC APEX Toolbox, or Active Network EventRegister.
This is where your continued education comes in. Of course, you may not need to know all of these technologies.
But if there’s a course that’s being offered that happens to cover a couple of them, you might as well take it. Remember – being an event planner isn’t just about the event itself.
It’s about selling yourself and your abilities. So the more skills you rack up, the more likely you’ll be thrown into the event planning arena, ready to face whatever challenge comes up with grace.
#5. Go through certificate programs
There are a ton of certificate programs that you can pursue as an event planner. And it all starts with knowing what field you want to go into in the first place.
In addition to the certifications we already listed, you could also be a Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) or a Certified Conference and Events Professional (CCEP). And that’s why it’s important to determine what you want early on.
Because let’s be honest. The event planning industry is a rather competitive one.
So the more expertise you have in writing, the better. A specialization just helps you to set yourself apart from the rest of the crowd.
And besides, it shows that you’re deeply invested in your career as an event planner. So really, what’s the harm in showing off that you’re dedicated to the work that you do and proud of it?
#6. Create a portfolio
Lastly, a portfolio is a great way to show other clients and jobs exactly what you can offer. Include your skills and accomplishments in your portfolio.
And don’t be afraid to make yourself look all shiny and new! You can include pictures of the events that you’ve organized, press clippings, and testimonials from clients or even clean comedians you’ve worked with. Even include an event brochure or invitation that you helped to design.
Not only will this show the client that you’re capable of pulling off a large scale event. They’ll also see that you have an eye for detail and design – yet another thing to set you apart from the crowd.
Additionally, be sure to include any challenges that needed to be overcome within an event. This will show the client that you’re good at meeting deadlines and budgets.
And that creative restraints are not something you shy away from. But rather are something that help you to bring a more creative vision to life.
FAQs about meeting planners
We get it, there are a lot of questions still to be answered. But here are some of the most popular ones that aspiring event planners tend to ask.
How do meeting planners get paid?
When it comes to commission, an event planner can earn anywhere between 10 to 40 percent on a project. Typical commissions fall within the 15 to 20 percent realm.
But every event planner is different and will come with a different rate. There may be other factors involved like operating expenses, the type of project, geographical location, or even competitors’ rates.
And besides, the more you go through your education as an event planner, the more you can charge. See why we stressed getting your education and certificates so much earlier?!
How much does a meeting planner charge?
Again, this will depend on your experience and how long you’ve been at it in the event planning industry. But the median salary for an event planner can fall within $25/hour for a new planner and go upwards of $100+/hour for top planners.
That being said, if you’re asking for $100+, you’ll need an amazing portfolio. And if you’re being asked to work a corporate event, you can probably charge about 30% more than if you were working a social event.
What? There’s a lot more that goes into corporate shindigs than social ones. And besides, you’re only charging what’s fair for the amount of work that you’re putting in.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re not worth it. Odds are they don’t know half the stuff you do behind the scenes to pull off a fantastic event.
Who run the world? (Event planners)
Meeting planners might seem like the type of person to stay behind the scenes and like it there. But getting the recognition you deserve for pulling off such an amazing event isn’t something to shy away from either.
So if you’re interested in becoming a meeting planner, we hope these tips can help. Besides, any event planner with an in on corporate entertainment is sure to catch a client’s eye.
Adam Christing is a professional comedy magician, virtual MC, and the founder of CleanComedians.com. He is a member of the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and a popular corporate entertainer, magician, and virtual speaker.