Why event managers are like rock band roadies?

So you want to be a rock star event planner? Well, being an event manager is kind of like being a band’s roadie. You need your core skill (event management) and… about 15 other skills.

And those “other” skills can often be the difference between the good event planners, and the superstars. Skills such as:

The admin-everything (Administration)

Extra points if you’ve worked at a restaurant before, and can take notes really, really fast. (Or you have a really good memory and don’t need to write stuff down.) Because you’ll be taking lots of notes – and following up on them.

When clients or upper management want things done, they tell you. And you get it done. Switch guest A’s seat, make sure table 57 serves vegetarian food, get extra parking tickets for VIPs… the list goes on.

Individually, the items sound trivial. But collectively, these details make and break events. Get them right, and you’re on your way to being a superstar planner.

The marketing extraordinaire (Sales and marketing)

What’s the world’s most expensive, spectacular and well-organised event – without an audience? A massive flop. Whose responsibility is it (usually) to go fill those seats?

Very often, it’s the event manager. Of course, you can get teams to help do the grunt work – but ultimately, you’re in charge of making sure people know about your event, sign up (or buy tickets) and attend.

And in today’s web-connected world, having strong expertise in online and social media marketing can definitely give you an edge.

The negotiator (Bargaining skills)

The truth about budgets, is that no budget is ever big enough. Every dollar saved in one area of an event means an extra dollar that you could spend on something else (to make your event even better).

Negotiating for better prices on venues, rentals and just about anything else, is a valuable skill to have – and one that you should preferably be more skilled at than the salesperson at the other end of the negotiating table.

Cleaner, mover, IT support, etc. (Everything else)

While your name card may say event “manager”, that term (manager) really is interchangeable with… pretty much anything and everything.

When a spill’s happened right in front of you, chances are, you’re picking up a cloth and wiping it up before it inconveniences any participants. If a room’s audience needs more seating and event staff can’t move furniture fast enough, you’ll be picking up chairs and setting them up as well.

And if a presenter brings a laptop that needs a specific cable to connect to your venue’s projector… you may be the one grabbing it.


At the end of the day, when it’s all said and done – this is what rock star event planners are made of. Versatility, courage, creativity and an unbreakable “I’ll get it done” attitude!