What do event managers do? Key functions of an event manager

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By Emma Jones - eve

In a nutshell, event management is the design and creation of events from trade shows and exhibitions, conferences, meetings and award ceremonies to parties and celebrations. Depending on the type of industry you go into, your role as an event manager can vary hugely.

Event management is the comprehensive process of designing, planning, and executing events, ranging from conferences and trade shows to parties and award ceremonies. An event manager serves as a one-stop-shop for all aspects of an event, responsible for everything from understanding client needs to coordinating logistics and overseeing day-of activities. Skilled in multitasking, crisis management, and creative thinking, event managers ensure that events run smoothly and successfully from conception to conclusion.

Key functions of event management

In general, the key functions of an event manager are that they are responsible for planning, organising, managing and coordinating various types of events. Usually, event managers coordinate meetings with clients determine details about events. If event planning is for you, anticipate lots of meetings, lots of briefs and lots of juggling responsibilities!

What do event managers do?

  • Understand requirements and details of each event
  • Understand clients’ needs, wants and requirements
  • Comply with financial and time constraints
  • Book venues and schedule speakers
  • Meet with clients and coordinate with them regularly and constantly
  • Engage and book speakers or entertainment
  • Arrange transportation and parking
  • Obtain necessary permits and appropriate insurance
  • Comply with health and safety standards
  • Develop emergency contingency plans and communicate with the rest of your team
  • Be able to manage a crisis situation at the event
  • Design a security plan
  • Monitor the event constantly
  • Look for and compare different vendors (catering, decorators, musicians etc.) to get the best price and service
  • Hire, train and oversee your wider team
  • Manage all event operations (preparing venue, issuing invitations, food, drinks, entertainment etc.)
  • Carry out event budget planning and stay within the budget
  • Oversee and manage the event
  • Evaluate event’s success and submit reports
  • Follow up with clients, suppliers and your team.

Skills to Succeed as an event manager

As with most event planning functions, event management requires excellent organisational skills to succeed. You’ll need to be comfortable with spinning multiple plates at once and have confidence in your ability to get everything done on time, to deadlines.

Being able to prioritise and stay on task is what leads to a successful event. So therefore, absolutely no running around like a headless chicken but smooth, seamless organisation. You will need to be creative too, as event management begins with the process of creating a vision for the event and then seeing it through to execution, which needs creativity, flexibility, patience and lots of time and energy. Get those mood boards at the ready!

At eve we really appreciate the smaller details and this is something that you’ll need to be thinking about as an event manager. In our opinion, the most successful event planners think of everything, from ensuring that catering options fit the theme of the event to branding and décor, dress code and smaller touches like providing sun lotion on hot days, blankets on cold ones, flip flops for people who want to ditch their heels, USB or charging ports, Wi-Fi information, a sewing kit for wardrobe malfunctions or toiletries in the bathroom – the possibilities really are endless when you truly care about the event you’re creating.

Because project management is a key element and involves managing not only events but teams of people, often large teams, and lots of vendors and suppliers, other transferable skills are also hugely important. Interaction with individuals at all levels of an organisation is key in event management and being a comfortable communicator and a team player is a must. You might be shortlisting entertainment suppliers one day and meeting the CEO of your client organisation the next, so you need to be versatile.

Event Coordinator requirements and qualifications

There are certain requirements and qualifications for an event manager, although this may differ from company to company. In general, these are the requirements required to become and event manager:

  • 2-5 years of experience in an event management role
  • A portfolio of successful events
  • Excellent supplier and client management skills
  • Knowledge of basic recruitment practices
  • Sense of pride in the company
  • Excellent people skills
  • Critical thinker and problem-solving skills
  • Team player
  • Good time-management
  • Great interpersonal and communication skills
  • Degree in hospitality management, public relations or a relevant field is preferred for many companies.

Event Management Versus Event Planning

While very closely related and interlinked to a certain extent, event management and event planning are different functions.

The key difference (which the names give away!) is that event managers manage the event and event planners plan the event.

In most companies though, event managers may also plan aspects of events and event planners may manage certain components of the event planning process. The two roles go hand in hand. Event managers and event planners work side by side, and their responsibilities may overlap.