HAVE you ever wondered what it takes to be an event planner? I mean, seriously, what kind of superhuman abilities are required to organise an event, big or small, without losing your sanity?
As someone who has dabbled in the hectic art of event planning, and dedicating this to the students I teach the subject at the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe, I can tell you that it is like riding a rollercoaster.
So, you better buckle up and prepare for a peek inside the enigmatic mind of an event planner.
First things first, let’s talk about the organisational skills of an event planner. These folks have their lives together on a level that would put the most meticulous of neat freaks to shame. They have colour-coded calendars, elaborate spreadsheets, and enough to-do lists to wallpaper an entire mansion. You see, an event planner needs to keep track of a million and one details simultaneously, from booking the venue to arranging the catering, from coordinating entertainment to managing the guest list. It is a juggling act that would challenge even the most seasoned circus performer.
But it is not just about being organised; an event planner needs to have the charisma of a talk show host, the negotiating skills of a lawyer, and the patience of a saint. They are the ultimate problem solvers, the masters of quick thinking and improvisation. Every element represents a potential disaster waiting to happen.
The event planner’s job is to rearrange these building blocks in such a way that they fit perfectly together, creating an unforgettable experience for all involved. And believe me, there are more than enough that an event planner should expect. They say experience is the best teacher.
Let’s talk about the different personalities an event planner encounters during the process. You’ve got your “Bridezilla,” the one who wants an extravagant wedding with unicorns, synchronised swimmers, and a 12-tier cake shaped like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Then there is the “Business Executive,” who demands a conference that rivals the Brics summit, complete with holographic presentations, gourmet stations, and a talking robot as the keynote speaker.
Oh, and let’s not forget about the “Perfectionist,” who will send you 37 emails in a row just to revise the shade of purple on the curtains and tablecloths. Dealing with these personalities while maintaining a professional demeanour is a true test of an event planner’s sanity.
But amidst the chaos, there are moments of pure hilarity that can only be found in the event planning world. Picture this: you are standing in the middle of a grand ballroom, draped in elegant decorations, soft music floating in the air. Suddenly, the lights flicker and then go out completely. Cue the panic.
As an event planner, you are expected to remain calm and collected in this kind of situation. So you whip out your trusty flashlight app on your phone and guide the guests to safety, while trying to convince them that it is all part of the “mystique” of the event. It is like being a magician, pulling rabbits out of a hat to keep the show going.
Finally, let’s not forget the event planner’s secret weapon: caffeine. There is a reason why every event planning office has a dedicated coffee station . It is the fuel that keeps them going during those late-night planning sessions and endless phone calls. A friend says coffee unlocks the creative genius required in such pressure-cooker situations.
What goes on in the head of an event planner?
A whirlwind of meticulous organisation, quick problem-solving, and dealing with a wide range of personalities. It is a delicate balancing act between chaos and harmony, where crises are averted with a smile and a stroke of improvisation. It is a job that requires a unique kind of person – someone who can handle pressure with grace, with the uncanny ability of keeping one’s head while everyone else is losing theirs.
They find humour in the face of disaster, in even the most absurd situations. So, the next time you attend an event and everything seems to run smoothly, spare a thought for the event planner behind the scenes, juggling a million things with a smile on their face and a cup of coffee in their hand. They truly are the unsung heroes of the event world.
About the writer: Lenox Lizwi Mhlanga is a specialist communication consultant with over 23 years of experience in the field. He is a part-time lecturer in event planning and management with the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe and the Bindura University of Science Education. He is available on mobile: +263 772 400 656 and email: [email protected]