People Skills Are Essential to a Successful Event Planner


It takes a very particular type of individual to excel in event management; the best event planners are quick thinking, charismatic, organized, and creative. Yet having the right personality isn’t always enough. Do you know how to improve your people skills?

Planning and managing events much more than a profession. It is a state of mind. How you approach the job and clients will have a visible impact if you succeed or fail. Event planning is more than stitching together a mindblowing program; it is about glowing with professionalism, confidence, and trust. A client will most likely not work with you if you appear nervous, arrogant, or uninterested in the purpose of the event. Event planning is about working with people – a lot of the time under stress.

Related post: 7 qualities every great event planner should possess

Here are four pieces of advice guaranteed to help you achieve success rather than failure:

  • Learn to be Charismatic
  • Fill the Room with Presence
  • Influence others with Body Power
  • Be warm

These four bits of advice are explained in details below the video of Olivia Fox Cabane’s speech on charisma.

Learn to be Charismatic

If you have ever met someone likable, yet you could not explain why you like them, then they most certainly had charisma. Charisma is about, what you say and do, as opposed to who you are as a person. Your subconscious, social cues, physical expression, and the way you treat others, all play a part in developing your charisma. Everyone can learn to be charismatic, but not everyone will reach Steve Jobs or Dalai Lama level of charisma.

Behavioral expert and author of “The Charisma Myth” Olivia Fox Cabane has studied charisma since early 2000. Studies show that charisma falls into three behavioral categories: Behaviors of presence, behaviors of power and behaviors of warmth.

Fill the Room with Presence

Presence is the most fundamental and important aspect of charisma. Presence is about being truly engaged with others, being “in the moment”, and showing them they have your complete attention. Giving your full attention is one of the most effective ways to give them the impression that they are the center of the universe. Charisma is not just about how to make people feel good about you, but how you make them feel great about themselves. Do not try to impress others with stories of your success. You will come across as arrogant and a show-off. Let others impress you, and they will feel they own the world.

The trick is to invest yourself in the other person. Pay attention to every word they say. Imagine they are telling a magical story about a traveler and his journey to enlightenment. If your mind begins to flutter, use a split second to sense your toes or the weight of the tongue in your mouth. It will clear your head, so you can get back to focusing on the conversation.

Influence others with Body Power

Power is not the actual power you wield, but the power to influence people’s perception of your ability to affect the world around you. This can be through raw physical power, large amounts of money, high social status, influence on others, intelligence, expertise, etc. People look for clues of power in a person’s appearance, other people’s reaction to that person, but mostly in the person’s body language.

You can often tell what is on other people’s mind thanks to their body language. Being aware of what the body is signaling can give you the edge in negotiations, sales pitches, and other communication. Body language is your super power, so use it to influence clients in a positive way. This can be through posture like a sergeant, nodding and smiling, or mirroring movements of the person to whom you are talking.

Warmth comes from the heart

Warmth is the impression someone gives that they like us. It tells us if someone will use whatever power they have to help us. Warmth is so closely tied to body language that it is nearly impossible to fake genuine warmth. If what you are feeling, does not fit what your body is showing, other people will notice. They will know something is wrong. Actors have tried for decades to learn how to manipulate warmth, to give an authentic presentation of their character.

To control and show power and presence we try to control the output, the body language. To control and show warmth we try to control the input, the brain. The brain does not know the difference between imagination and reality. Here is a simple trick to trigger a physical response: Imagine having a nice fresh lemon. Cut the lemon in half. Lick the lemon! Now imagine dragging your nails down a chalkboard.

Did your face squirm or did you feel a chill down your spine? This is the placebo effect. What you just imagined did not happen, but it triggered real physical responses. You can use emotions to control warmth. Instead of having negative thoughts about the person you are talking to, try to find three things you can approve of, however small they may be. Doing this will send your brain towards a positive mental state and thereby trigger genuine emotions and warmth.

Overcoming the Obstacles

The biggest obstacle to power and warmth is the lack of self-confidence. Many people suffer from the “imposter syndrome”, a sensation that they are not good enough, and someone will someday point them out as frauds. Becoming self-confident is not easy, but with the right commitment, it can be mastered. Start by building a positive attitude towards work and life. Push away negative aspects of your life, stop thinking about problems and instead begin to focus on solutions and positive changes. Do not criticize yourself on a daily basis – the brain is stupid and thinks you are telling it the truth. You can become what you want to become if you believe it hard enough.

Practice makes Perfection

Building charisma is a process. Willingness to adapt and change is the first step, and continuing to learn will set you on the right path. To master charisma will be difficult, though once learned, you will have the ability to inspire and persuade others towards a common goal. Below are a few sources where you can learn more.

Take the test on MindTools, to get a rough estimate how good your people skills are.

Listen to Scott Smith’s podcast about “Boost Your Daily Motivation”