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10 tips for improving your event management skills

Be prepared, stay organised and use SurveyMonkey tools to make your events run smoothly.

When it comes to event management, very few rules are set in stone. Because every event is different, each one requires a unique approach. To be a great event manager, then, you need to be as flexible as you are organised. This flexibility is what lets you adapt, learn and change to make each event better. Event management survey software can improve your event management skills by streamlining your time management skills. 

Don’t just manage an event. Instead, make all of your events legendary with these 10 tips for better event management:

What event management skills does every good event manager need? They have to be comfortable talking to people and, most importantly, be able to listen. 

You’ll need to process information, so being highly organised is another top requirement for a great event manager. The earlier you start planning, the better off you’ll be, but you should be ready to make sudden changes. With all that said, a good event manager must remain calm throughout from the beginning to the end of all the event planning stages. 

Here are the most important takeaways:

  • Organisation: It’s your responsibility to know everything that’s going on at your event. That means having detailed plans and documentation to back them up. Use this six-step event planning checklist for your next event.  
  • Flexibility: You should always be prepared to change your event schedule. Between your staff, vendors, speakers and the venue, there’s bound to be a shift in someone’s schedule that may affect your event planning. 
  • Open to feedback: The overall goal of any event is to provide a pleasant experience for the attendees and everyone involved. To do this means listening to what everyone has to say about your event, from the planning stages to the actual event itself, and even the post-event when you convene with your staff to assess what went well and what needs improvement. Surveys are the perfect tool to get feedback. Learn all the ways you can gain insights with an event survey guide
  • Calm under pressure: Event management calls for cool-headed problem-solving skills. This approach shows your team that you’re in control of any situation. There’s also a lot of excitement and energy involved in event planning, so it’ll be your job as an event manager to have a relaxed demeanour when communicating with people and addressing any issue they may have.

If you’re coordinating with an event planner, they might send a list of objectives your way. If not, work with your client to come up with concrete goals for the event. Make these goals as specific as possible. How many cars do you want the parking staff to move each hour? How many questions are you hoping to fit into one question and answer session? Use numbers wherever possible.

The sooner you can confirm the details of an event, the better. Start making calls as much as a year in advance so that you can lock down your venue and take advantage of vendors’ early-bird specials. While it’s important to make flexible agreements in this early period (as you don't yet know how many participants to expect), contacting venues and vendors early on will save you time, money and headaches closer to the event date. Use event planning surveys to help you collect this important information to prepare for your event. Here’s an event planning checklist to help you out.

Every event is different. Vendors understand this, which is why many offer custom services with flexible pricing. Instead of asking vendors for a quote, work out how much you’re willing to pay and then offer the vendor between 5 and 10% less. By doing so, even if the vendor negotiates up, you’ll stay on budget and, in many cases, save money.

Event management is all about networking. Stay in close contact with the venues and vendors you love to work with. When you need them, they’ll be there for you. Keep former colleagues and volunteers close, too. Build effective staff and volunteer teams quickly and painlessly by mobilising your extensive social network.

Don’t shy away from new event technology. To get ahead, embrace innovative changes that advance the event experience. There are plenty of ways to integrate new technology and event management:

  • Crowdsource the location of your annual conference with a pre-event survey.
  • Gather real-time feedback on live speakers with an online survey.
  • Get participants to the right place at the right time with an event app. About half of participants use these apps to navigate an event.
  • Make the memories last with an Instagram printer.

If you decide to incorporate unfamiliar technology into your event, make sure you have someone on staff who understands the new technology inside out. Put this person in charge of troubleshooting issues during the event.

Every event, from high-stakes performances to secondary school prize-giving ceremonies, deserves a run-through. Schedule a rehearsal a week before the event with staff, volunteers and (if possible) presenters on hand. This leaves you enough time to make significant changes to the event programme but gives staff and volunteers enough time to prepare beforehand. Test all technology during the rehearsal.

The key to managing a great event is understanding the participant’s experience. On the day of the event, focus on the participants as much as your duties allow. Read the room. Talk to people. Collect data with real-time feedback surveys.

Take time to debrief with your team after each event. Discuss what went well and what didn’t with a group made up of critical staff, all staff, or both staff and volunteers. These debriefing sessions are a great way to get people’s impressions and suggestions while the event is still fresh in their minds.

Don’t leave participants, staff or volunteers hanging after they’ve packed up and gone home. Follow up with each group via email a week after the event. In the email, include a link to a final feedback survey capable of collecting actionable advice by asking questions specific to each group:

  • In the participant survey, ask each person to rate your vendors and venue and to comment on the event’s schedule and overall organisation.
  • You’ve already debriefed with the staff in person. Go a little deeper by giving staff members the chance to give additional feedback anonymously in the staff satisfaction survey.
  • In the volunteer survey, ask each person to evaluate their team leader and their team organisation.

Also, send thank you emails to the venue and vendors who made the event possible. Let each party know that you appreciate the hard work they put in and that you want to stay in contact.

Put what you’ve learned into action by making positive changes after each event. Review the feedback you receive from participants, staff and volunteers to weed out inefficiencies in your event management style. Here are ways to eliminate a few common issues:

  • Compare participant satisfaction with the cost of each vendor. Then weed out expensive vendors that don’t add significant value to the event.
  • Identify both redundant staff members or volunteers and understaffed teams. Plan to transfer redundant staff members to teams that need more help.
  • Identify the places where staff or volunteers fail to do their jobs effectively. Revise your staff and volunteer training to focus on these areas.
  • Every event is an opportunity to change the way you approach the next one. Be open to altering your event management style based on the feedback you get from participants, staff and volunteers. After all, improving your event management style will allow your events to deliver a more meaningful experience for everyone involved.

Now that you know how to improve event management skills, put them into action. Take your event planning skills to another level using our SurveyMonkey AI-powered experience management platform. Streamline time management skills in events today.

Ready for feedback? Get your post-event survey ready. Get started →