Whether it’s been your life-long goal to become an event planner or whether the boss told you to plan this year’s convention becoming a successful event planner just doesn’t happen.
There are tons of resources, and schools, and organizations out there to help you. Over the course of the year we’ll be talking about them. If you think that event planning is for you, here are a few steps to take.
1) Get a degree in hospitality. Many schools are offering undergraduate programs. There are online programs, and continuing education programs. We’ll be taking a look at some of those programs as time goes on.
2) Find a mentor. Maybe you’re already employed by an association or organization and there’s a skilled meeting/event planner at the helm. Ask them if you can help and learn from them. The pratical experience and advice they can provide may help you avoid some pitfalls.
3) Practice your skills. Plan smaller events for your friends or volunteer for a neighborhood association. Sure, it’s not a 5,000 attendee conference or a concert for thousands, but you can learn and polish the basic skills. Don’t forget to take pictures for your portfolio.
4) Get feedback from your attendees. When appropriate offer surveys or a chance to send you comments.
5) Get certification. We’ll be talking more about these, but some of the most notable certifications include the Certified Special Event Professional (CSEP) offered by ILEA, and the Certified Meeting Professional offered by the Convention Industry Council (CIC).
Those are just a few simple steps to get you started on your way to becoming an event planner. Of course you need to do your own research and find your own path. But over the next few weeks and months we’ll keep adding some tips and recommendations.
Are you already an accomplished planner? Tell us your story in the comments.
While out of print, our book How to Break into the Event Planning Business is available for free in PDF format. Drop us a note in the comments for your copy.