I have planned probably 150+ events in my day… And counting. My list of 5 event management essentials for a successful project might not have lots in common with others, but these points are pretty helpful to me, so I want to share them with the world.

Great event management is all about attitude.

Once you’re confident in yourself and your ability to roll with punches, you’ll be able to implement fantastic events whenever. And – once you learn to harness your inner control freak, you’ll be able to upgrade from Micro Manager to Events Expert.

Plan B

You need contingency plans for the big stuff at your event. What about rain? What if the food for the staff doesn’t show? What if you puke? Ok, you’re not going to puke. But for the pieces of the event that absolutely must work out, you’ll need to consider the backup. A good Plan B is realistic and utilizes resources that will be readily available to you at the event. So, as an example, if your food doesn’t arrive – have petty cash on hand, and send someone to the store for granola bars.

Expect the Unexpected

If you are sure of the fact that something will go differently than you expect, you can prepare yourself for the emotional strain of a sudden change of plans. For me, this falls under a different category than contingency planning, because as the event manager, you have to be ready to keep your emotions in check, pivot, and re-prioritize quickly. I love this post because it’s full of practical strategies for staying cool and calm under pressure.

Too Many Checklists

Over-preparation is a good thing. Many great events run on several series of detailed checklists, and I encourage you to have before, during, and post-event checklists and plans. Here’s a great example of one from Cornell (ever heard of it?

Make sure you let your team in on this stuff, too – more brains holding onto this information is better.  

Duct Tape

You know how the saying goes: “If you can’t duck it, F*** it!” – Seriously though. Tape. It comes in handy, just trust me on this one.


Guess what? Your team can’t read your mind. I know, today of all days, it’d be a big help. If you have a clear picture in your head of how the event ought to go, that is great – now share that with the rest of the class. Your team wants a schedule, a list of other staff and their contact information, and a clear description of what they need to do throughout the day – and who’s doing the other stuff.

Psst…Did you know there’s only one of you? I know, another big bummer. By preparing your team in advance and giving them clear directions, they will be able to execute and shine on their own, without coming to you every 3 minutes with another question.

Now go get ’em, Tiger!

You’re on your way to event management success. Want to talk some more about this topic? Shoot me a message on Twitter!