Fall is one of the most exciting and busiest times for event planners, especially those who work on galas. Since galas are typically large and lavish fundraisers they require a lot of planning, coordination, and execution. I’ve had the opportunity to work on several galas this fall and learned a lot from the experience. Here are some of my biggest takeaways as an events intern working fall gala season:
One of the most important skills when planning and executing an event is patience. Galas, fundraisers, fashion shows and everything in between are unpredictable, and you never know what could happen next. Whether it is last-minute guest changes, unexpected delays, and difficult client requests, there are always curve balls thrown your way. Learning to stay calm and composed in stressful situations and to handle any issues with professionalism has been crucial. Just as important, learning to be patient with yourself and to accepting constructive feedback is a crucial step to learning and growing from mistakes.
Events are dynamic, and plans can change quickly. I’ve had to be adaptable and ready to adjust to any changes or requests. Learning to think on my feet and roll with the punches is a valuable skillset to deal with unforeseen chaos. Event planning is not a 9-to-5 job, so ensuring schedule flexibility and planning ahead ensure that you can be reliable whenever needed.
When you’re dealing with large groups, no one person can handle it all. Ensuring an event runs smoothly involves working with many different people, like clients, vendors, and guests. Effective communication with the events team is fundamental in order to contribute to the overall success of the event. Learning to support your coworkers and to appreciate the hard work, communication and coordination builds confidence throughout the team that everyone is handling their tasks quickly and efficiently..
How do you set your gala or fundraiser apart from all the others? Events are, at their core, about creating memorable experiences for clients and guests. Infusing creativity when designing event details like sponsor signs and presentations creates the one-of-a-kind experience planners (and clients) are looking treat their guests to. Event planning is not just a profession, but also an art.