Event Management

9 Ways to Check if you have an Exceptional Event Planner Mindset

In the event industry, what matters more than experience and qualifications?

THINKING the right way.

Here are 9 simple checks to see if you have an exceptional event planner mindset.

Perfectionists that we are, event planners constantly strive to produce bigger and better events and to be the best event manager they can possibly be. In this competitive industry though how do you know if you measure up?

Based on feedback from event clients about what impresses them the most and having witnessed first hand many top eventprofs in action, it seems there are some commonalities between the best and most sought after event managers.

This post isn’t about how meticulously you can plan your events, this goes much deeper than that. This is about the way you think, and whether this perspective sets you apart. Here are some examples of how exceptional event planners think differently.

Not Afraid to Challenge and Probe

An exceptional event planner asks a lot of questions and never ever settles for the first answer they are given. Instead they will probe and push further to get to the real crux of the matter, often revealing things the client or supplier didn’t even realise himself! They will ask questions and demand a level of detail about things to which previously no thought had been given. Your client may think he or she knows their objectives and what will determine the success of the event but a brilliant event planner pushes past the fluff to get to the true nitty gritty.

The same goes for negotiating the best deal for their clients. Like a friendly rottweiler, exceptional event planners simply don’t give up. If you are a venue or supplier be prepared to compromise and concede to a talented event planner. Rest assured, they will have researched, digested, compared and contrasted multiple quotations and know exactly the outcome they have in mind, as well as the areas where noughts can be saved.

Constantly Championing Event Projects and Clients

An exceptional event planner has a fierce loyalty to their clients. They will big up the organizations they work with at every opportunity, not to show off their client list, but simply because they believe in their customers brilliance and want good things to happen. Their brains work overtime computing the connections they can instigate and the potential magic that a synergy could bring about.

When in a networking situation super event managers are as keen to listen and connect their network as they are to promote themselves. Even on the live event day the brains of top event planners are working overtime thinking about suitable introductions between attendees, exhibitors, speakers and VIPs.

Nothing is Too Much Trouble


An exceptional event planner aims to please and will bend over backwards to exceed expectations. Things happen, things change, deadlines are missed and it is up to the event planner to pick up the pieces and seamlessly fit them back together again, and all with a big smile. In these circumstances it is not the time to quibble about the excessive amount of hours already worked on the project. Exceptional event planners recognise this and focus immediately on the task at hand to get it done.

Exceptional event planners have a “can-do” attitude. It is extremely rare that you will hear the word “no”. If something isn’t possible they will find another, better, safer way to do it. These words from Ice, Ice Baby were made for event planners “If there is a problem, yo, I’ll solve it….”

Constantly Pondering


Exceptional event planners are always looking for ways to do things better, faster, smarter and more cost effectively than ever before. Living an easy life, simply repeating what has gone before at an event doesn’t interest them, they want the best outcome. They are knowledgeable about the newest trends and hottest event technology in the industry, but most importantly they can honestly advise whether or not it is a good potential fit for the specific event. The status quo and standing still is not the way to delight attendees and sponsors. Continuous improvements and surprises ensure the respect and loyalty of participants and that they listen to their participants.

Analytical Thinking

The best event planners are well prepared and will have thought about every eventuality. They think through contingency plans, worst case scenarios and workarounds. They have a mental plan of action to a catalogue of issues so that they can respond quickly if things start to go awry and get things back on track. They also inspire their team to think like them and are assured that their staff will know what to do in these situations, with a few simple instructions, rather than panic and confusion.    

Superhuman Energy

Exceptional event planners never stop. The event deadline is immoveable so they do what it takes to make sure everything is in place on time, be it late nights, early mornings and seven-day weeks. On event days, high on adrenaline they just keep going, you are lucky if you even see them sit down for lunch and you wouldn’t ever guess they have been on site since 5am for the load in!

This superhuman energy is more than just a dedication to work long hours and endure long, gruelling event days though. Have you ever noticed the boundless energy and enthusiasm that exudes from many successful people? It is particularly noticeable in entrepreneurs, but it is also a trait of many event managers too.

You Care About the Event More than Your Client Does


Exceptional event planners really do care about the event more than anyone. They have worked on this event every single day and probably thought of little else for the past 3 months or more. They will do everything in their power to ensure that all the blood, sweat and tears pays off. Nothing is more rewarding than an ecstatic client, energized sponsors, fulfilled attendees and exhibitors exhausted by the amount of interest received on the show floor.  

If absolutely anything from the venue, suppliers or event team has been less than immaculate a brilliant event manager makes a note and feeds back to ensure that improvements can be made for the future. These observations will often be invisible to everyone else but an event organizer knows how much every single detail matters and so will give constructive feedback.

You Go Over and Above What is Necessary

Exceptional event planners don’t need to be asked to do things, they intuitively know what needs doing and when and where things need tweaking or changing. Never known for doing things in half measures they know that there is no room for shoddiness, they will always do a task to the best of their ability. They know how to save time and cut corners if they really have to but they never want to produce an average event. To wow everyone brilliant event managers strive to surpass everyone’s expectations with every single event.

Onwards and Upwards

Exceptional event planners are focused on growth. Whether it is growing the event audience, reaching new exhibitors, developing sponsorship synergy, expanding to new areas or simply making an event more profit driven they never forget the core event objective(s).

Brilliant event planners also like to pay it forward, passing on good deeds and expertise to others. Sharing and caring is second nature to them, to the benefit of the whole event planning community. Confident in their own ability they are confident that there are plenty of opportunities for everyone.

In Conclusion

Being an exceptional event planner requires a certain mindset, which perhaps counts much more than years of event management experience and qualifications. Here are 9 simple ways to check if you think like the best of the best.
What other tests determine how your event manager perspective and outlook measures up?