A young planner recently asked me how best to navigate a competitive industry. My advice? Invest in yourself and be inspired by those around you. There is room for all of us!
I am about to graduate in January and I want to become a luxury event planner. I have heard so much about the fun in designing events, but very little about what it takes to be successful in this specific industry. Do you have any advice for me?
8 Things New Planners Should Keep In Mind
Thank you for your kind letter. I remember when I first decided to go for my dream of becoming an event designer and planner. It was an exciting and slightly scary time that remains very precious to me. You are about to embark on a very special journey and the decisions you make now will lay down the foundation for your future. With this in mind, here are 8 things to keep in mind.
Always stay close to your own dreams. I personally entered into this industry because of my passion for design and creating a magical experience for my clients and their guests. When I think about this, I always feel grateful to get to do what I love most for a living and that shifts my mood into a grateful space. It takes two seconds and can impact the rest of my day.
Remember that it is not personal. Regardless of who your client is or the size of their budget, the the key to success lies in understanding your limits while setting proper expectations. Much of what we do is part of an extremely emotional process for our clients. At times, it can becomes very emotional for us as well. That said, we must avoid taking things personal at all costs. Think about it: the fact that we spend so much time with our clients and their families automatically puts us in a position of vulnerability.
Know your strengths. Understand what you are truly good at and run with it. If you need help executing a request, don’t be afraid to ask for help. This is not a weak thing to do. In fact, it is the sign of a leadership and it will only make you better.
Expect to work with personalities you don’t like. Different human beings have different ways of communicating, executing and their expectations can be very different. The reality is that you won’t like some clients or colleagues, and that’s OK. What is not OK is allowing petty personality difference to impact the quality of your service.
The answer is always yes. Before you say no, ask yourself if you have exhausted all avenues to manage a problem or meet the expectations of a request. If you put yourself in the shoes of the client and look at things from their perspective, it may be easier to provide them with the outcome and service that they expect.
Rise to the challenge every day. You always want to offer your clients the highest quality of service and that can only be done when you work to be the best planner you can be. Stay open, read about the industry and work to polish your craft constantly. Feeling confident in what you do is essential, but don’t allow yourself to feel too comfortable. The moment you do, you become less interesting.
Do not be bullied by fear. Here’s a secret: no one gets to the top without facing some big fears and I have learned that avoiding them will only slow down your path to success. When you feel like you cannot do something, are “unworthy” of a big moment or any of the other anxious feelings that often try and intimidate us, remind yourself that you’re about to move to another level and come up with three ways to face it and overcome the obstacle. You will find that, in time, you become open to challenges and see them as an exciting opportunity to grow. This is when the real fun begins.
Inspire those around you. Too often bosses do not say what they mean or use intimidation to control their team. This never works long-term. An inspired team is a loyal and productive one. Give clear instructions, allow room for human error, lead by example and give constructive feedback (positive and helpful) to help everyone in your company rise to each challenge and feel they are adding value to your business and brand.