Would you hand over your baby to a congress of baboons – all droopy armed and arguing? No.  Of course you wouldn’t.  And if that baby was your event…?

We enjoy a steady turn-around of interns, many of whom are undertaking an event management course. Of course, there is always tons to do and as I speak Emma, a third year Tourism and Event Management student at Uni SA, is piecing through the list of Mothers Day Classic volunteers, ensuring their contact details are up to date.

Emma expects to be put to work and she has a long list of things to do! However, recently we found time to talk about her course and, inevitably, we discussed the vital characteristics of a good event manager. And that got us all thinking so, here’s Enventive’s 5 Characteristics of a Great Event Manager.

You need great organisational skills

Obviously! If you’re not a great planner and logistician then you’re in the wrong business. There’s always a definitive list of things that need to be done by a certain date and its best to segment them all under what we call Management Sectors. These are all contained in an overarching Gantt Chart and the project leader is responsible for managing the status and action sheet which may be on a piece of paper or on a cloud.

You need to be a great communicator

Of course, the challenge is getting that list together and managing the so called Sector Managers who may be employees, volunteers or suppliers. Whoever they are and wherever they come from they need to be properly briefed and, of course, it always helps to work with people you know will deliver on time and within budget.

But building and maintaining appropriate relationships will be central to the performance of the team, the outcome of the event and, ultimately, the reputation of you and your company.

Plan for the ridiculous

Event Management companies have risk assessment templates that they manipulate to suit the particular project in hand. It’ll have a mitigation plan and also a list of what-to-do-if-such-and-such-happens. This is a great opportunity to brainstorm potential stuff-ups or happenings that are totally unexpected.

The nature of the business is that if the event takes place without a hitch (out front!) it’ll be just another great event. It’ll be a stand out (for all the wrong reasons) event if something goes wrong and you didn’t have a plan to deal with it.

Be a leader but be a collaborator

Great leaders know the limits of their ability. They understand that it’s not about them, it’s about who or what they lead. Therefore, great leaders are great collaborators and are able to command respect not just because of their knowledge but because they know where they lack knowledge. The knack is getting all the collaborators to buy into the philosophy.


Event managers always have opportunities to deliver creative solutions to challenges that may pop up during the management process. That’s definitely a required skill!

But I mean before an idea has been fertilised and takes shape. I mean at the ‘need’ or ‘want’ stage of the process.

Ideally, event managers should be invited to the ideas table. While some will be better at coming up with strategies to achieve objectives, their experience and knowledge of what is and what is not possible will be invaluable.