The beautiful thing about a career in event planning is the creative freedom you’re given. You can do whatever you want in whichever manner you want to do it in as long as you stay within budget right? Wrong.

Successful event planning is more about your clients than it is about your creativity. It is, after all, your clients that measure your success. How do you ensure that you are meeting and exceeding their goals while still giving them an event worth talking about for years to come? Here are my best tips for planning a successful industry event on someone else’s terms.

Ask Questions

Event planners are fantastic at thinking ahead. They have to be to succeed in this industry. That being said, sometimes it’s easy for them to get carried away with possibilities. That’s why it is so crucial to take the time to listen during initial meetings and consultations.

The more you understand about the event you’re planning, the better-equipped you are to meet and exceed goals. Ask about the reason for the event. What would your client like to achieve? A company holiday party intended to destress employees, for example, would look completely different than a holiday party designed to present year-end figures. Never be afraid to probe for details.

Consider Your Audience

Unfortunately, the audience is often overlooked in industry event planning due to a strong desire to please the people writing the checks. This is a huge mistake. The audience members can make or break your event. You want them excited to attend the event ahead of time, and thoroughly enjoying themselves during it. Their positive buzz increases the likelihood that you’ll be called upon for a second event in the future.

Consider how audience members will react to each decision while keeping the company goal in mind. The trick is to balance entertainment (audience preferences) with information (company objectives).

Don’t Skimp On Technology

I know what you’re thinking. Technology is a huge expense. You can do so much more with any given budget if you skip the super snazzy displays and sound systems. While that may be true (and also an erroneous way of thinking), I’m actually referring to your personal technology.

Your goal is to make sure the event is conducted smoothly and without any noticeable hiccoughs. The best way to stop trouble before it starts is to have an excellent communications system. You need to be able to keep tabs on your team, and they need to be able to get in touch with you at a moment’s notice. Investing in earpieces, discrete mics, and other high-quality tools that will help you take charge on the day of an event.

Recognize And Abide By Limits

When I say limits the first thing that probably comes to your mind is budget. While achieving success using the allotted funding is an integral part of limitations, what’s perhaps more important is recognizing your own limits.

How much time were you given to pull off an event? How much staff do you have? Will certain decisions eat up a considerable chunk of your time with very little return in audience satisfaction? It’s necessary to reign in your creative genius from time to time to avoid overextending yourself and possibly disappointing your clients.