6 important life lessons event planning taught me



Updated 10/16/2018 7:51 AM

I have spent my last 19 years as an event planner. I have learned lots of things in my life as a planner, and have truly been educated at the school of hard knocks. These six life lessons are those that I have learned well and would like to share to all of those in the industry.

1. Remember, you can't do it all yourself.


Being in the industry for 19 years, I have learned a lot. I want to do it all myself, I have felt like I lost control not overseeing the task, I have been sad when someone does not come through or puts in the passion that I have for my event. What I have learned, I can't do it all in my role as a meeting planner, I need people. Surround yourself with people who are passionate, motivated and inspired. Give them a chance to succeed and fail on your event. If you want to be an impact, be a great leader and role model.

2. Have empathy. Always put yourself in other's shoes.

When working on planning an event, always put yourself in another person's shoes. When I do a site visit or if it is day one of setting up for a show, I put myself in their shoes. I always look around and ask myself if I was an attendee, would my registration be easy to find? Is there a good flow if we have a line? Is there a beverage or snack available at registration after a long day of traveling? Do I have a list and times of places that they can grab some food if their hungry? Is their anyway I can make their check in procedure easier? Putting yourself in their shoes and looking at it from a customer's eyes will make you have a different appreciation for the importance of being empathetic to our clients/customers.

3. Put your health first.

Event planning is the 5th most stressful job and yet, we sit behind a computer and forget to take care of ourselves. When you fly on an airplane, the flight attendant instructs you to put your oxygen mask on first, before helping others. This is an important metaphor for those of us who run around taking care of everything and everyone else except ourselves. You are more productive when you take a break, but how hard is it to take a break when you are getting over 100 emails a day, conference calls, Skype and instant messages? Don't feel guilty, do it. You will not only feel better, but you will be more productive.

4. Don't take anything for granted.

Do not take your team, your boss, your clients or your job for granted. It can all change in a moments notice. I've been there, and it's not a fun place, but things work out and if you are lucky like me, you end up being at the right place at the right time.

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5. Continue to grow. Take a risk.

Fear has no place here. The odds are better than you think when you take a risk and try something new. This could result in loss, but more often, sometimes unforeseen opportunities often come from risk taking. When we do this, we learn. Remember success will not fall in your lap, go out and pursue it. Who knows what the end-result will be. Failure is not the end of one's journey to success it is usually the beginning.

6. Always say thank you!

When your program is over, always take the time to thank your client, your vendors, and your team. This is very important, and those little things go along way.

• Melissa Hahn, CMP is senior account lead at Global Enterprise Solutions.

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