Planning an event or conference is never easy. The process can be long and, often, a little bumpy as planners attempt to balance brand and sponsor interests, attendee must-haves and other high-value integrations. All of this is par for the course when you’re an event professional — it’s part of the good, the bad and the ugly of organizing successful programming, no matter how long you’ve been in business.
And when you need a little pick-me-up? Check out these great quotes from industry pros and, even, experts in all things planning. No doubt these reminders will inspire you even on your toughest days.
1. “Plans are nothing. Planning is everything.” – Albert Einstein
Is there anything more critical to an event planner’s process than planning, planning and planning some more? Having big ideas is great, but they’re nothing without rolling your sleeves up and getting down to the actual planning that goes into any big event or program. And, at the end of the day, that’s everything.
2. “To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.” – Leonard Bernstein
As an event professional you, likely, never feel like there’s enough time — but maybe that’s a good thing! Without the end in sight (and a little healthy anxiety surrounding that end) it’s easy to get complacent or push things off. But when the event is looming you’ve got to go, go, go — and amidst the stress, the chaos and the anticipation, the magic happens.
3. “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln
If you’re not an event pro it’s easy to think these massive programs just happen. But the experts know that’s far from the truth. Don’t feel pressured to push ahead if you haven’t laid the right groundwork yet. You know what needs to happen to pull off a successful event — lots of planning. Spend the time getting your ducks in a row to ensure that, when event day comes, you’re 100% prepared and ready for action.
4. “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra
Events don’t just happen. Don’t just focus on the here and now but, instead, have an overarching view of your end goal. By following the path you’ll likely end up exactly where you want to be — or, at least, close enough! Without those self-imposed marching orders you’ll waste time and could even land pretty far from your end goal — never good in planning.
5. “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
You’ve likely had clients or partners who muse on and on about the nice-to-haves — but how often do they same colleagues and associates not take the steps necessary to get it all done? It’s great to dream big and to wish for incredible programming, speakers, attendees and even food, but what actions are you really taking to achieve it? Stop dreaming and start doing!
6. “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
And those things you do wish for? Make them happen! Set a goal, make a plan and get to it. Any great event planner is a pro in this arena!
7. “Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.” – Winston Churchill
It’s easy to get caught up in event minutiae when you’re in prep mode — and that means the anxiety, worry and stress that comes with it. But instead of letting yourself slip into pre-event panic mode, focus on what you can control — namely, the forethought and the planning that, ultimately, leads to a fantastic end result.
ON EXPECTING THE UNEXPECTED
8. “So live life with your eyes wide open so you can embrace unexpected moments because you never know when you will be inspired.” – David Tutera, celebrity wedding planner
Inspiration can come in countless forms — and, often, when you least expect it. While planning is key, it’s also important to roll with the punches during the planning and execution of any event. Not only can you, simply, not control everything (we’re looking at you, weather!) but often the most exciting and most memorable moments emerge from those unplanned experiences.
9. “Just because you have planned something doesn’t mean it is going to happen.” – Jung Lee, celebrity event planner/producer
Any event pro knows anything can happen at any time, especially when you’re in “go mode.” Take a breath and focus on solutions. Your careful planning will no doubt pay off when missteps happen — you’ll know who to call, how to react and the pieces that have to come together now to right the course. And that’s the mark of a true event pro.
10. “Some people look for a beautiful place. Others make a place beautiful.” – Hazrat Inavat Khan, Sufi teacher
Event pros can stare at a space, a theme or a concept and see the possibilities. They know that, with some hard work and strategic thinking they can take the everyday or the basic crumb of an idea and transform it into something extraordinary. It may take time and will no doubt take patience but, at the end of the day, the end result will make it 100% worth it.
11. “If Plan A didn’t work the alphabet has 25 more letters. Stay cool.” – Unknown
Sometimes even the best planning, preparation and triple checking isn’t enough to keep your plan A on course. But remember, it’s OK! Move to plan B (or C, D, E…) and keep moving forward. Often the only person who notices a shift in plans is you.
12. “When life puts you in tough situations don’t think ‘why me’ think ‘try me.'” – Unknown
The best event planners are always up for a challenge. When hurdles inevitably pop up it’s critical to keep moving forward. Pros know to always expect a few roadblocks. But, instead of panicking, they push ahead and give that challenge a run for its money!
ON THE END RESULTS
13. “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” ― Warren Buffett
It’s hard to see how incredible the fruits of your labor will be sometimes, especially when you’re elbow-deep in planning mode. But, remember, every event comes to an end and, thanks to your tireless planning, passion and expertise it will no doubt be one to remember. Because you’ve laid the groundwork and continuously focused on the end goal, countless people and brands can reap the benefits during and after the event — and that’s something to be proud of.
14. “Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.” – Thomas Edison
A great event isn’t luck or timing. A great event is a great event professional who’s spent countless hours planning, re-planning and understanding the ins and outs of this exciting program. It’s the opportunity to execute paired with the careful planning and strategic thinking — two hallmarks of eventprofs!
15. “[G]ood planning I’ve always thought is in the details…Plan it out, make it interesting, and you’re sure to pull it off!” – Eddie Ross, author/editor and producer
At the end of the day attendees, sponsors and partners are, simply, looking for great content, great programming and an overall great time. Focus on the details and make it interesting and, no doubt, they’ll walk away with a positive impression — and, at the end of the day, isn’t that your true goal?
16. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Rachel Mueller-Lust, event planner
How many times have you truly believed you couldn’t pull it off? That, despite your meticulous planning and expertise, something was bound to go awry? And then the event happens and it’s perfect. The impossible becomes possible…the moment it’s over!
17. “Good plans shape good decisions. That’s why good planning helps to make elusive dreams come true.” – Geoffrey Fisher
The moment you see the full picture — the excited attendees, the satisfied sponsors, the engaged speakers and the incredible decor, food and experiences — is the moment you see all of your planning and insights come together. And it’s then that those wild dreams really do come true!
18. “There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.” – Douglas H. Everett
Event planners are dreamers and doers — a powerful combination! By bridging reality with that dream world, you pull of some of the moment memorable moments and lofty experiences for countless people year after year. You’re what connects the dream world to the real world — the event world.
19. “If you can’t stop thinking about it, don’t stop working for it.” – Unknown
For the best event planners, “good enough” is never enough. If there’s some little detail nagging at you — a detail you know would be the difference between good and great — dig in and get it done. You’ll never be sorry you pushed yourself, but might have regrets that you didn’t.
Now It’s Your Turn
What keeps you inspired and moving forward, as a planner?
Do you have any words of wisdom to share with fellow eventprofs — or maybe a favorite quotation we left off of our list?
Tell us about it!