event planners have horrible reputations but why don’t we change that?

Event planners have horrible reputations but why don’t we change that?

The other day my uncle mentioned that he had hired an event planner to help with a high school reunion he was planning. This was the second time working with a planner; the first time did not go well. “She was too bossy,” he said. She insisted that everything had to be her way or the highway, didn’t listen to her client and just wasn’t easy to work with. Unsurprisingly, my uncle decided to no longer work with that particular planner and was able to find one that was better suited to his needs.

I wasn’t surprised by my uncle’s tale. After all, while I know plenty of fabulous event planners, I know more than a few who aren’t great people. Or even if they are lovely women (come on, you know this is a rather female-dominated industry) outside of work, or even most times in the office, there’s something about pulling an event together that can turn some planners into bossy she-devils.

Have you seen the “Sh*t Event Planners Say” video that came out a while ago? In case you haven’t seen it:


While I think the video is funny and (mostly) true, to me it’s not exactly a recruiting video for event talent. The planners come off as a bit passive aggressive in some scenarios and downright bitchy in others.

So why do event planners have horrible reputations? I can only speculate. Perhaps it’s a power trip? Event planners tend to have a fair amount of power for a job that doesn’t require an advanced degree or sometimes even a college education. Planners make decisions that affect hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people, depending on the scale of the event. They control sizable budgets and even if they aren’t the final decision makers, their recommendations carry weight.

Alternatively it could be the stress of the job. Event planning can be stressful and it’s not for everybody. I’m not entirely sympathetic to the idea that event planning is so stressful that it deserves its place on the Most Stressful Jobs List alongside firefighters and soldiers, but the stakes are often high for things to go well, if not perfectly.

But regardless of the reasons why event planners have this reputation; perhaps we can change it? At the end of the day, it’s better to be kind and firm, than bossy and bitchy. While event planners may bear the brunt of an event’s failures, in order for it to be a success they need to rely on others – vendors, volunteers, staff – and treating them well goes a long way. Taking the time to build relationships with hotels and other vendors is invaluable.

Event planners naturally exude the authority of someone who is in charge. But there’s a difference between wielding this with confidence and grace, and lording it over people like a Game of Thrones regent.

And remember that ALL event planners are service providers – whether they are independent planners with their own business or in-house planners for a corporation or association, and everything in between. Whether you call your event stakeholder a client is irrelevant.

So, a little more “please” and “thank you” and “would you be able to help with this?” and a little less “I need this now” and “do you know who I am?” should improve all of our reputations!

Photo Credit: { Factsng }