Professional Event Planners in NYC Vs. Non-Professional Event Planners

April 15, 2017 Susan Serena


Not everybody has a lifelong desire to become an event professional and work their way through the ranks or study for years. Some people simply fall into the role of an Event Planner in NYC or have a vision to produce an event so strong that it forces them to take action.

Kelvin Newman is one of these success stories. He started his career with a vision to bring together people who “work in SEO” in a room above a pub. Seven years later Brighton SEO is the biggest SEO conference in Europe, it sells out tickets in 4 minutes, attracts 3,500 people from all over the world and runs twice a year.

So, what can Event Planners in NYC learn from these enigmas?

Event Planning Vision

A common driver of these non-conformist event planners is that they have passion and a vision. They know exactly what they want to achieve and will not compromise or deviate from their objective. They are determined to find a way to make it happen and remain true to what they picture in their “mind’s eye”. Of course, they may not know initially what this dream could develop into but the event outcomes they are aiming for at the beginning often remain the same even as the event grows, just happening on a much grander scale.

Of course, professional event planners successfully deliver events and event objectives day in day out, but the subtle difference is that event planners are generally executing the vision of someone else. Be it the CEO of your company or the precise wishes of your client, event planners are more often than not making someone else’s vision become a reality, and not their own personal passion.

Storytelling in Event Planning

The authentic story behind events that have grown from a passion instantly grabs people’s imagination and makes it seem a whole lot more genuine somehow than a commercially-driven professional outfit ever could. People love a human interest and success story. Sometimes there seems to be almost a distrust of private business motivations perhaps looking to run a profitable event (shock horror!). On the other hand, an individual with a dream is a great plus in terms of media coverage and possibly even in terms of sponsorship “saleability” as their intentions are (or seem) more honorable to people. There is often also a genuine humbleness from accidental event planners, maybe not always appreciating fully the enormity of what they have created and achieved.

Event Planning Content and Learning

When it comes to conferences such as Brighton SEO, Kelvin lives, works and breathes search optimization. He knows intimately the new developments, trends and influencers in the industry and how to get them to his event. This is also reflected in the content and social media activity, a constant stream of relevant information and updates, which is lapped up by attendees.

Professional event planners work hard researching any event topic that is thrown at them, and hopefully also surrounding themselves with a team of people that have the specialist knowledge if they are lacking. Nevertheless, however much interest you take and however much tireless research you do event planners can sometimes still feel at a disadvantage and out of their depth in terms of detailed subject knowledge if it isn’t their specific area of expertise.

Event Planning Demand

At most conferences, no one wants to sit at the front. Participants hang at the back, ruining the pictures and making the poor speaker look out to a row of empty seats immediately in front of them. At Brighton SEO seats are in demand and available on a first come first served basis. As a result, the seats in every room are filled and people sit on the floor or crowd down the aisles to hear the wisdom of the speaker. Likewise, at Glasto and Comic Con people are pushing and clamoring to get to the front, they want the best spot they can get.

What is the secret I hear event professionals ask? Clever programming of the conference tracks and knowing the audience helps to allocate conference rooms effectively, and sheer numbers and motivation to hear the speakers fills the seats. Perhaps the audience know that they will not be asked to “participate” in anything against their will too, which they perceive to be an ever-present risk if professional event planners are involved.

In Conclusion

As Event Planners in NYC we know the massive effort and achievement of producing successful events and have the utmost respect for anyone that can establish and grow their event vision, particularly if they start with no previous event experience and have a massive learning curve.

Event Planners in NYC are doing great work every day but sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the operational minutiae or ensuring every tiny detail is executed perfectly. The overarching message that I take away from “accidental” event planners is never to lose sight of the vision and the important stuff, and to look at things differently, rather than just doing things the “right way”. Experimenting, doing things differently and learning from others is what keeps us growing and developing, and for this reason professional event planners have a lot to learn from non-professional event planners.

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