Hosting 101:
The Skills You Need to Host an Event

See also: Facilitation Skills

Hosting an event is no small task. It requires a lot of planning and coordination to make sure everything goes smoothly. But with the right skills, you can handle any type of event with ease.

Here are some of the most important skills you need to host an event successfully.

1. Organization

This is probably the most important skill you need to have as a host. You need to be very organized to plan and execute an event successfully. This means having a clear vision for the event, making a detailed plan, and being able to keep track of all the different moving parts.

If you're someone who's used to checklists, then you'll be well-suited to host an event. This is especially true for large events where many tasks have to be managed simultaneously.

So, make sure you use a digital checklist tool to ensure you're always on top of things. We recommend Google Sheets or Google Tasks for creating checklists because they sync across all your devices and allow for collaborative editing.

If you're working with a team, it's also a good idea to use a project management tool like Trello. These tools allow you to create tasks, set deadlines, assign them to your team, and track them as they get completed. This can be very useful if you're hosting a large event with multiple areas that need attention.

2. Being a People Person

Since you'll be dealing with a lot of people, it's important to have good customer service skills. This means being friendly, helpful, and professional at all times. For example, if someone has a question, you should be able to answer it clearly and concisely (and preferably without rolling your eyes).

It's also important to be a good negotiator. This way, you can get the best possible deals for the event. For example, if you're working with a venue, you'll need to be able to negotiate a fair price.

Ideally, you should work with services with explicit, straightforward pricing plans so there's no room for negotiation. Gathar's approach to catering (alongside many other professional approaches) provides a good example of such a service. With this in mind, this isn't always possible, so be prepared to negotiate, and be sure to take a professional approach into account if you choose to provide a service yourself.

3. Communication

Another key skill for event hosts is excellent communication. You need to be able to communicate clearly and concisely with everyone involved in the event, from the venue staff to the speakers to the attendees.

This includes being able to give clear instructions, answering questions promptly, and being able to resolve any issues that come up.

It's also important to be a good listener. This way, you can really understand what people are saying and figure out the best way to help them.

Active listening is a good way to achieve this, which involves making eye contact, nodding, and repeating back what the other person said. So make sure to practice it when you're planning an event.

4. Flexibility

Things rarely go according to plan, so it's important to be flexible when you're hosting an event. This means being able to adapt on the fly and make changes as needed. For example, if the venue is running late on setup, you'll need to be able to adjust your timeline accordingly.

Flexibility also extends to your attitude. No matter what happens, it's important to stay positive and maintain a can-do attitude. This will help to keep everyone else calm and focused, so they can continue working together to make the event a success.

5. Problem-solving

Even with the best planning, there's always a chance that something will go wrong at an event. That's why it's important to be a good problem-solver. This means being able to quickly assess a situation and come up with a creative solution.

For example, if the audio system isn't working, you'll need to troubleshoot the issue and find a way to fix it. Or if there's a last-minute cancellation, you'll need to figure out how to fill the gap. Remember, it's important to be resourceful and think on your feet when you’re hosting an event.

6. Time management

As a host, you'll need to be good at managing your time. This includes being able to juggle multiple tasks at once and prioritize what needs to be done first. For example, if you're setting up for the event and the caterer arrives early, you'll need to be able to take care of both tasks simultaneously.

It's also important to be able to stay calm under pressure and manage your stress levels. This is especially true for large events, where there's a lot at stake. So make sure to practice some stress management techniques, such as deep breathing and visualization.

7. Budgeting

Another important skill for event hosts is budgeting. This means being able to allocate the right amount of money to each task and stay within the overall budget for the event. For example, you'll need to decide how much to spend on things like the venue, food, and entertainment.

When it comes to the financial aspect of an event, we recommend creating a Google Sheets document and sharing it with other members of the organizing committee. This will keep the finances transparent and allow other people to catch errors that might slip through you.

8. Marketing

Last but not least, event hosts need to be good at marketing (depending on the type of event you're hosting). This means promoting the event to make sure people are aware of it and getting them excited about attending.

There are a number of ways to market an event, such as creating a website, using social media, sending out email newsletters, or running a cold email campaign through a cold email tool inviting your target audience. Whatever marketing channels you use, just make sure to put some thought into it.

For example, if you're using social media, think about which platforms your target audience is most active on. Marketing a corporate event on Instagram won’t be very effective. Similarly, marketing a concert on LinkedIn is a bad idea.

If you're sending out email newsletters, make sure to personalize them and add a catchy subject line.

It's important to point out that marketing an event can require a significant amount of time and expertise, so it's a good idea to create a separate team for it.