Being an event manager is a big deal—and a lot of hard work. But it pays off in the most satisfying way when a large event makes a meaningful impact on the business, whether through earned revenue, brand awareness, or another goal achieved.

From planning and logistics to day-of mic checks and pivots, event managers keep the show running smoothly so attendees can enjoy the experience and sponsors realize positive ROI.

But what does it take to manage events successfully? Read on for our complete guide.

Is event management the same as event planning?

Black woman, laptop and writing in notebook for planning schedule, calendar or dairy for task reminder at home.

While the terms “event manager” and “event planner” or “event organizer” are often used interchangeably, they are two distinct roles.

An event planner serves as the visionary—the person responsible for directing creative and designing the experience based on predetermined criteria, such as budget, theme, and client requirements. Their job is to ensure that an event resonates with event attendees.

On the other hand, an event manager—while they are usually present throughout the planning process—is responsible for running the show and managing or mitigating risks as they arise on the day of the event.

The importance of event management

Event management makes all the difference between a lackluster experience and a winning function. When an event is managed successfully, it optimizes the experience for attendees, sponsors, speakers, and vendors, so they can make the most of it. As a byproduct of this, the hosting corporation is more likely to see greater ROI and overall guest satisfaction.

Key elements of event management

These key elements are fundamental to any event, and things that the event manager is responsible for in most cases.

Event infrastructure

Core event infrastructure is any and all things necessary to actually put the event together. This includes things such as your event management platform, the venue, any tools or equipment needed, and more.

Target audience

This is your main group of people to focus your attention on when putting it all together. Like a buyer persona in commerce, even managers can work together with event organizers to build the ideal attendee profile so that they can better market to that audience.


Event managers are, in part, responsible for ticketing and registration on the day of the event. With the proper tools and platform, this responsibility can be streamlined to ensure attendee satisfaction when it comes time to actually check-in.

Event organizers

Working in tandem with event organizers, these two roles should have a tight grasp on the event and any activities as they unfold. With an accessible event agenda set up beforehand, managers can delegate and collaborate with other event professionals easily.

Event Venue

For live events, managers should have control over the features and functionalities that are offered on-site. From checking attendees in easily via an event app to on-site badge printing, managers can work within the Webex Events platform to set up these core functionalities to maximize the attendee experience.


Any event content that’s produced should be compatible with a variety of platforms and software. Live streams, speakers, and pre-recorded content should all be easily accessible and repurposable to help event managers maximize event ROI.

Overview of the 5 c’s of event management

Event managers are engaged and involved throughout the entirety of the planning and production process, which can be summarized with the five C’s of event management:

  • Concept: This initial step in the process is often in collaboration with an event planner. It’s when the event concept is created to kick off the planning process. The event manager needs to be involved so they have a better understanding of the event vision.
  • Coordination: This refers to coordinating important event details, such as the date, time, and location of the event.
  • Control: This step applies to both the event planner and manager, as the former has control over the experience on paper, while the latter physically directs the event.
  • Culmination: This stage is representative of the event day. All the work that the event planner and manager have put in to create the experience is put into motion as attendees start filing in.
  • Closeout: This last C is inclusive of everything that an event manager needs to do post-event, such as tear-down, following up with vendors, receiving and providing feedback, and organizing a post-event attendee engagement strategy.

How to be a great event manager

To best prepare for an event, event managers should consider:

Doing a mock run-through

Tabletop exercises aren’t just reserved for cybersecurity professionals who are looking to mitigate risks by learning their vulnerabilities. Event managers can benefit greatly from conducting a mock run-through or rehearsal of the event before it goes live for the same reason.

Get together with your event professional colleagues and run some hypothetical scenarios in a tabletop exercise. This can help you learn what is bound to work well and some things that may be destined to break down during the event. It also presents an opportunity to talk through what’s expected and how to adapt to any changes so you’re better prepared for the real thing.

Starting early

Getting an early start in the world of event management is valuable. Depending on when the event’s doors are scheduled to open (or the virtual meeting room link is slated to go live) to attendees, getting ahead of the action can help managers set up for success and ensure everything is on track.

When you arrive early, run through this checklist:

  • Check in with staff, speakers, sponsors, and vendors to ensure they have everything they need.
  • Make sure everything is in the right place, signage is accurate, and the venue has a good flow.
  • Ensure amenities and accessibility features are available and functional such as washrooms, elevators, food stands, etc.
  • Do a team cheer to get everyone in the zone.

Staying flexible

No matter how well an event was planned or managed, the unexpected happens. As an event manager, it’s important to be adaptable, so if something comes up at the last minute, like a no-show speaker, you have the knowledge and tools to change course and still provide a stellar event experience for attendees.

There is not much to physically prepare for in this case, aside from mental preparation, but having backup plans for a certain activity or session is always a good idea. Coordinate with the event planner to find an optimal solution or “plan B” should something force you to make a change.

Using an event management platform

Even the most seasoned event managers benefit from a little assistance. With a robust event management platform, staying organized is easy. And with end-to-end management including event registration, on-site solutions, and an event app, events management has never been more comprehensive.

Qualities of a successful event manager

Along with best practices, event managers often fit a particular profile where their inherent strengths become core assets in their role. These skills can be learned, but most event managers need to have a solid grasp of the following skills:

Effective communication

As a director, event managers need to hone their communication skills. A big part of the job is being clear in your communication to cut down on misunderstandings, delegate tasks to appropriate staff members, and take complete control when necessary to keep the ball rolling.

Intense organization

Corporate events can range in size from a handful of attendees to thousands. Planning an event of such magnitude requires top-notch organizational skills. When it comes to managing, it’s a culmination of everything from creating the event calendar to managing event staff and responding to attendee needs.

Problem-solving skills

Even the most perfectly planned events—and recurring events—are victim to unexpected problems. If you’re working with a great event planner, you should be able to notice and rectify potential problems ahead of the event, however, unforeseen issues can still slip through the cracks. Event managers need to have impeccable problem-solving skills to mitigate and remediate disruptions as they happen.


Typical managers are in charge of people, and it’s no different here. A large part of event management is being responsible for the delegation of tasks to the right people to ensure the event can deliver a return on investment and be as successful as possible. This means that event managers should be strong listeners, leaders, and motivators.

Event managers and an event management platform make an unstoppable duo

If event managers are superhuman all on their own, then they’re otherworldly when they take advantage of the suite of features offered through Webex Events.

For registration, ticket sales, an event app, event management software, an event website, and more, Webex Events is your partner in unforgettable corporate functions. Our platform helps you manage events with confidence while cutting down on manual processes, boosting attendee engagement, and maximizing attendance.