The 10 Must-Have Items for Every Professional Event Manager

Event professionals are a super-resourceful bunch. After all, as a freelance event manager, you have to manage multiple pressures, deal with unending event day emergencies, and survive rushed days that afford you no breathing space.

The unpredictable nature of events demands that your handbag, briefcase, or backpack should always be stocked for emergency scenarios. Knowing that you have go-to supplies at hand can help keep you sane on the event day.  

Here are the items you shouldn’t forget to add to your bag so that you’re ready for everything thrown at you:

1. A fully-charged Smartphone plus extra battery packs

Every freelance event manager knows that you can’t do without a phone on event day – you need to text your team, check the event app, and check in on your vendors. Your phone must stay charged throughout the event and thus you need at least two backup batteries.

Bonus tip: Always have a central charging station for your team so that everyone can juice up all through the event. 

2. Adhesive bandages

When running an event, you and your team are often on your feet for long periods. This means, however comfortable your shoes are, blisters will happen. You may have told your over-zealous intern not to wear her brand new shoes in a bid to look stunning on event day, but does she ever listen?

Fortunately for everyone, you have band-aids of all sizes to take care of those hideous and painful sores. 

Bonus tip: Other than bandages, arm yourself with a basic first-aid kit to take care of the cuts and minor scrapes that happen as you walk across uneven fields, move furniture, run wires, and set up equipment. 

Think of sports warps in case someone twists an ankle, gauze, antiseptic spray, and antibiotic ointment. 

3. Sticky notes

You might need to write something down for your vendors, show your set-up team where specific signage needs to be placed, or share your secret staff-only Wi-Fi key with someone. But it’s hard to reach people when they’re always on their feet – so you’ve got to leave them notes where they can’t miss them. 

Besides, a big part of being a freelance event manager is labeling everything, leaving notes, and keeping lists. So don’t forget your permanent markers and pens, either.

Bonus tip: Depending on the level of organization you need, having label markers can be a fantastic idea. You might also need to have multiple printed copies of the event’s schedule with your crew’s contact information. 

4. A fix-it kit

During events, you often have to help fix something in a booth, hang something, or stick something in place. That’s why it’s crucial to have extra tape (duct and regular), scissors, super glue, staple gun, and strings. 

Bonus tip: You should also have a toolbox that contains a hammer, pliers, screwdriver, and measuring tape.

5. Keep-clean collection 

Running an event is hectic, but you still need to maintain a professional demeanor. Having cleansing wipes to clean off sweat, breath mints, and spray deodorant can help you stay fresh.

Bonus tip: Laundry stain stickers, a sewing kit, and an extra pair of clothes can help you mitigate wardrobe malfunctions.

6. Plugin paraphernalia

There is always a need to plug in things to power, so you will always need extra extension cords and power strips.

Bonus tip: Always have a few small flashlights to help you locate outlets that are behind or under booths and stages without having to drain your cell phone’s battery by using the flashlight app. 

7. Travel medicine cabinet

Events are often stressful, physically draining, and loud. This means there is always someone in your crew that has a headache, some soreness, or an upset stomach. Therefore, remedies like pain relievers, cough drops, and antacids always come in handy. 

Bonus tip: Depending on the kind of event you’re managing, having earplugs can help lessen the noise for the crew who work right next to speakers. 

8. Folding dollies

Hauling heavy boxes around the event venue is grueling, especially if you’re covering a massive space. While most venues provide carts and dollies, you sometimes need an extra. You should, therefore, always carry along some extra carts and dollies. 

9. Extra flash drives

It’s always prudent to have a backup to your back-up, especially when you’re running the sorts of events that entail multimedia presentations, or when you need to have important contracts at hand.

Sure, you should have your files in the cloud, but Wi-Fi can be spotty; you’ll be pleased to have your stuff in a flash drive ready to be loaded into a laptop. 

10. Travel-sized sunscreen

When you’re managing an outdoor event, you’re often out in the sun for long periods. It’s, therefore, essential to have sunscreen at hand so that you reapply as needed.

Here are other bonus items that you need: 

  • Bluetooth Stereo
    You need a Bluetooth speaker mainly to entertain your vendors and your crew as they set up. But sometimes technical glitches occur, and you need to put it to bigger use. All you need to do is select a Spotify playlist, pair it with your phone, and boom disaster is averted.
  • Protein Bar
    Sure, you may have excellent food vendors at the event, but as a freelance event manager, you rarely have time for lunch breaks. Having a couple of protein bars can help you keep the energy up until the hustles and bustles of the event are over. 
  • Flat Shoes
    You might love how elegant and confident your high-heels make you feel and look, but you can only run around with them on for so long. So it’s always a good idea to bring along a pair of comfy and cute flats.

The Wrap Up

Bringing along all these items may look like overkill, but as a freelance event manager, you can attest that in the ‘events world,’ over-preparation is part of the game. Just pack all these items into your bags, and you’ll be ready for any eventuality during your event.

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