🚀 The Event Playbook: Proven strategies to level up your next event!

🚀 The Event Playbook:
Proven strategies to level up your next event!

best event planning books

10 of the Best Event Planning Books for Innovative Event Managers

Been reading up on event planning for an upcoming event? We've gathered the best event planning books here for you to explore and learn from so you can make your event a success.

We’ve been producing events and putting together innovative marketing campaigns for over 20 years, and have read hundreds of books over the decades. Some of them were good, others were bad, but most of them had something useful to offer.

Here, we’ll be sharing some of, in our opinion, the best event planning books with you. Whether you’re organizing a corporate meeting, a wedding, a party, a conference, virtual summit – check out these books and start planning today.

1. The Power of Participation: Creating Conferences That Deliver Learning, Connection, Engagement, and Action by Adrian Segar

Adrian Segar presents a comprehensive guide to creating conferences that deliver learning, connection, engagement, and action. He explains how to make meetings memorable which encourages participation and leads to lasting change. 

Learn about:

  • How to use storytelling techniques to connect with participants
  • Ways to improve the conference experience
  • Techniques for making meetings memorable
  • Best practices for managing attendee expectations and behavior
  • Tips for avoiding common mistakes
  • The Power of Participation gives speakers, organizers, and marketers a comprehensive toolset of easy techniques for creating participative events that involve the crowd in their education. Adrian Segar demonstrates how you can transform passive audiences into active participants, which increases participation, adds opportunities to meet with peers during events, builds communities and engagement, and enhances desirable actions at your events.

    With clear explanations and examples, Segar guides you through the process of building engaging programs, including how to maximize attendance, engage attendees, and provide a forum where people can learn together. This is a helpful book for any serious event planner.

    2. Sustainable Event Management: A Practical Guide by Meegan Jones

    Sustainable Event Management: A Practical Guide offers practical guidance on an incredibly important topic for anyone involved in organizing events. It helps readers understand what sustainability means and why it’s important to consider when planning any type of occasion.

    This book includes information about sustainable event planning principles, best practices, and case studies from around the world.

    Readers will find life-changing tips for reducing their carbon footprint, saving money, and minimizing waste during the planning process.

    They will also discover ways to reduce energy consumption at their venues and explore new technologies that can be used to create more environmentally friendly events. This book provides considerable academic research as well as practical step-by-step information helpful for everyone from non–profits to corporate event planners.

    It provides an overview of the key issues and concepts in this area, including:

  • Environmental impact assessment and sustainability planning
  • Transportation
  • Green procurement and waste minimization
  • Carbon reduction and energy efficiency
  • Water conservation, recycling, and reuse
  • Food safety and health and wellbeing
  • Social responsibility
  • The text also covers the legal requirements for events management and includes guidance on how to apply these regulations and guidelines. This edition has been revised and updated throughout to reflect changes in legislation and best practices. Anyone serious about a career in event management should pick up this book.

    3. Event Design Handbook: Systematically Design Innovative Events Using the Event Canvas by Dennis Luijer, Roel Frissen, and Ruud Janssen

    With over 80% of the world’s population living within 200 miles of a major city, there is no shortage of opportunities for people to connect and network.

    But what about those occasions where you want to bring your audience closer to nature, away from urban centers, and into a different environment altogether?

    How do you make sure everyone gets the most out of their trip? And how do you ensure that every attendee leaves feeling inspired, curious, and ready to take action?

    These questions and many others like them are answered in this Design Handbook, one of the few books about event planning that covers this unique creative approach.

    This guide functions as a workbook and lays out steps to designing and executing innovative events. It provides a systematic approach to creating memorable experiences and laying down a strong foundation for future gatherings.

    The authors present a one-page plan called the event canvas that makes planning easier and ensures that every aspect is accounted for. In addition to providing step-by-step instructions, the handbook offers tips and tricks that help maximize the impact of each element.

    Included in this comprehensive resource are:

  •  A detailed overview of the #eventcanvas
  •  An interactive toolkit that allows readers to customize their own plans
  •  Tips on how to design engaging activities and build buzz
  •  Strategies for making the event fun, exciting, and memorable
  • All in all, it’s one of the must-have event-planning books for anyone who wants to plan an unforgettable experience.

    4. The Event Manager's Bible 3rd Edition: The Complete Guide to Planning and Organising a Voluntary or Public Event by D.G. Conway

    This is the third edition of the bestselling event planning book on event management. It has been completely updated with new material, including event marketing chapters on social media marketing, fundraising, sponsorship, and more.

    The event industry is in constant need of new ideas and detailed planning.

    That is why it’s vital to know how to plan and organize all the details successfully. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about planning and organizing from start to finish.

    It includes practical advice on every aspect of running an event, such as choosing the right venue, creating a budget, managing volunteers, planning engaging event activities, and much more. There are also sections covering specific areas, such as public speaking, fundraising, and networking.

    You will learn how to create a successful strategy, manage budgets and finance, recruit speakers and sponsors, promote online, and much more.

    The book also features a section on social media marketing, which explains how to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and other platforms to get maximum exposure.

    There are also helpful checklists and templates for planners at the end of each chapter, which provide a quick reference to key points.

    This book covers topics such as:

  • The main objective
  • Defining your target audience
  • Advertising
  • Accommodation and services
  • Traffic management and Signposting
  • Staffing and Security
  • Site maintenance and Strip down/clear up
  • If you’re looking to run a successful event and get into the details of operations, then this is the essential event planning book for you!

    5. The Non-Obvious Guide to Event Planning (For Kick-Ass Gatherings that Inspire People) by Andrea Driessen

    This down-to-earth book provides practical guidance for planning successful gatherings. 

    The introductory section offers tips on establishing goals and developing strategies for attracting top talent, holding audiences’ attention, and capturing interest through engaging presentations and entertainment.

    Driessen shares insight on:

  • How to select compelling presenters and performers
  • How to plan a seamless flow of event activities
  • How to keep your audience engaged throughout the entire experience
  • Helpful checklists and resources to help you stay organized
  • How to avoid costly mistakes
  • Online tools such as downloadable PDF files, video demonstrations, and step-by-step instructions make it easier to get started for ultimate event success!

    Easy starting packages • Advanced options • Proven results

    6. Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers 1st Edition by Dave Gray, James Macanufo, and Sunni Brown

    Great things often take place in a context. Creating an environment where creativity thrives can be a challenging task.

    What can you do to get it done at your company? The answer might surprise you: game­storming!

    It contains more than 80 games to improve communication skills, generate new ideas, and develop new strategies for incredible event success. The authors have compiled a list of tools and techniques from some of the world’s leading innovators who collaborate and make great things come together.

  • Overcoming Conflict and Increasing Engagement With Games for Teams
  • Visual thinking techniques help improve collaboration and communication between different disciplines within a team.
  • To improve understanding, play out customer and user scenarios using different roles.
  • Generate better ideas, faster than ever before.
  • Make meetings shorter and more productive.
  • Explore complex systems, interact with them, and understand their behavior.
  • Find out why something happens, and then figure out which path leads to a solution.
  • This book is geared toward corporate event planners but can be useful for a variety of occasions and your future events. It is the culmination of years of research into the best ways to bring fun and excitement back to the office. Find out why and how with gamestorming.

    7. Confessions of an Event Planner: Case Studies from the Real World of Events--How to Handle the Unexpected and How to Be a Master of Discretion by Judy Allen

    Do you want to be a master of discretion? Able to handle anything unexpected that is thrown your way? This event planning book teaches you how to handle unexpected situations with grace and tact in your future events.

    It is important for planners to learn how to deal with these types of situations because they are bound to happen at some point in their careers.

    Have you ever been faced with a situation where you just didn’t know what to say or do?

    It could be something as simple as a guest who has forgotten their invitation or a vendor who doesn’t show up on time. Or maybe you need to help someone find their lost luggage.

    Whatever the case may be, here are some tips from “Confessions of an Event Planner” on how to handle these situations with grace and tact so that you don’t end up looking like a fool:

  • Don’t panic! If you feel yourself getting flustered, take a deep breath and try to stay calm. You will look much more composed if you remain calm.
  • Say thank you! Even though you didn’t ask for this favor, it is still nice to acknowledge people for helping you out.
  • Ask questions! Sometimes we just need to hear another person’s perspective.
  • Take control! When you are dealing with a problem, it is always good to take charge of the situation.
  • Have a plan B! Always have a backup plan in mind.
  • Pick up this quick read for more great professional tips from a seasoned event planner.

    8. The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters by Priya Parker

    From the host of The New York Times podcast “Together Apart”, an exciting new approach for gathering that will transform the way we spend our time together – at work, at school, in our homes, and beyond.

    We tend to rely too much on routines and the conventional ways of doing things when we should be focusing on our own uniqueness and the people involved.

    At a time when people need to come together even more than they did before, Parker shows us how to gather them into meaningful, memorable experiences, big and small, at both professional and personal levels.

    She investigates a wide range of occasions – from conferences to courtrooms, from meetings to parties, from Arab Israeli summer camps to a “mock trial” – and shows how simple, specific tweaks can revitalize any event.

    This event management book contains many tips on how to get better results, including:

  • Gathering together is an important part of our lives, but we rarely think about it.
  • First things first: Commit to a clear purpose.
  • Excluding some people is a key move towards creating a meaningful intimate gathering.
  • Hosts who behave generously will always deliver better parties than hosts who are too laid back.
  • Explicit rules can actually be quite freeing.
  • Getting your guests primed and welcoming them when they arrive will help set the tone for your party.
  • You can design your special events so that they encourage people who attend them to be themselves.
  • Many parties don’t come to an official conclusion but instead just fade away without any kind of celebration. However, there are some simple things you can do to ensure that your gathering ends with a bang.
  • The Art of Gatherings will forever change the ways you view your next industry conference, dinner party, and backyard barbecue—and how you hold and attend them.

    9. Designing Experiences (Columbia Business School Publishing) by J. Robert Rossman and Mathew D. Duerden

    Today, the most popular reasons why people attend conferences are to make valuable contacts, build relationships, and have unique interactive experiences. However, time and time, networking is relegated to after-hours parties and socials outside the actual event.  

    Events are often full of lectures and presentations that end with only a few moments of Q&A. 

    How can you focus on delivering an incredible event experience?

    Today, the most popular reasons why people attend conferences are to make valuable contacts, build relationships, and have unique interactive experiences. However, time and time, networking is relegated to after-hours parties and socials outside the actual event. 

    Events are often full of lectures and presentations that end with only a few moments of Q&A. How can you focus on delivering an incredible event experience?

    Smart presenters and meeting organizers are incorporating experiential learning, innovative programs, and social interaction into their presentations and workshops. This comprehensive book explains how to do it. It shows you why it’s so important for everyone involved in an event to encourage participation, and how to use these specific, detailed techniques to dramatically improve the attendee experience. 

    More than a series of how-tos, Designing Experiences delves deep into the theory and methods that help students and professionals understand an ever-growing field.


    10. Into the Heart of Meetings: Basic Principles of Meeting Design by Eric de Groot and Mike van der Vijver

    Into the Heart of Meetings defines meetings as a form of communication. It describes the characteristic processes of meetings and how to influence them through meeting design.

    The authors use countless examples, connecting their writing to daily working practice.

    This is an explorative study, a textbook, and a practical guide in one. Further details: Meetings – conferences, conventions, seminars, workshops, etc. – are an integral part of daily life in organizations.

    In this event planner book, de Groot and Vijver argue that the potential of such meetings is severely under-utilized for a number of reasons.

    One of these is that the organization of meetings is conceived mainly as a logistical operation. This book shows that this approach misses the point with regard to the communicative value and power of meetings.

    The power of these meetings depends on the human dynamics they are capable of unleashing. To accomplish that effectively requires a new paradigm for the way in which meeting programs are conceived and executed. Meeting Design provides that new paradigm and the authors discuss all the basic knowledge a Meeting Designer needs to possess.

    The book combines a theoretical framework with many examples and practical tools. As a result, it is not only useful for professionals in the Meetings Industry, but also for managers and consultants who use meetings as a means to achieve their goals.

    young woman reading one of the best event planning books in her private library

    Why You Need to Add the Best Event Planning Books to Your Toolbox Today

    As we have seen above, there are several event planner books available today that will help you plan successful events. 

    But what makes the best event planner books? And what should you look for when choosing the best event-planning books for your library?

    Here are some things to consider before purchasing any event planner books:

    1. Does the author provide real-world examples?
    2. Is the content relevant to my industry?
    3. Are the ideas unique or common sense?
    4. Can I find more information about the topic online?
    5. How much does the event management book cost?
    6. Do I need the book right away?
    7. Will the event planner book be updated regularly?
    8. Will the book be helpful in the future?
    9. Does the event management book cover topics outside of my area of particular expertise?

    Innovative event planners are always learning new exciting techniques to master the art of event planning. If you want to learn from the best, then read our list of the top 10 event planning books. Trust us, the skills you learn will make an incredible difference in your next event.

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    We & Goliath

    We & Goliath is an award-winning, top 100 worldwide event agency known for increasing conference attendance by 7X and profits by 3X through beautifully designed virtual, hybrid, and in-person events. Since 1999, their team of innovative strategists and creative designers has worked with global enterprises, SMBs, non-profits, and other organizations to engage audiences and exceed expectations.

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