6 Top Tips for Event Planners to Stay Stress Free at Events
With the new year just around the corner and a busy kick-off conference season ahead of us, we know it can be a stressful time of year for event planners. But let’s face it, when you’re wanting to deliver your best for clients, when isn’t a stressful time. That’s why Charlie Carvill, Conference Development Manager, wanted to step back and share some of her top tips on how to remain calm under pressure to ensure you deliver a quality event.
1. Prioritise your workload
As an event organiser, you will notoriously have several people be that clients, suppliers or even your own staff wanting different things at different times and you may just think ‘where on earth do I start?’ It’s simple, understand what needs to be achieved first for subsequent processes to follow and complete. It’s important to prioritise the workload over the hierarchy of where your requests have come from for the benefit of the overall event. Always explain your reasoning for your decisions to allow people to understand why their requests may not be actioned immediately. Remember, there’s only one of you with only one pair of hands and so many hours in a day!
2. Organise yourself
In order to prioritise your workload, you need to be organised and understand your timeframes of key deliverables in order for the event to be a success. Ensure you have a strong project plan in which all parties you are working with, your team, suppliers and the client, buy in to and agree to meet their own deadlines. You need to have a clear, concise and open form of communication, where people can feel they can share feedback on their own deliverables to determine whether they can make your expected timescales.
3. Be flexible where possible…
… and we say where possible because we all know with events sometimes we are on such tight deadlines that flexibility might not be possible. However, in your planning stages, try to add some movement in for potential delays in set up, or over-running of the conference programme and understand where your key pinch-points are. Having some form of contingency planning will not only put your mind at ease, but also that of your clients, as they’ll understand where there is any potential movement throughout the event lifecycle.
4. Don’t be afraid to delegate
As we said in point one, there is only one of you, so don’t take everything on and delegate tasks out between the team. Providing you have regular project meetings, the team will be able to share their current status of different projects, allowing you to collate into your master project plan and share this status with the client. It comes back to having a strong communications strategy and having a strong team around you who will support and advise immediately of any potential issues.
5. Look after yourself and wellbeing of others
A big part of dealing with stress is having a supportive team. Organise a back-up person you can call off-site, who will understand what you’re going through and can talk you down. Working long and irregular hours can also have an impact on your personal wellbeing as you’re not looking after yourself properly. Remember to take short breaks throughout the day and plan these into your event schedule for you and your team. By just grabbing a quick bite to eat and taking five to ten minutes away from the event can help to lower your heart rate again. Remember it’s okay to switch off for a short time and by removing yourself from a stressful environment, even only for a short time, will help recharge the batteries and refocus your mindset.
Think about doing something as a team when onsite to refocus the mind, a two-minute yoga pose takes your mind off the event and as a team helps you bond as you can all feel like fools together at the back of an event space standing like a tree. You’ll be surprised at what this can do to release some tension.
6. Share the support – not the stress
It’s all to easy to rant and express frustration on an event, but your team, and the client doesn’t need to feel the brunt of your anger. Ensure you deal with taxing situations in a professional manner and when the frustration does build, use your ‘call a friend’ and vent your frustration to someone outside of the event. On the other hand, your team or the client might need you to be the one to listen to their own frustrations. Ensure you are supportive and find resolutions for their problems where you can. Take them to one side and remove them from the situation to ensure levels of anxiety at an event are kept to a minimum.
There’s a fine line between enjoying the adrenaline of an event and suffering from anxiety. If you and your team can remain on the right side of this tipping point, you will have an enjoyable and successful event. As an event planner you need to be aware of the signs of stress in yourself and those around you and open up those channels of communication to allow the anxiety to pass and refocus the mind.