Spotlight on Meetings and Conventions
Top 5 tips for event planners to de-stress and remain sane!
Did you know that event planners are considered to have one of the most stressful jobs in the world—right up there with the military, healthcare professionals and emergency services? CareerCast’s recent report on the most stressful jobs of 2017 ranked event planning as one the top high-anxiety jobs based on 11 factors, including travel, deadlines, meeting the public and working in the public eye.
Eagerly nodding your head in agreement?
If you are currently organizing an upcoming conference and convention and feel as though you are like Mount Vesuvius that’s about ready to erupt, take a quick break and read our top 5 tips to de-stress before, during and after your event.
1. Tap into your project management superpowers
Kick off your event strategy and planning sessions as soon as possible so that you have enough time to develop a realistic calendar of all the tasks you and your team need to complete.
If needs be, take a few days to hone out everything that must be taken care of as well as each deadline. Encourage ongoing communication with your venue and event partners and rely on their expertise. With effective project management, you’ll feel much more in control of your event, which makes for a calm and happy event planner!
2. Regain control over your schedule
When you’re the captain of the event ship, everyone is relying on you for the success of the conference or convention. But wait a minute! You may be an event superhero, but that doesn’t mean the fate of the event (or the world!) should fall on your shoulders alone. In other words: delegate. Repeat after us: d-e-l-e-g-a-t-e!
Once you’ve built your event’s project calendar, appoint owners for each task, whether they be your team members, partners or experts you need to hire. By delegating tasks, you free up time in your already busy day-to-day so that you can concentrate on what matters most (read: steering the ship). You also foster a sense of accountability with everyone who is responsible for the event. After all, it is not a one-person show!
3. Leverage the power of technology
Sometimes, we get caught up in the heat of the action that we don’t take a moment to scout out free or affordable technology solutions that can help us get a hold on the multiple to-do’s we have to cross off when planning a convention or conference. However, by pinpointing exactly what is sapping your time and energy, you may be able to find a few apps or platforms that and unload some pressure.
If you are bogged down by email conversations, for example, why not try some of the great messaging services on the market? Fed up of managing static spreadsheets for your event’s timelines? Check out the wide variety of cloud-based team collaboration services. All of these tools can help streamline your event planning, centralize all information regarding your conference and convention, minimize project management (and death) by email—and lower your stress levels.
You may be an event superhero, but that doesn’t mean the fate of the event (or the world!) should fall on your shoulders alone.
4. Silence your overly perfectionist side
Of course, as a seasoned professional, you want to pull off your event without a hitch and have delegates raving about it for months to come. Nevertheless, it is important to accept that not everything will be perfect. There may be a few speed bumps along the way. Striving for perfection is one thing. Beating yourself up over a minute detail does little good for your morale.
To ease the strain, brainstorm with your team on potential pitfalls and what type of Plan B’s you can have to mitigate risks. Before signing with any suppliers, thoroughly read the fine print; this way, you’ll know what you are getting into and better understand the suppliers’ roles and responsibilities should something go awry. While you are in the driver’s seat, keep reminding yourself that you cannot control everything and, if something does go wrong, keep things in perspective: your event is important, but it is usually not a life or death situation!
5. Take good care of yourself
We know, we know. Who has time to take care of oneself when you are in the throes of organizing an event? But face it, if you burn out before or during the event, you are not doing yourself, your organization or your attendees any favours.
As much as possible, eat as healthy as you can and drink lots of water. Carve in a bit of exercise into your schedule—even if it is just a short walk outside or using the stairs—to get a bit of a breather. Even as little as ten minutes of yoga or mediation each day can help you unwind. Unplug as soon as you can in the evening so that you don’t suffer from work-induced insomnia. And sleep! Multiple cups of Joe can only go so far in making sure you’re fully awake and on top of things after only sleeping for a few hours. You need your rest!
As you deal with looming deadlines, mounds of paperwork, pressure from stakeholders, and a constant barrage of demands and last-minute changes, it’s only normal for your stress levels to peak. However, keeping your stress in check and taking the time to relax is your surefire bet to a successful event!