How to Conquer Stress in the Event Industry
There's no doubt that event organising is stressful. CareerCast's annual "most stressful jobs" list places event coordinator in the #5 spot. With the likes of Military Personal & Airline Pilots taking previous slots. Veteran event organisers know there's more to the job than meets the eye. How can you manage your stress levels & continue to perform at your best?
Create a task list
Creating a list is an efficient way to curate all the information in one place. Different lists ensure that you're not missing out anything important. There are many different elements that make up an event: Venue, procedures, health and safety, staffing, security and so on. Keeping on top of everything from memory can be near impossible.
We all get in the bad habit of putting off the most important tasks. Once completed, mark each item on your list from 1 upwards in order of importance. This allows you to see where you should be allocating most of your time and resources. If your most important tasks aren't immediately achievable, work on something else. Remember to keep the most important tasks in the front of your mind for you to complete when you can.
Deadlines alter the way you work whether you realize or not. You feel added pressure with a deadline lingering over your head. Be realistic. Don't set yourself deadlines in the immediate future if you know the task will take longer. This will only add more stress to the task. As well as lowering the quality of the final product.
Consider delegating Items to a team member
Being part of a well-oiled team has many benefits. Consider your own and your team's strengths and weaknesses. If you dislike catering, the likelihood is, someone in your team enjoys it. Pair your team's interests and strengths with different tasks. You'll find that your ability to complete your list improves when you have help. With individuals working on separate tasks, you'll also notice that quality improves.
Sometimes it can be hard to motivate yourself. Regardless of how important the task is your motivation remains absent. Consider adding incentives to certain tasks. Give yourself a reward for completing a task and you'll find that you have something to push you. The reward itself should correspond to the priority level. Giving yourself an hour break for ringing your venue isn't practical, nor efficient. Yet, rewarding yourself something small can prove useful for your work ethic.
Completing tasks act as a domino effect. It's natural for us to feel a sense of motivation when completing something. No matter how small. Push yourself to complete one task and you'll generate your own motivation.
Creating lists on pen and paper can be an effective method to log in your tasks. Sometimes, these lists can get lost or forgotten. There are many different tools online that you can use to enhance your to-do-lists. Todoist, Wunderlist & Trello are a few examples that allow you to do this online. If you perform better with notifications or in a digital space, then give them a try.
Have realistic expectations
Have an understanding of your audience
If you sell tickets to your events online then understanding your turn out will be easier. Selling on the door proves a little more difficult. Your audience is the most important element for gauging your event turn out. Don't overestimate this. Spending more money on seating/catering can prove detrimental to your profits if it goes unused. This will cause you to waste resources and get more stressed in the process.
Base your expectations on previous events
An effective way to judge your turnout is to reflect on previous events. It's also effective to track your social channels as a method to see your audience engagement. Understanding your niche and industry goes a long way. By using this information you begin to know what to expect. Not only in turn out but also with other areas on your checklist.
Work with the right people
Ensure everyone has the same expectations
As stated before, you need to have realistic expectations. Working as a team is important. Every member of your team must have the same expectations for the event. This way, everyone's goal are the same and you will begin making decisions as a team, not on your own.
Play to individuals strengths and weaknesses
everyone is unique. skills are transferable, to some degree, interests aren't. If one of your team members enjoys customer interaction, let them greet attendees. Likewise, this applies to all elements of the event. The highest quality of work is visible when people love what they're doing.
Maintain constant communication
Communication is key. Ensure that everyone in your team knows everything at all times. When things get busy it only takes one small mishap for everything to spiral out of control. This also ensures that everyone stays aware of slight changes which are key with attendees. Priorbooking auto emails attendees of any changes made to the event. If you aren't using an online system, ensure you email any updates. Give your attendees plenty of notice, it's unlikely they will see a crucial update on the day.
Have a backup plan
Pre-production might go smooth but there is always bound to be some issue during the event. Failure to plan is planning to fail. If an incident happens at your event and you haven't planned, it will almost always be worse. When creating your list make sure to include a list of things that can go wrong. The ease of this will vary depending on what type of event you're running. As the event organiser, you should be aware of possible issues that could arise during the event.
Creating an execution plan is essential to ensure any problem gets fixed ASAP. An execution plan informs you and your team what counts as a serious problem and how you then deal with it. This gives individuals a specific role to play in finding/executing the solution. Which is effective because you will no longer be panicking when something goes wrong. This also shows how professional you and your team are in the face of issues.
Be prepared for things to go right and wrong
Things are bound to go wrong but you must understand that you cannot control everything. Overstressing about every small hiccup will make your stress levels soar. It's very rare that something will happen to turn your audience against you. Ensure you keep your head in the game and look to fix problems where you can. If you have created your lists/execution plan, focus on what accounts for a problem. Sometimes hiccups happen but that doesn't always mean that it's a problem. If something happens that isn't crucial there's no reason for you to panic. Showing your audience that you're always in control is crucial. If you're seen to be panicking and worrying, your perception will likely take a hit.
Ensure you have enough preparation time
If you control the date
If you are in control of when you make your event public knowledge, give yourself ample time. Tasks often take longer than first thought and you don't want to find yourself running out of time. This is beneficial in the obvious; you have more time to arrange everything. More so, it allows you to improve the quality. It gives you more time to ensure your team knows everything. More time for you to trial run certain procedures. It can also give you time to add some extra value for your audience.
If you're dependant on a venue
Depending on the event, you may use a specific. Whilst this isn't usually an issue, popular venues will have to schedule events in advance. Meaning they can only give you specific dates and if it's too soon then tough luck. Like the previous point, if your venue is flexible, give them a date that is best for you. If you have to agree with a predetermined date, then take steps to ensure everything is ready in time.
Pass responsibilities around your team and give everyone an equal workload. Never try to complete everything by yourself. Find areas you can cut down. If you have an ambitious idea it might be best to hold off if you're running out of time.
Do not multitask
Target one task at a time
Everyone knows event organisers multitask, so why are we telling you not to? Multitasking can create many issues. Focusing on one task at a time can solve many of these. If you're multitasking on many tasks at once, it's very likely that you may miss something important. Missing something out will have a much bigger impact than a smaller problem during the event.
Focus on quality
Quality speaks for itself. Being known for amazing work will take you further than the amount you do if that amount is of bad quality. Multitasking has one major drawback; it splits your attention. This also affects the speed in which you complete your work. More often than not, multitasking to some degree means rushing. Focusing on one task at a time ensures that you maintain the highest level of quality at all times. It also means you complete tasks quicker, which then gives you the motivation to do more.
Make time for yourself
You are not a robot so don't try to be one. No one can escape stress, it's an inbuilt feeling that everyone experiences. Don't shrug stress off as its one of the biggest causes of illness. Take time away from work to focus on YOU. Do something you enjoy, go somewhere with your family, take up a new hobby. Do whatever it is you want to do and relax. Don't let your work life consume you.
Being stressed affects your performance, it also affects your decision making. As an event organiser, you need to be quick thinking and alert to changes. Take action to combat the stress of the job.
- Stress can affect you in many different ways. As an event organiser, ensure that you are keeping your stress levels in check at all times.
- Make lists to ensure you have everything you need, so you can track what has been completed and what hasn't. Create multiple lists for each element of your event, including problems you could face.
- Keep your expectations realistic. Know your audience and turn out then plan accordingly. Don't be over ambitious and spend money where it isn't needed.
- Surround yourself with like-minded team members. Ensure that everyone in your team knows everything there is to know. Keep in regular communication and allocate tasks based upon interests and strengths.
- Create a backup plan for when things go wrong. This way you aren't caught off guard and everyone knows what their responsibilities are to counter.
- Always be prepared for things to go wrong. It's very rare that events turn out perfectly. Create an execution plan and organise what is a serious problem and what the steps are to solving it.
- Ensure you give yourself enough preparation time to get every task completed.
- Focus on one task at a time. Make sure that your attention isn't divided. This way you ensure that the quality of your work is always high.
- Finally, make time for yourself. Enjoy your work and keep it separate from your personal life. The best way to reduce stress is to do something you enjoy.
Curious how social media can make your life easier? Check out: How to use social media to promote your event