Keep Calm and…….
For the second year in a row, Event Coordinator has been voted as the 5th most stressful job in 2017, only after, in order of most stressful: military personnel, firefighter, airline pilot and police officer (careercast.com).
I think it’s fair then to say that being an Event Coordinator is the most stressful of the ‘office’ jobs.
The survey concluded that most of the top 10 stressful jobs also required a significant element of planning ahead – perhaps herein lies the source of the stress. Being an event professional is all about planning, both looking at the big picture and the fine detail to make sure everything goes to plan seamlessly ‘on the night’, not to mention the immoveable deadline of the event itself.
On the surface, event management looks like a lovely, cosy job which entails booking a venue, ordering some catering and inviting people to show up. However, delve a little deeper and you are in the world of managing a flow of ever-moving deadlines, managing expectations, keeping a tight grip on an even tighter budget not to mention making sure other departments are singing from the same sheet when it comes to agreeing the business outcomes for the event, or ROI.
As more focus is shifting onto wellbeing and self-care we are seeing more and more wellness-centred content and workshops popping up aimed at stressed-out workers, helping to reduce that stress.
At BEYOND, we have looked at our own processes to see how we can reduce the stress of planning an event, or indeed multiple events at once. This has resulted in us developing several ‘tools’ that we use to help keep stress to a minimum.
But it’s not just event managers – more and more, we are seeing the trend of taking event management in-house and either a PA or a member of the Marketing team is charged with pulling off a seamless event with excellent ROI as well as getting on with their day job. As event managers, we are used to managing the stress as ‘part of the job’, but for these de facto event managers, who may also lack some of the skills that set event managers apart, we have developed several training modules, based on our own methods, to give them the ‘tools of the trade’ in managing not only the event itself, but pulling it off with the finesse of a pro.
Here are our 5 top tips for de-stressing the event planning process:
No, seriously, breathe! That is our top tip for instantly feeling calmer. Focus on your breath – it stimulates the vagus nerve which in turn reduces your heart rate and lowers blood pressure.
2. Work backwards
As soon as we get an event brief we start at the end of the event. What outcomes are you looking for? What are your ROI goals? From here, we break down the bigger picture into smaller chunks, or building bricks, if you like. Once we have all the building bricks, we can start to timeline individual elements and build the event back up to the place where we started.
3. Plan short meetings
Decision makers are often very busy and it is difficult to pin them down to sign off an element of an event and it is often pushed right to the bottom of their list – but this can throw off your schedule and deadlines.
Try scheduling bite-sized meetings at the coffee machine with seniors/other departments. Everyone has just 15mins.
4. Power hour
Those ‘lesser’ admin tasks getting pushed aside? Block out a power hour to organise your event folders, file emails, reply to emails….this will help you feel more on top of your workload and it’s amazing how much you can get done.
5. Create cohesion
Quite often, events mean different things to different people. It is so important to get everyone in agreement of the outcomes of the event. Don’t overcomplicate the event with too many outcomes; it will become unfocussed. You need to agree on one, or two, main objectives so the event has focus, both in planning and delivery.