If you want to annoy an event professional, tell him or her to "keep calm and carry on". Not sure about that? Think about yourself. When you have to deal with rude emails from event suppliers or last-minute cancelations, the keep calm thing seems like mockery.
It doesn't matter how many times a day you find yourself rushing or racing against the clock, the effects are always the same: headaches, high stress levels, and the desire to punch everybody.
From scheduling speakers' flights to deciding the emailing marketing campaign, every single planning step can quickly become a nightmare. And if this doesn’t end with a serious burnout, then consider yourself one lucky event planner.
As entrepreneurs Christopher Gergen and Gregg Vanourek note in a Harvard Business Review article, "In today’s hyper-competitive (and ailing) economy, we can easily fall prey to burnout that comes from information overload, 'perpetual busyness', and constantly racing against the clock."
"Try and avoid that", you must be thinking, also recalling that event management ranks as the fifth most stressful job in 2017. Considering this, is there any way to truly keep your sanity while planning an event against the clock? To help you answer that, we put together a list of steps that will definitely alleviate your stress:
Step 1. Assess your priorities
You may find yourself dealing with multiple fires, and your instinct is probably to try and put them all out at the same time. This can make you feel overwhelmed and, instead of focusing on something concrete, your attention will be scattered, diminishing the potential of your problem-solving skills.
Instead of freaking out, assess your priorities. Think what issue you must solve immediately and what problems you can delegate to other team members. Know exactly what’s crucial to ensure your event runs smoothly and what issues are minor and require less time or effort. This mindset will help you alleviate the pressure if multiple challenges will occur.
Step 2. Automatize the logistics as much as possible
Find a smart way in which you can get rid of the multiple Excel spreadsheets, build email campaigns with just a few clicks, and generate invoices automatically. There are plenty of event management software and apps that can help you with that. Understand what your bigger logistic problems are and how much time, money, and stress you can save by automatizing the planning process.
Step 3. Call instead of sending emails
When something unexpected happens and you need a confirmation, don’t waste time writing an email and waiting for a reply. You may end up spending countless hours refreshing your email inbox, obsessively checking for an answer. Do yourself a favor and avoid this nerve-racking approach. Grab your phone, dial a number, and get the feedback in a few minutes. So make sure you have the phone numbers of all of your event suppliers, clients, and team members.
Step 4. Slow down
Have you ever tried to do something in a hurry? For example, writing an email or updating the event program on the site, only to realize afterward all the errors you’ve made? Let’s say that you’ve sent an email to the wrong person and instead of publishing the program updates, you accidently deleted the entire thing. Look, it may sound counterintuitive, but when you have an urgent task to accomplish, slow down, take a deep breath, and avoid entering rush mode again.
Step 5. Take time to recover
Go home and rest! Especially when you are working under clock, dealing with high amounts of pressure. Don't stay late at the office, and when you’re home, try to completely disconnect. Avoid checking your emails. You aren't a machine, capable of correctly assimilating huge amounts of information and being “on fire” all the time. If you want to stay sane during a stressful period, you must recover daily. You can only face the next day's challenges with a rested mind and body. This will help you stay healthy, think more clearly, and be more energetic.
There’s no magic formula to keep you safe from crises or last-minute rush situations. However, if you want to be efficient and balanced all the time, you must know how to assess correctly your priorities and attend first the problems that matter the most. Second, do yourself a favor and automatize the logistics as much as possible. Third, when it comes to communication in critical moments, always choose the phone over the email. Also, be sure to slow down a bit and avoid making mistakes that will require even more work later. Finally, recover on a daily basis to maintain your energy level. Good luck!