Every Event is Like Building a Puzzle

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Galleria Congress Hotel
Svetlana Gavric, Event Manager at SEEmice.com
Svetlana Gavric, Event Manager at SEEmice.com

It’s true that event planning is perceived as very appealing, interesting, and dynamic. Which it most certainly is. Always being around many people and communicating with them, creativity, innovation, and frequent travels are a given.

What else does this line of work hold and entail? Our questions were answered by Svetlana
Gavrić, a proven professional in the fi eld and Event Manager at SEEmice.com.

How long have you been an event manager?

I’ve been with the seemice.com team for seven years now, so I can say that I have been in the MICE industry all these years. At the very start, my job was focused on communicating with corporate clients and presenting the website. However, soon those clients began to recognize us as a reliable service and aide in event planning, and I started my work as an event manager.

What do preparations for an event look like in general?

The first step is the client’s brief – which can mean either just a few information or detailed requests that, naturally, make the planning easier. At that point we start to build the puzzle ☺. It’s best to defi ne everything at the outset, go into the tiniest detail, cover all the an gles, and anticipate a few steps ahe ad that can go in one direction or another.

Once we outline the brief, we contact suppliers – hotels, venues, restaurants, transport companies, specialized agencies for team building, translation agencies, technical support, guides and hostesses, etc., which send us offers, responses, and options, letting us know what they can do. That’s when our puzzle starts to take shape, and we start to fi ll in the gaps. Sometimes we lose a piece, replace it with another (a better or alternative one), and keep going until the event takes its final shape.

Although the planning is the most demanding part that requires the most eff ort, there is
a lot of work until the very end to keep all our puzzle pieces locked together, each one in its place. By WE, I mean the client on one end and me and the entire team on the other. WE are all on the same side with a common goal – which is a successful event.

What are the things that make an event successful?

Everything! Virtually every item – even the smallest one – can have an effect and call a seamlessly planned event into question. One basic rule stands out in my line of work: professional relationships with all stakeholders, all the people involved in an event. It is
crucial to have fair relationships and mutual respect, and trust that everyone will do their part according to plan. Event managers are the link that connects it all and keep the situation under control, but they can’t do anything on their own.

Can you give us an example of an unexpected situation at an event and explain how you resolved it?

Unexpected situations are exactly that – unexpected, but if I think five steps ahead and consider every possible scenario, we can minimize potential issues, and that’s the goal.
I can cite a situation that happened last year, when one of the vehicles with the attendees
who were going to the event broke down. A reliable and professional supplier with a proven
track record, but it just happened that the vehicle broke down.

Some would say it’s not a big deal, these things can happen. But those who found themselves in this particular situation were not so understanding. At one point we had calls coming in from all sides, ten texts per second, and a huge amount of questions and cross-questions. The pressure from the participants and the client then exceeds the issue itself
and takes priority, which you have to cope with, while at the same time solving the problem on the logistics side.

You solve the situation by sending a new vehicle, which of course takes some time. Not many minutes pass, but to you it seems like eternity, and the level of stress and number of calls are growing rapidly. To me this was an actual example and a lesson on overcoming
my own stress, absorbing the client’s stress, and calmly resolving the situation with a cool head as quickly as possible. However, I most certainly always invest great efforts to make sure to provide for every contingency.

What are your thoughts on the research that shows that the job of event manager is among the most stressful ones? How do you deal with stress?

I absolutely agree! As I mentioned in the example above, you are caught in a double line of fire between the client and the suppliers. So we can multiply the level of stress by three. I often see stress as an integral part of work / life, and not as an excuse for everything that I can’t do or make time for. If I accept stress as a challenge, I try to overcome it with a positive attitude from the very start.

Sometimes it can be interesting to see how everything can be done with a little will and perseverance. Of course, knowing yourself and your limits is essential – how much I can stand, how much further I can push beyond my limits, and when the time to ask for help is. Of course, my instant first aid in these ordeals are candies ☺ and a smile, I take it from there.

In your opinion, how much are personal traits important in this job? Is this something that can be taught or it simply takes a certain type of personality?

One thing I am sure about is that in most cases it’s the personality. You can learn the basics, but given what this job requires, you have to really love it and, as they say, be born for planning to go a step further than the average. As for personal traits, I would maybe point out a few such as being organized, resourceful, and quick to respond, as well as able to multitask, which is not really in male’s nature ☺. You have to be confident about yourself and the decisions that you often need to make on the spot at the event.

What do you like most about your job?

The dynamics! The madness that gets my juices flowing! And of course that feeling in the end when everyone is happy, my body is worn out, and I could still run a marathon.

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