Did you know that the job of event manager / planner – according to numerous annual surveys related to stressful jobs – always ends up in the top ten? What’s more, over the last five years it’s been rapidly climbing these lists, and the latest surveys show that this line of work comes in fifth – right behind soldiers, generals, firefighters, and pilots.
Careercast.com has developed a special rating method that points out to different specifics of certain job groups – whose common denominator is stress. Further each of these specifics is considered on its own: is the job physically demanding, does it require frequent travel, is there room for advancement, are there deadlines, does it involve the public, does it pose risks to the lives of the person doing it or other people, does it involve competition, and is it subject to any outside factors, for example those dictated by the environment.
You’ll agree that the result is not surprising – event management professionals come in fifth.
If you’re involved in event management – either directly or indirectly – don’t let the statistics scare you. Remember that despite all the effort, hard work, and planning, you can’t have everything under control always.
Being a professional in this business doesn’t necessarily mean that you must predict every possible issue or complication every time something comes up at an event you planned. Being a professional means that you accept the fact that this isn’t always possible. In our line of work, the first lesson is that which pertains to reducing stress. The quicker you accept it, the more time you’ll have to react when the situation requires a quick response!
Let’s consider the following situation: the event is about to start, and someone spilled a drink over the middle area of the carpet in the conference room, right in front of the stage. This is something you most definitely did not plan for could have done anything about. At this point,for starters, the single most important thing is that you take a deep breath, normalize your heartbeat as much as possible, completely eliminate the stress that – without a doubt – must be overwhelming, and start resolving the issue before the attendees enter the room.
For example, you could move a plant to the spot on the carpet. The more level headed you are, the more quickly the solution will emerge. Skills to understand can be helpful in this case and You can read about them in the article Develop a Skill to Understand Yourself and Others.
Lesson number two pertains to your smile. Never drop your smile in front of your client. The reasoning behind this is simple and backed by science – people who smile a lot experience evidently lower stress levels thanks to two happiness hormones: serotonin and endorphins.
Science has proven that even what we call a fake smile can sooths us and help
us relax when in stressful or tense situations. Not mention another very important benefit of smiling – it makes all your attendees (including your client) feel secure and safe, trusting
that you have the situation under your control no matter what. Indeed, this is your job exactly.
It’s interesting that in Western countries there are forms of smile therapy used in treating stress. It is crucial that you never ever lose your nerve. And you’ll agree that this isn’t always easy and simple. However, if we look at this from a different perspective, should this happen to you, you could be well on your way to ruining the entire event you worked so hard and diligent on. When a situation arises that indicates a catastrophe, always ask yourself this: “What’s the worst that could happen?” The event is already underway, so you can’t really stop it. Stay calm and quickly deal with your priorities. Separate the „urgent” from the „important” and get down to it.
If your calmly and politely speaking to the person who should help or assist you in resolving the situation is futile, be even more polite and ask that person to call another coworker or a superior to continue your communication. Including new people in the conversation almost always leads to solutions. Next on our advice list is people management. If you want to be overcoming obstacles and unforeseen situations on your own – without any help or assistance from others – we must tell you that this just isn’t possible. This job mandates teamwork regardless of you being the individual in charge of the event planning itself.
So if any segment goes wrong, or if the event is heading toward a direction that was not planned for, it is important to have people on your team whom you can rely on. In these situations, the people supporting you should be dealing with the participants – in line with
the instructions they received from you – while you’re troubleshooting the problem. Stress levels decrease very quickly when you know that there’s someone close by who will assist you and keep everything in connection with the participants under control.
Finally, perhaps the most important advice of all mentioned to help you lower your stress level as much as possible – be self-critical. Acknowledge and embrace all your faults and virtues. Remember that you – if you are honest to yourself – are the only person who really knows if everything at an event you planned went well and if there were any omissions. And even if there were, don’t deny them. Analyze each one and learn from them. What led to the situation that made you lose your nerve? Or be in a bad mood? Maybe you were under stress because you kept thinking about the possible unforeseen situations that never even came about?
If you adopt this attitude and have an open mind, you won’t repeat the same mistakes next time. Determine whether your behavior has a pattern in these situations. If the answer to this question is yes, change your approach.
Despite the fact from the beginning of this article stating that the event manager profession is one of the five most stressful jobs, there are countless methods that you can use to eliminate stress entirely or – if that’s not possible – then at least reduce it to a reasonable level. Change the things you can change – one of them being the way you deal with stress. Try to always be prepared, take breaks whenever possible, set realistic expectations of what you are doing, and in turn this will help you lead a healthier life.
The more attention you give to these things, the more you will realize that the stress you feel when planning events is lower, and each next step goes better than the last. We also believe that changing mind of perspective can be very helpful, and more on this subject read in article Yoga as a Way of Life. So breathe in fresh air, believe in yourself and your planning and organizational skills, work on them every day and modify them to different situations, and your mind and your event will be grateful in the end!