Being an event organizer is one of the most stressful jobs out there today. Between all of the travel, meetings, emails, and phone calls, it can all get very overwhelming. In fact, when polled, 71% of event organizers attending our Stress Edition of Event Insider said they would rate the stress of event planning a seven out of ten or more.
At Whova we understand this. That’s why we do what we do, to help organizers like you successfully manage all of these things, so that all you have to worry about is putting on a great event.
In the latest installment of our Event Insider series of panel discussions, Whova invited event organizers Michelle Stanley and Felicia Elenum to speak about the ways they manage stress when planning an event. Read on to find out how you can too!
Now, you might be wondering, what are some of the top stressors event organizers should be aware of? And how should they be dealt with?
When polled, event organizers attending this edition of our Event Insider series named last minute changes, AV and technology issues, and communication as their biggest stressors when putting on an event. Coincidentally (or maybe not), these were the same stressors that our two speakers named when asked the same question. Let’s take a look at each one and talk about why they can be so stressful.
- Last Minute and Timeline Changes – Changes are inevitable when planning an event. Things are bound to happen – speakers drop out, venues have to be changed, catering falls through, and sometimes dates and times change for reasons outside of your control. It can all be very stressful and disorienting – especially if you don’t have a plan.
Being equipped with a strong plan can help you reduce stress and anxiety when these kinds of things happen. Having a tool like Whova’s Agenda Web Page, which automatically displays new dates and times on your event website, can help you make sure everyone is on the same page and reduce confusion. Whova’s Announcements feature also makes it quick and easy for organizers to notify attendees of last-minute changes such as these!
- Technology – Technology has come a long way, but it’s not infallible. Anyone who deals with it on a daily basis will tell you that. In order to avoid any tech hiccups, like the wifi giving out or your audio system not working properly, it’s important to make sure that the venue you’ve chosen has the appropriate infrastructure to support your tech needs.
- Communication – In order for things to run smoothly, everyone has to be tuned into the same wavelength. It’s really difficult to make an event go as planned without good and clear communication. Poor communication between team members can lead to things being left undone or unfinished, which will result in a poor experience for your attendees. To avoid this, you should make sure that you and your team establish good communication, whatever shape this might take.
Tip #1: Manage Tasks Efficiently
“Being able to know that every task is on the checklist, laid out, and scheduled in a way that will make sure that everything gets done is huge.”
– Felicia Elenum
Having a system in place that allows you to track tasks and progress can help you and your team avoid leaving things undone or half-finished. Stanley and Elenum recommend taking advantage of task manager software, like Monday.com or Asana, that will allow you to assign projects to team members and track their progress.
Maybe you’re not that tech-savvy though, or you just prefer doing things the old-fashioned way. Handwritten checklists can still be an incredibly useful tool. If you’re using an event management platform to plan your event, check and see if they provide you with a checklist, like Whova does. This way, you know what you don’t have to worry about and what still needs to be done.
Whether you choose to use a task management software like Monday.com or Asana or go analog with a good old fashioned written checklist, these tools will only help you if you actually use them. Be proactive and make it a part of your daily or weekly routine to go over your checklists instead of writing it all down and then not actually using it. Consistency is key!
Tip #2: Manage Your Time Wisely
“For me, not procrastinating anything when it comes to an event and doing everything up front when I can is super important.”
– Michelle Stanley
When planning your event, it’s only natural that you would want to get things done as quickly as possible. It’s important to remember that you need to be realistic about how much time you give both yourself and your team to complete your tasks.
Giving yourself and your team a buffer can help you mitigate unexpected delays. If something needs to be done in seven days, ask yourself if you can give yourself an extra couple of days, in case something goes wrong. Another tactic you could try is giving yourself seven days to complete something that actually needs to be done in ten days.
Tip #3: Have a Back-Up Plan
“Because my two stressors are always technology and communication, I always have tech support [staff members] logged in.”
– Michelle Stanley
It’s impossible to anticipate every single thing that can go wrong, but having a strong back-up plan will reduce the likelihood of things going too far off the rails. Here’s a couple of ways you can prepare for unexpected problems:
- Audio-Visual Tech Support – If you know you’ll be dealing with a lot of technology, like live streaming, slide shows, or audio equipment, make sure you have a dependable team for audio-visual support ready to go.
- General Attendee Support – Having dedicated general support members in your staff can take a great burden off of your shoulders. They can help monitor social media and email to help attendees with any questions they may have about the event or event app, as well as assist in-person attendees.
Tip #4: Establish Work-Life Balance
“The biggest change I made in my working life was to turn all notifications off on my phone, so that when I log off from work, I am done working.”
– Felicia Elenum
Establishing healthy boundaries between your work and personal lives can help you greatly reduce stress levels. It can be a difficult challenge figuring out how to do this, especially when you’re passionate about what you do for a living.
Logging Off From Work – A simple way to begin establishing these boundaries is to log off from work. There are exceptions, but generally, it’s a good idea to turn all work-related notifications and devices off after you’ve clocked out for the day. If there is anything that is truly urgent, your team or coworkers will find other ways to contact you, but for the most part, you shouldn’t be stressing about work on your time off.
Keeping a Daily Routine – Keeping with your daily routine can be another great way to help you stay grounded. Doing small things regularly like working out three times a week, making your bed every day, or even just journaling a couple times a week can really help. It’s important to engage with hobbies and interests that aren’t work related; they’ll keep your mind off of work during non-work hours.
Staying on Top of Tasks – Lastly, staying on top of your tasks and assignments during work hours can make a huge difference. We’ve already given you some tips on how to do this, but it can’t be emphasized enough. Efficiently managing your tasks on the clock will mean you won’t have to think about that project you left unfinished or that email you forgot to send, and you’ll be able to actually relax.
Obtain the Right Tools for the Job
The best event organizers know that they can’t do it all alone. They know that having the correct set of tools at your disposal can make the difference between a smooth, worry-free event planning experience and a messy, headache-inducing one. An event planning platform such as Whova with features like an award-winning mobile event app, an easy-to-use registration system, and powerful event marketing tools all in one place can be a great tool to help you reduce stress in your next event!
Request a free demo now to see what else Whova can do for you!