Kinetic Software blog
Managing Event and Conference Planning Stress
One thing that is stressed on a regular basis in this industry is well, stress. Event and conference planning is a stressful job, as is evident by this recent article http://www.careercast.com/jobs-rated/10-most-stressful-jobs-2012, event management ranks just below such high stress careers as soldier, police officer and firefighter. There is also a plethora of advice on managing stress in the midst of an event or conference. Still, a reminder of some tried and true methods for coping with the everyday ups and downs never hurts. Here is a quick list:
1. Try to eat and sleep right – This advice is number one because it is perhaps the hardest thing to do during an event or conference. How many times do you find yourself grazing off of one of the catering carts or waking up at 4 am with the day’s tasks swirling in your head? The key here is to try. Be an opportunist. When you can sit down to a nutritious meal, take the time for it. And don’t turn off the alarm and get the coffee rolling at 4 am, sleep some more.
2. Exercise – If you just can’t get back to sleep, exercise instead. Even if all you can manage is a short walk around the block while you nurse the morning’s java. Exercise has an amazing effect on the brain. A short burst of endorphins goes a long way toward settling anxiety. Skip the golf cart shuttle and jog across the campus when you can.
3. Laugh – At the risk of sounding cliché, laughter is truly good medicine. There is often no better time than when things have gone terribly, horribly wrong to laugh it off. You’ve been there, when you can’t imagine what could possibly happen next to add more stress to your event or conference, and the fire alarm sounds and the sprinkler system goes off on your guests.
4. Connect with others and share your troubles – Talk to another person when you are feeling stress. The simple act of sharing your disquiet will help dissipate its effect on you.
5. Music – Music soothes the savage beast, especially the one running roughshod in your head while you are trying to do the ten things that need to be attended to immediately. Soft music, playing in the background can sometimes help center your thinking and allow you to concentrate on the tasks at hand in a more organized, less frantic state.
6. Keep things in perspective – A friend of mine once offered this advice when evaluating a mistake; “Is anyone going to be harmed by your error?” In the case of serving up a peanut laced dessert to someone with a severe allergy the answer is yes, but most instances are not that dire. The fact that the catering department brought the crab stuffed mushrooms instead of the Maryland crabcake hors d’oeuvres you ordered is not life threatening. Try and remember that when you are enduring an angry tirade. Apologize, move on and most importantly, don’t take it personally.
7. Take time out for yourself – The last and most important bit of advice is also about taking care of you first. Event and conference management is difficult work. Multi-tasking, wearing 10 hats during the event, being on your feet all day; if you are not in a good spot the task becomes even harder. You’d be surprised at what a simple act such as taking five minutes to walk to the local coffee shop for an iced coffee during the summer heat can do to get you back on track. Step away from the chaos for a brief moment when you can and refresh.
Event and conference management is a high stress/high demand occupation. During the busiest time of year it is important to keep on top of managing stress. This list can be a reminder of the simple things you can try everyday to make sure the stress doesn’t manage to overwhelm you.
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