While everything has changed for everyone, one thing has remained the same: event planners are still expected to deliver outcomes that meet – or exceed – pre-pandemic event goals.
It’s quintessential “do more with less.”
Let’s start with event planners, who, by nature, adapt and thrive no matter the event situation. There are so many new factors to consider when planning: more in-depth health and safety plans, planning for hybrid situations, revenue pressures (whether from decreased corporate budgets, less sponsor dollars, or lower registration revenue), staffing shortages, intense competition for dates and space, just to name a few.
The internal teams working with planners aren’t exempt either. In addition to doing everything they used to do to support events, the new tasks include things like DIY-ing your event app, handling marketing or PR internally instead of partnering with an agency, ensuring strict brand compliance, managing a myriad of unfamiliar IT security requirements for your virtual event components or app, and less people available to travel to serve as event staff and hosts.
Venues? The issues we see in headlines every day (skyrocketing prices and staffing shortages) are amplified for venues who rely on world-class food/beverage offerings and staffing levels to differentiate and compete for business. Margins can be razor-thin and executing successful events takes a significant amount of people. Venues are also coping with sky-high demand and requests for space. It’s not uncommon to spend all day responding to dozens of inquiries, and then hear nothing because planners are so overwhelmed.
Everyone who is part of the event lifecycle is under pressure and we are behaving differently to adapt to our new reality. It’s easy to respond to this difference with the perception that the behavior is some sort of personal affront (which only serves to add unnecessary stress to the process). But, the only path to accomplishing the seemingly impossible task of meeting or exceeding pre-pandemic goals begins with remembering that everyone on the team is doing their absolute best.
We are living in a new professional reality and it is incumbent on all of us to understand that and work together – differently – to achieve the goal. Here are 4 ideas to keep yourself grounded in that understanding:
- Manage your own stress so you don’t dump it on others. If you are having a day where you really do need to unload your stress on someone else, be upfront. Saying something like “I know that I’m not being fair to you right now and I’m adding unneeded stress, but I’m struggling and I need your help” can go a long way.
- Celebrate successes, no matter how small. If we only focus on the challenges and undone tasks, our brains never get a break and go into overload. Find the moments in the day to celebrate something as simple as remembering to take a 2 minute break or finishing one part of a larger task.
- Ask for feedback. In a time where everything is changing, it’s the perfect opportunity to ask a colleague if they still need you to do that thing that you absolutely dread and takes a ridiculous amount of time. You may be surprised to learn that it’s not actually helpful for them, and they are so stressed that they didn’t think about telling you that unsolicited.
- Recognize the effort. Everyone on the event team is rocking it and doing their best to thrive in this new reality. Taking 60 seconds to tell someone that you see their effort and appreciate them helps them recharge.
What are simple things you do to lighten the load and keep your team energized?