Event planning is not often the easiest of tasks. There’s good reason why the position of event planner is consistently named to the top ten most stressful jobs each year. There are so many moving parts, demands, and unexpected complications that can arise. And through it all you not only have to find viable solutions, you need to ensure you keep your composure and remain gracious to attendees, sponsors, and vendors.
That’s a lot of pressure, and it could really take a toll on you if you aren’t well prepared. One way to decrease the pressure is to set up a strong and well-executed plan for the day of your event. Streamlining your operations will help ensure you’re at your most productive, which in turn will yield brilliant results.
But how do you increase productivity when you’re already feeling stressed and not fully in control of your schedule? These productivity tips will get you on your way. First, save yourself some headaches by implementing the following tasks ahead of time and making them part of your standard operating procedures:
#BE READY FOR SUDDEN CHANGES IN SCHEDULE
- Set expectations early for last-minute changes on behalf of clients and sponsors. Having good communication in place in advance will prevent a headache later.
- Add penalties into vendor contracts for those who don’t deliver or don’t deliver to spec, including those who pull out after a certain date. Make sure everyone is aware of these before signing any agreements.
- Communicate deadlines for all involved including vendors, sponsors, speakers, etc. Reiterate these often.
- Send visual reminder countdowns (image memes) for those who don’t like to read reminder emails.
- Hire a team you feel confident in. A weak link will bring you more stress. In between events, scout out talent and test them on smaller events so you have confidence in them for the larger ones.
Now that you have strong processes in place, let’s move on to what you can do in the time immediately surrounding the event and at the event itself.
#USE LISTS TO STAY ORGANIZED
Using to-do lists is an efficient way to stay organized and understand how everything fits together. You can create lists electronically and share them with your team using project management software or keep them on paper, whatever you enjoy more. We suggest the following types of lists and ways to manage them:
- Create a master to-do list as well as daily check-off lists of things that need to be done leading up to the event.
- Each item should be assigned to someone and the date (or hour) of delivery/completion noted. The day of the event you may decide to break it into hourly or blocks of half hour chunks for greater visibility.
Break down big to-do’s into smaller ones so you can feel more accomplished and less overwhelmed.
Yes, your to-do list will be longer but you’ll move through it faster and may be able to assign smaller tasks to others to accomplish them even quicker.
Rearrange your to-do list based on when things need to be done AND when you’re at your peak performance levels.Some people are morning people; others need some time to get up to speed. Knowing how you perform best is critical to arranging your schedule for optimum performance. However, keep in mind there are many studies that have been done on decision-making later in the day. Avoid it if possible because people tend to make decisions quicker and with less accuracy as the day progresses. Make important decisions early on, morning person or not.
- Keep a list of small to-do’s to fill in when you have a minute in between event tasks.
This is different than your larger to-do list. These are small items that take less than three minutes to accomplish. The list could include something like “Tweet a picture of dessert.” You’d be surprised how many times you have a few minutes at your disposal. With a list like this, every minute can be a productive one.
#EMPLOY EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT AND PRODUCTIVITY SKILLS
Check in with everyone on your team three business days before and again the day before your event to ensure all of your requests have been accommodated.
This includes vendors and speakers. Go through your list. Do not simply ask “Is everything taken care of?” It may seem inconvenient at the moment but it will give you greater peace of mind and will ensure everyone is on the same page before things get hectic.
- Reach out to sponsors a week to three days out and ask them if they need anything.
- Get to their requests that day, if possible.
- Do a walk-through of the venue space.
- Make any final corrections. Note anything that is still outstanding. Assign that to someone on your team to follow up on. Make a note on what needs to be done and what is considered a success and pass that on.
- Delegate without micromanaging.
- Assign someone to watch social media streams so a small issue doesn’t become a big one.
- Batch tasks that are similar or in similar areas and do them all at once.
For instance, if you know you need to check in on the kitchen staff and take a picture of the meal for Instagram, do these things at the same time, even if one is much less important than the other. You’re there anyway and it will improve efficiency because you’re not running back and forth. Do things when you have the time. Don’t postpone tasks.
Don’t put something off just because you think you can. The only block of time you’re assured of is the one you’re in now. When things are hectic or you’re tired, it’s easy to put something off. But with an event, you never know what’s going to happen. You may think tomorrow morning is open and you can slide the “to-do” in there when you’re more rested. But there’s no way of predicting what that spot will look like come tomorrow. If you have the time, do it now. Now is all you have.
#MAINTAIN A GOOD, PRODUCTIVE ATTITUDE
Give yourself a small win early on to build momentum. While many experts suggest tackling your toughest tasks early, and that is important, adding a small, quick task that you know you can finish first thing, allows you to build momentum and feel good about getting something done fast. After that, tackle a tough job but break it into manageable pieces to keep up the momentum. Don’t rent space in your head to doubts about the choices you’ve made.
Move on. Revisiting past decisions can take up a lot of our emotional reserve. Make a decision and let it go. If you need to change the decision, do so for good reason, not because you’ve been dwelling on it and second guessing your original thought.
Remember: completed trumps perfect. In most events, tasks need to be completed. Working on something longer than necessary because you’re trying to get it perfect doesn’t help you or your client. Your client wants completed work, not perfect ideas.
#SMILE, NO MATTER THE PRESSURE
You’ll feel better and so will those around you. While it sounds a little trite, a recent study found that those people who were unable to frown were happier than those who could. So if you want to be happier, consider that what we do with our bodies may have an effect on how we perceive emotions.
LISTEN TO THE ISSUE AT HAND CAREFULLY.
Don’t try to solve it until you understand it. Many people hear a problem and immediately begin searching for solutions before they fully understand the issue at hand and what has been tried. If someone comes to you with a challenge or issue, give them the time they deserve in understanding their side before you propose solutions. If you’re busy thinking of solutions, you could miss the point behind what they’re saying.
Make good use of your time. If you’re working on a printer jam at registration, you can’t be handling the issue with the VIP. Doing tasks that can be passed to others (like the printer) gives the appearance that you are running a one-person show or that you don’t trust your team.
And finally, there are many moving parts when overseeing an event and that doesn’t even cover the pieces you have no control over. Look for ways you can streamline tasks and delegate to become more productive. By doing so, you’ll free up time to handle the challenges that you can’t plan for.
For more useful tips on successful event management, check out our link, https://divriaevents.com/blog/6-critical-event…istakes-to-avoid/ at Divria Event’s official website. Event planning and management made absolutely much easier!