by Samantha Hoffer, metroConnections
• Proactive initiatives to help keep you calm
• Learn to say "no"
• Make time for a break
In the introduction to Guide to Less Stress in the Winter 2016 issue of Midwest Meetings® magazine, we recognized that even the most organized event coordinator may struggle to manage their stress effectively from time to time, but there are specific ways to handle the strain of the job that make it ultimately rewarding, both personally and professionally.
The best way to prevent potential stressors down the road is to prepare up front. Before you jump into things, break down the entire event and create a to-do list. Because each client and event are different, an organized to-do list is a valuable tool to help coordinators strategize from start to finish, as well as grasp the scope of the event. This list will also help with delegating tasks to team members, another way to avoid becoming overwhelmed and stressed out.
Another useful tactic is creating a timeline, which may seem like an obvious part of the planning process. Successful event coordinators utilize timelines to ensure that all decisions are made on time, all deadlines are met, and the possibility of procrastination is eliminated. Be realistic about what can be achieved within that timeframe, and try to maintain reasonable expectations of your own personal capabilities.
Last — and most important of the pre-planning process — communication with clients, venues, vendors, and team members must begin as close to the start of the planning process as possible. The earlier conversations are held, the less likely it is that you’ll have missed deadlines or unanswered questions.
Once the event is underway, continue to follow your to-do list and timeline. Check off the most tedious or unpleasant items on the to-do list first, if possible; this will prevent procrastination.
Keep Calm and Plan On
Even if you have followed your timeline impeccably and dutifully checked off items on your to-do list, sometimes things beyond a planner’s control go awry and create stressful situations. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the pressure, so be prepared to find ways to mitigate stress and tension both at home and in the office.
The demands of the job can pop up at any point throughout the day (or night), so it should be a priority to create a healthy work-life balance; a happy coordinator is a successful one. When it’s time to leave work for the day, try to actually leave work – turn off phone alerts for job-related emails, at least for a few hours, to give yourself time to unwind. An event coordinator that is always on call may intend to excel at their job, but when your personal life suffers, it can have a negative influence on your work life. Eating healthy, exercising, and enjoying hobbies are great ways to maintain a healthy body and mind, making you more resistant to stress itself and its effects on your life.
It’s not as easy to escape the pressure of work when you’re in the office or onsite, but there are ways to handle stress there as well. Bonding with team members in and outside of work is vital; creating tight relationships with coworkers makes it easier to turn to someone for support, advice, or help. Another stress-buster is assisting with events that other coordinators are working on – it may seem counterintuitive to add more to your plate, but it provides good experience, builds knowledge, and fosters relationships that can be relied on for future events.
A lot of people take pride in working through their lunch hour or eating at their desk, thinking it makes them look productive. However, taking a lunch break – and other small breaks throughout the workday – can help manage your stress. Finding a separate space to eat and interact with other team members on break is a simple way to give yourself a mental break and provides a bit of rejuvenation for the rest of the day.
Like those folks who think skipping lunch makes them a hard worker, there are people who think that taking on every task handed to them makes them a good team player. Learning to say “no” is a valuable skill to have, and it’s particularly helpful when the work begins to pile up. There are only so many hours in a day, and if adding one more item to a to-do list ends up being the straw that breaks the camel’s back, just say “no.” At a certain point, the quality of your work will go down if the quantity goes up.
Read more in Guide to Less Stress - Part 3 coming soon!
Samantha Hoffer began as a coordinator in the Event Services division at metroConnections in March of 2012. Specializing in teambuilding and event décor, Samantha is part of the event process from start to finish. In her current role as Senior Program Manager, she focuses on researching ideas for proposals, formulating contracts, handling budgets and financials, coordinating all logistics, and managing onsite – all while ensuring client’s expectations are exceeded. Samantha is dedicated to bringing the client’s vision to life, creating a fun and seamless event experience.