Event Planning Tips: Keeping Your Cool Under Pressure

Keep CalmThe Cvent Event Blog has previously explored the stress that event planners face. It is unlikely that this will change any time soon. A related challenge is keeping your cool under pressure to avoid straining client relations. Constantly reaching the boiling point will also jeopardize your health.

Prevention:

  1. Pinpoint your triggers.
    We all have them. Last-minute or frequent changes frustrate many event planners. Others find it a challenge to manage relationships with indecisive individuals. For me, it's dealing with backbiting and gossip, especially when ample opportunity has been provided to offer constructive feedback directly.
     
  2. Keep a journal.
    This may help you identify patterns.
     
  3. Take steps to minimize the frequency with which triggers occur.
    It may mean setting up a final review date closer to the event or proactively reaching out to people to obtain feedback instead of waiting for them to come to you.
     
  4. Build regular breaks into your schedule.
    People used to take daily "coffee breaks" for a reason but now skipping lunch, the working lunch and grabbing a bite at one's desk while we continue to work is the order of the day. Give yourself a break during the day. Be sure to take regular vacation breaks, too, since traveling for business or planning an event at an exotic location is not a substitute for breaks.
     
  5. Re-build some of your most pleasurable activities into your schedule.
    This is a release valve from which many event planners can benefit.
     
  6. Try that new hobby or family activity that interests.
    Stephen Covey's principle, "put the rocks in first," really does work.
     

When Pressure Hits:

  1. Put yourself in time-out.
    Time-out is a strategy that parents use with children who are having meltdowns. Give yourself permission to hit the pause button. This may involve calling an unscheduled break in a meeting that you're chairing or facilitating, taking a walk around the block or doing some deep breathing in some nearby green space.
     
  2. Get your thoughts down on paper.
    This could involve giving meeting participants time to jot down concerns and possible solutions before sharing them with the group.
     
  3. Use "I-statements" to express your point of view and avoid attacking.
     
  4. Use analytical or brainstorming tools to fully assess the situation.
    This will help you view the situation more objectively.
     
  5. Focus on the issue or situation, not the person.
    This AchieveGlobal principle is helpful when addressing situations of concern or responding constructively when you are under attack.
     

Recovery:

  1. Take a "vacation break."
    When I was a full-time employee, I used to keep videos of beautiful destinations in my drawer. One technique I found helpful to recover from a stressful meeting was to pop one in the VCR. I started to use the videos for breaks during training and team building session breaks. They became one of my trademarks. Destinations on Tape is no more but many relaxing videos are available on YouTube or Vimeo.
     
  2. Try progressive relaxation and visualization.

    There is no time like the present. Try it now.

  3. Schedule a Spa Day or afternoon tea after a hectic event.
    A cup of tea works wonders. Massages are miraculous.
     
  4. Come to terms with the fact that there are situations over which we have no control...but pray things change.
     
  5. When something stops being fun, it may be time for a change.
     
  6. Finally, put things in perspective.
    There is something about a visit to an old neighborhood or place of employment to remind you that nothing lasts forever and few situations are life and death. This realization alone can help you keep your cool under pressure.

For more tips on keeping your cool, read Event Planning: 6 Strategies for Dealing with Difficult Clients and 6 Tips to Help Event Teams Play Nice in the Sandbox.

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