Event Management – how to deal with the stress…

Over the last few years, numerous surveys have been carried out which consistently show that being an Event Manager or Coordinator is one of the most stressful jobs around.  It has ranked around 5th in most surveys, only below jobs which would be expected such as military personnel, police officer, firefighter and airline pilot.

CareerCast in their survey claimed that the stress was due mainly to having to ‘reconciling a client’s vision with a successful end result’.  It added that ‘bringing together ideas and turning them into a functioning, large-scale event takes an unflappable professional’.  Some from outside the industry suggest that the constant entertainment, free parties, champagne and canapes can somewhat offset the stress but this is not fully understanding the breadth and scope of the Event Managers’ role leading some 83% of event managers to state that they believe stress to be a significant problem within the sector.

It could be said that the very skills which make an Event Manager great at their job are be the same skills which cause that stress.  Their attention to detail and passion for perfection could in fact be their most useful characteristics whilst also causing their biggest problems.

Kelly Baker, former president of ISES UK is aware of the pressure.  “The event industry is infamous for being inherently stressful, no matter what level of seniority you’re at.” she comments.  “Possibly the largest problem is that you can be immersed in one event with the next three coming over the horizon.  It demands that those working in events are permanently on the ball and flexible to ever changing demands”.

But there is plenty we can do to alleviate the stress caused by our jobs (although sometimes it feels like more than just a job). Sir Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University, says taking the time to prioritise your to-do list can make even the most stressful deadlines seem easier. “Look at your in-tray and say to yourself ‘What do I really have to do?'” he suggests. “For an event manager, this could mean asking yourself what comes first: dates, venues, speakers and so on. It’s important that you don’t try to handle this all at once – and don’t get diverted by other tasks.”  Seeing a doctor might also be useful with treatments such as hypnotherapy and meditation working well for those who believe in them.

The first step is to recognise that there is a problem; it’s important to know what the signs of stress are.  Each person feels the affect of stress differently but common symptoms are fatigue, lack of sleep, muscle tension and headaches, loss of interest in work and/or social life.  The ‘fix’ to some of these might seems simple but often it’s easier said than done.  That said, a simple change of diet, exercise and sleep can work wonders.  It’s also important to talk about these problems; start with your line manager.  They might be best placed to help identify where the Event Manager is feeling stressed when that perhaps does not need to be the case and also where work load might be able to be delegated.  Of course the key to feeling less stressed is to remember that we love this job, we do it because it’s our passion and we love the look on a client’s face when everything is perfect.

Start at the beginning… Change those things that are in your power to change and outsource the tasks that you don’t personally need to oversee.  A great place to start is your audio visual requirements and Present Communications want to help by taking just a little of your stress away.  If you are an event manager, please sign up to our newsletter on the right and we’ll make sure to send you a little gift as a thank you for reading our article.