Event Management, or Stress Management?

Event Management, or Stress Management?

Each day Event Planners make a passionate attempt to manage their client’s creative vision.

Delivering an event without a hitch and to the highest of standards, all the while ensuring event goers have a flawless experience, can prove to be a stressful ordeal. But only if you let the tight deadlines, floor plans, sponsorships, bump ins and bump outs (need I go further?) take over your cool.

What is it then that drives an Event Planner in a usually stressful environment? Why do they do what they do? What gets them back in the office every morning ready to quench their creative juices on someone else’s soiree? It’s a common question budding event co-ordinators ask. It’s a question we sometimes ask ourselves too!

But the overarching question here is; can you train someone’s character to fit the bill, or does stress management need to be in their DNA?

Either way, the trait is universally sought after for the job. Leading American job site Career Cast rank the role of an Events Coordinator in the top ten most stressful jobs in the USA. It’s the first occupation behind the super humans who take on personal danger as part of their job. The Top 10 list looks like this;

          1. Enlisted Military Personnel
          2. Firefighter
          3. Airline Pilot
          4. Police Officer
          5. Event Co-ordinator
          6. Public Relations
          7. Senior Corporate Executive
          8. Broadcaster
          9. Newspaper Reporter
          10. Taxi Driver

    With that in mind, Jobs Rated Methodology group stress into 11 factors: travel, deadlines, working in the public eye, competitiveness, physical demands, environmental conditions, hazards encountered, the life of oneself or others at risk, meeting and interacting with customers and/or the public, and the potential for job growth. It could almost be mistaken for the opening lines of an Event Planners job description.

    So much of the job is about the ability to manage stressful and unpredictable situations. Some believe this inherent trait is just as important as learned skills. When recruiting for Hunter Valley Events we don’t screen for previous experience in the 000 call centre, but look for a highly organised person who can juggle the general public, clients, staff, and suppliers, with a problem solving intuition and a smile on their face.

    The report goes on to say “reconciling a client’s vision with a successful end-result is one of the stressful elements of working in event coordination. Bringing together ideas and turning them into a functioning, large-scale event takes an unflappable professional…Event Planners deal in emotion, so you have to be the calming force in the room.”

    So in championing all those Event Planners out there who are currently smashing it out for their valued clients or company, HVE have penned what we believe to be the most valued Top 10 DNA’s of an Event Planner:

            1. Nerves of steel
            2. Creative ideas machine
            3. Patience of a saint
            4. A calming force
            5. Thick skinned and broad shoulders
            6. Sticklers for detail
            7. Relationship builder (and sometimes Matchmaker)
            8. To-do-list fanatic
            9. Crystal ball gazer
            10. Head – and Bean counter
              And…The bladder of a camel

        Can you train someone to handle the stress involved in Event Management?  We strongly believe that if there are traces of stress management characteristics in your DNA, with some formal event education and on-the job mentoring, there is definitely great potential for cloning!

        What’s in your DNA as an event organiser?

  • Louise Harrison
    Posted at 22:03h, 16 March Reply

    Love this article. I am a veteran event manager of 28+ years in the UK, the US and here in Australia. I am also a certified Executive Coach and in the process of getting my Stress Management Practitioner certification. I am passionate about addressing these issues in the event management industry. I have seen so many good people leave the industry because of stress. Let’s fix this!!

    • HVE
      Posted at 00:53h, 17 March Reply

      Glad you enjoyed the article Louise, it has indeed been written from my last 25 years of industry experience… a testament to the fact that stress can be managed, along side job satisfaction and being in for long haul (spoken from a fellow veteran). Louise Maher.

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