Stress Management for Event and Meeting Planners

 By: Erika Trimble
Are you living your life controlled by the tyranny of the urgent?

The work of event and meeting planners may be considered either stressful or energizing, depending on how well you handle the fast paced and demanding environment of these industries.

In my research, I found that some of the biggest stress factors in any event and meeting planner's job include:

* Juggling workload

* Saying "no" when too many programs are going on at a time

* Clients leaving things to the last minute

* Suppliers responding in a timely fashion

* Balancing one client over another

* Finding staff resources at the last minute

* Managing clients expectations

* Needing more time!

In my work as a business coach and entrepreneur, I discovered the nine most common stress relievers, which can be effectively used to create a balanced and more enjoyable life for event and meeting planners.

1. Relieve stress with exercise. I now imagine you saying you just don't have the time to fit it in. Bear with me here.

Let's look at a specific example you can relate to. The first thing most planners do when presented with a new proposal is break it down into different components and create timelines for each component. You can do the same for this stress relieving strategy - create time for exercise and build it into your weekly schedule. One way some planners do this is enroll in a class at a defined time, while other planners calendar in their fitness each week along with their other commitments.

You will have more energy, a brighter mind, and more creative problem solving.

2. Take breaks to think and take stock of your situation. When you do this you will be able to assess what is truly critical in the moment and reorient yourself to concentrating your energy where you are most effective. As planners you will always have multiple and minute details to consider in creating the perfect event or meeting. Rather than just getting through what is directly in front of you, take the time to manage your time.

3. Take small periods of silence and solitude during the day, especially when you feel overwhelmed with problems and responsibilities. Feeling overwhelmed is not an uncommon feeling for planners. When you take even five minutes of solitude at such times, you will be amazed how your ideas flow and how the answers to your questions pop up.

4. Develop a long term perspective by taking the future into consideration with every decision you make in the present. Then do more things that have greater long-term value to you and your business. Whether you are a planner working for a company or own your own business, your daily priorities are the same: move the company forward, increase profitability, build strong relationships, attract new customers, and bring value and good service to existing clients.

5. Manage unexpected demands. I recognize that it is not always possible to organize your work to minimize surprises and problems as a planner, in spite of your best efforts. You can control your response to an unexpected demand by determining how you will accommodate it, and when you will accommodate it. Sometimes clients simply want to know they have been heard and their request will be taken care of.

6. Become a student of time management. Take tips from the time management guru's on how to increase your consciousness about your habits, and develop the skills to better manage yourself. Commitment to time management is a commitment to being more successful.

7. Take charge - everything you are, or ever will be, is entirely up to you. While there will always be days in the life of a planner when it may be necessary to work long hours to meet a time crunch, these times ought to be the exception rather than the rule. If you find yourself always racing to meet deadlines, it is a clear sign that you need to look at how you are managing your activities and your time.

8. Simplify by asking yourself several times in a day how you can simplify a situation or make your day easier. We tend to see things in the most complex way, and you'll be surprised at the power in thinking of ways to make your life easier.

9. Remember how you want to be perceived personally and professionally. Is this as a frantic, chaotic person, or someone in charge who is a great problem-solver? Your coworkers, industry peers, suppliers, and clients can, and will, hold you accountable for how you spend your time.

As simple as these strategies for stress management are, they are truly remarkable in their results.

Copyright 2006 Erika Trimble
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