One of the most stressful jobs in the world is an event planning

What are the most stressful jobs, you’d guess?

You can probably guess most of them: pilot, firefighter and military personnel.

You might be surprised to learn that the fifth most stressful job is. This is unless you are an event planner.

Event planning was ranked sixth on the list of most stressful jobs globally for the sixth consecutive year. CareerCast ranked “event coordinator”, at #5, on their list for stressful jobs. This is just slightly less stressful than running into burning buildings.

Yikes.

CareerCast employs an 11-point stress factor methodology that ranks each factor on a scale. This allows workers to predict how much stress they will experience in any job. It’s clear why event coordinators are on the list.

Although event planners are not putting out fires, they deal with many potential “disasters”.

We can do better as event coordinators! This is not the list we want to be on. Let’s look at some common stressors and then discuss realistic solutions.

These are the three main stressors that event coordinators need to be aware of and suggest shifts to reduce them.

Stressor: Communication

The coordinator acts as a conduit between the host organization or client, speakers (often VIPs), participants and vendors. The planner must meet all expectations and make sure that the planning process doesn’t become a game of telephone. Stress can creep in. Event planners know that they are responsible for bringing together all the ideas to realize the overall vision. This creates a need for increased organization and vigilance.

Attitude Shift – Communicate Dynamically

Communication can be broken down when expectations are not met. Instead of setting expectations, make co-author agreements before planning begins. To determine responsibilities for each stakeholder, agree on “who’s Who” and work together within your group. Once you have drafted the agreement, could you share it with your vendors and partners? Consider the best way to communicate information or messages, whether via e-mail, phone, or in person. Improve your listening skills, and listen to the truth. The workgroup will be proud of their contribution to the event’s success if they have made collaborative agreements early in the process.

Stressor: Physical Requirements & Deadlines

Planning can take weeks, months or even a whole year. You have walked the space, evaluated the risks and curated the content. You also rehearsed the content and tested your A/V. Now it’s time for you to get rolling.

The coordinator of an event is the main point of contact for the day. These stress factors include being “on” all the time and hyper-vigilance. The biggest contributor to stress is, perhaps, time. Planning is often the most important contributor to a 12-hour workday.

Planners might not be able to eat or sit down during this time.

Attitude Shift – Build Relationships

Dynamic communication is key to building relationships. Gather a group of people who can help you on your event day. Convene offers on-site production and service managers that can be used to extend your event team. You will work smarter, delegate more, build relationships, let people know about the day’s plans, and allow others to help you. You can tag in a volunteer to help you eat lunch. Also, remind yourself to hydrate. Always sit whenever you can.

Stressor: Inner Critics

Event planners can be perfectionists, hyper-achievers or controllers depending on the nature of their role. Planners are meticulous and understand that every detail matters. Planners value these qualities but, if left unchecked, can easily become self-destructive. Planning is about creating a transformational event. If this is our goal, how important are the details? Do you need to adjust the chair by three degrees? Or edit the schedule and reprint it for a minor spacing problem? What are our inner critics, such as perfectionism, hyper-achievement, and hyper-vigilance, doing to us?

Attitude Shift: Develop Self-Awareness

The “Gremlin” is our inner critic, which I refer to as a “Gremlin”. It’s that voice in our heads that keeps us from reaching the heights of greatness. Sometimes, an action, thought or feeling that served us well in the past can become our Kryptonite. Your Gremlin can cause you to behave differently in stressful situations, such as event day. Self-awareness is one of the most important qualities for a leader – build this muscle and kick your inner critic! Whenever we feel stressed, we can ask ourselves: “How am I holding myself back?” or “How does this serve the purpose of the event?” Self-awareness will allow us to make choices in stressful situations.

Make a Change in Your Habits to Avoid Burnout

Burnout is easy with stress. We can have more success and longer careers if we understand the causes of stress at work. It’s a fulfilling, fun, and exciting career in event planning. After all, our business is helping people create memories. 2018 will be the year that event planner attitudes change! Let’s work together to improve our self-awareness and reduce our stress. Wouldn’t it be great to see us on another list?

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