Keep your head to keep your event on track

Event manager was recently noted as the fifth most stressful job in the world. Claire Eason-Bassett, executive producer at Mackerel Sky Events, shares her top tips for minimising the stress and delivering great events.

1. Look after yourself – if you go down, the whole project wobbles so make sure you get enough sleep, that you eat properly, that you make sure the rest of life (for me that’s making sure that childcare is in place, that there is food in the fridge and that the dog gets walked) is organised.

2. Plan, plan and plan again – plan your time in the development stages, plan the event itself in terms of the content and operations, and plan for the worst case scenario. Then you know exactly what resources you have to play with in order to solve the problem and the client will never know there was an issue.

3. Go team! – event management is a team game. Build a network of support around you and make sure you communicate effectively with all the relevant people to make the event work. Keep essential phone numbers to hand and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Make friends with the most useful people who will help you make it happen – the cleaning team, caretakers, site crew, telehandler drivers… And if you have Event HelpDesk membership, make sure you use it!

4. Travel light – keep your kit to a minimum. A spare set of clothes, a spare set of shoes (heels if it’s a smart do), torch, first aid kit, lip balm, power pack, chargers, bottle of water, clipboard with all your paperwork, envelope for receipts/invoices/delivery paperwork, and trousers with a belt and pockets, so if you have to carry a radio, it can sit on your waist, not in your hands.

5. Know what you are trying to achieve – keep focused on the ‘why’ of the event. Understanding the aims and the intended impacts is important in being able to make decisions effectively so that everything to do with the

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event is working in the right direction. This maximises the likelihood of achieving those aims and it gives a clear rationale for how you want to run it.

6. Share effectively – not everyone needs to know everything so think about who needs to know what in advance. Then you can share relevant information in a format that is effective for the person receiving it. Make sure they know they can always ask for more information or detail if they want but that they have everything they need to do their job.

7. Know when to stop with the ideas – there is a point in every event project where new ideas stop being helpful. Or interesting. Or useful. Recognise when the time comes that you just need to plan and focus on the detail. Note the new ideas so you can use them another time.

8. Don’t forget to clear up – as the responsible person for an event, we need to make sure that we see it through to the end. Not just the physical tidying and clearing of the space but also the project evaluation and financial reconciliation that are vital parts of whether the event(s) will continue into the future.

9. Know when to get help –we all have limitations and, whilst I think I would quite like to be superwoman, I know I am not. We simply cannot do everything all the time and so there are times when we need help, input,information or a cup of tea. It’s ok to ask for help and is a great example to set to the team in recognising that not one of us has all the answers. I know that we create better solutions to problems when we work on it together than if I try and solve it all by myself.


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