The summer time is the time of the year for many trade fair and congress managers where next to no events take place and we have time to breathe out a bit. Time to reflect on how to best fit to everything in. But do the usual work-life balance approaches fit the hectic events world?
Fewer topics are discussed more intensively than that of balancing business and private affairs, better known as the work-life balance. This applies of course particularly to the events industry where we are constantly under deadline pressure and multitasking is part of the daily agenda.
Amazon alone has over 400 results pages full of guides on work-life balance! These include titles such as Stop Living Your Job, Start Living Your Life, How to Have a Good Day and The End of Work-Life-Balance.
Plenty of work then for someone who wants to fight their way through this jungle of information to find a suitable concept. Is there even one for us event managers?
What actually makes the event manager job so stressful? Is it even stressful at all?
For those starting up in the event business, it’s wise to register quickly what counts. Event managers are always working towards deadlines – these are not to be postponed! In a normal 9-to-5 job format, lots of things simply just can’t be done, particularly when organizing international events covering several time zones.
What’s more, when event people in the trade fair and congress industry are on the go, further core competencies are required. Firstly, you need to be able to gain an overview of diverse branches within a short amount of time: Who are the most important players? Who are the innovators? How do target groups tick? What are the current hot topics?
You need a large amount of empathy to associate with the different needs of exhibitors, sponsors, visitors, media staff etc. The feeling for your own needs often gets left behind.
Event managers need an eye for detail so that events are a perfect success. This is why good event managers are never really satisfied with the result – they simply have a penchant for perfectionism.
All of this leads to trade fair, congress and event manager jobs being demanding.
Event management sometimes feels like a rollercoaster ride
On the other side of it however, once you are first on the event management rollercoaster, it is hard to get back off it! We all have something in common: event managers love what they do. They need the thrill, the anticipation, the teamwork. They are enthusiastic about what they do.
In order for this not to become a burden on your own health, family or friends, events managers, as well as their managerial staff, need to keep several things in mind.
What can event managers do to avoid stress themselves?
Event managers love time plans and schedules, checklists and production plans. It is really great when an event runs just as planned, when all gears work together and participants are enthusiastic.
In planning times and schedules, event managers should always also consider their own interests. Time for sport, family, going out with friends, culture, or simply for ‘Dolce Far Niente’, the beauty of doing nothing at all: That is just as important as work time – as this gives you the chance to recharge your batteries, create inspiration and motivation. Make dates with yourself and enter them in your schedule and take them just as seriously as business commitments.
Always plan to do something you haven’t ever done before. If you usually like going to concerts, go to a football match instead, or vice versa. This leads to new ideas, extends your horizon and enables new perspectives – also in light of business challenges.
The Internet, emails and your smartphone are a blessing – how did we even organize events before they existed? Sometimes however they can become a curse. Allow yourself conscious digital timeouts without the Facebook stream and flood of emails.
Don’t do everything yourself! Event management works best in a team. Learn to delegate and incorporate colleagues. This also implies allocating authority and trusting your colleagues.
Never forget why you work in the events industry. The joy that you get from your job can and will help you get through difficult and stressful phases. It is simply the case in the events industry – there is always calm again after the storm, at some point.
What can executives in the trade fair, congress and events industry do to not overload their staff?
If you manage a team, the concept of work-life balance has a whole different meaning. It is your responsibility to protect your staff from overload and even burnout.
In doing so, it is very important to regularly speak to staff, not only in the team, but also individually. An annual staff appraisal alone won’t cut it.
Be aware of the symptoms of depression or a lack of pleasure in the job. If someone only comes to work with a long face, something must be up. A good personal connection to team members and open communication help this a lot.
Is there trouble ahead in your team? Team managers need an antenna for such situations
Check regularly if tasks are evenly spread amongst the team. Can everyone work to their strengths? Are there staff members who have too much or too little on their desk?
When filling or replacing positions, think about which skills are missing in your team purely via the job description and consequently recruit team players instead of lone wolves.
A good atmosphere and strong team spirit work wonders and are often more important in the events sector than considering the personal qualifications of individual staff members.
Working in the events industry is a lot of fun – but it can also get stressful and different people cope differently with stress.
To win and commit qualified staff, managers in the trade fair and congress business need to provide a good balance between the job and the personal needs of their staff.
Members of staff themselves are just as obliged to not let themselves get overrun by the fast-paced events business and to listen to their inner warning signals.
One concern we can take off your shoulders: if you organize your events via the Converve platform, that’s already one less stress for you to worry about!