The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love
Event planners offer advice on managing on-the-job stress
Shane Yates set out for a career in the classroom, but a job out of college with an events organization in Indianapolis changed all that. He found the flexible schedule, daily diversity, and the chance to be creative allowed him to excel. Today, Yates combines his first love of education with his passion for event planning as the Executive Director of the Ohio Society of Association Executives.
To Yates, CAE, CMPthere are plenty of “pros” when it comes to being an event planner. “Every day is different,” he says. “You’re constantly meeting new people so you’re always building your network.”
Other benefits include working hours – with the help of new technologies – around your life. And then there’s the creativity factor. “You could be doing an event late at night or at six in the morning, but you can plan it any time that suits you,” says Yates. “In today’s world you could be planning an event on your cellphone while on vacation.”
But for all the perks that go with being an event planner, there’s also headaches. In fact, in occupation studies event planners are consistently ranked as having one of the most stressful jobs, even making it as high as sixth on the list in a 2012 CareerCast study.
Yates isn’t surprised.
“When something goes wrong [at an event] it’s your responsibility to find a solution. You’re constantly in the public eye.” he says. Then there are the problems brought on by Mother Nature or plain happenstance – like rain at an outdoor event or a power failure. “You simply don’t get a second chance to pull off a great event.”
So what can event planners do to keep the stress at bay? We’ve asked Yates as well as Jennifer Hyle and Stefan Kowatsch, event coordinators at Sharonville Convention Center
, to share their advice. Staying detailed is paramount to all of them. The tips offered below have helped them remain calm in the face of meeting and event planning challenges.
Tips for Stress-Free Event Planning
Details, details, details -
Kowatsch advises writing everything down and adopting an “anything that works” approach. “Post-It notes are your friends.”
Set Priorities –
Yates sits down and decides what’s truly important. He analyzes goals and objectives and makes sure to stay on top of important deadlines.
Avoid Multitasking –
While juggling responsibilities is often encouraged – it’s not when it comes to planning an event. Yates gives himself 90 minutes to focus on one task, even if it means setting a timer. Then, when the time is up, he takes a break.
Make Time for Yourself -
Yates takes a break for coffee, to chat with fellow employees, or exercise. Both Hyle and Kowatsch do the same. “When you walk back with a fresh set of eyes and a new perspective it ultimately benefits you and your client.”
Following these tips has kept Yates in the business – and he has no plans of changing careers. He says it’s simply too rewarding. In fact, some of his greatest memories are of helping others create memorable events. “When your behind-the-scenes work ‘wows’ people and helps others to be successful it becomes the backbone of what you do. In the end, all the hard work and stress pays off.”