Smooth and seamless events? 7 personal tips
Professional Conference Organisers do a special job.They make sure that everyone experiences a
...smooth and seamless event (even if things are not running to plan behind the scenes).
In this light-hearted post I am sharing a few tips for keeping that air of 'smooth and seamless'. They apply much more widely than the events industry.
- Start the day well. Eat a real breakfast. Managing an event is like being on call. Breakfast may be the only time you get a chance to stop and eat a good meal. You need to fuel up for the day ahead.
- Look good, feel good. Dress the part. A professional and neat appearance goes a long way when working with clients and customers. Make sure your team looks professional too.
- Listen. When things are not going to plan, ask for information and then commit to understanding what's really happening. We don't always take enough time to listen to what people are telling us, especially when our environment is infused with high energy and urgency. If you don't have all the facts, making the right decision will be difficult. As I mentioned
in this previous blog, your team offers more than pairs of hands – they are your eyes and ears on the ground.
- Don't get swamped in the detail. Look at the big picture, and communicate that. Your client looks to you for a summary of the situation, a presentation of options and advice of what to do next. Are you holding that space for them?
- Stay positive. Does this sound obvious? There is always a solution for every challenge. If your mind is flooded with negative thoughts, the right solution will be difficult to find. Focus on a better outcome and get practical about the steps needed to get you there. Encourage your team to stay positive too, and to provide constructive ideas. This gives them a chance to develop their problem solving skills in real time and contributes to a sense of making a meaningful contribution to the final, satisfying outcome.
- Accept feedback (and criticism) gracefully. This helps to neutralise tension, and strengthens your poise under pressure. You are empowering yourself to make the right choice by being open to feedback. Reacting defensively and getting into a heated argument derails the more immediate productive outcomes you are seeking, and doesn't look professional. Reflect after the event and learn as necessary, or address issues as needed to prevent recurrences of unfortunate events.
- Disconnect. Make time for things you find enjoyable and rewarding. It is important to channel some of your energy into things you like to do outside of work. I enjoy cooking and regularly attend courses to refine my culinary skills, both locally and abroad. Allocating time to non-work activities that bring you satisfaction can relieve the pressure and stress that inevitably builds up with large, complex events. Taking time away means you're likely to focus better when you need it most.