Six Ways to Ease Event Anxiety

October 16, 2018

From cocktail receptions to conferences, events are rarely a walk in the park. There’s a mountain of detail that goes into executing an event – and even then, something will likely go awry.

But fear not!

Here are six ways to ease your burden and anxiety.

1. Need a Starting Point? Work Backwards
You’ve set an event date – congratulations! Next, grab your calendar, and start counting backward from your event date to list your to-do items. Sending a save the date? You can send as early as you’d like, or around 6 weeks in advance. Drafting a program? Allow two or three weeks for designing and editing, and a minimum of one business week for printing.

2. Communicate Early & Often
Drafting multiple event messages in advance will help get information out as quickly as possible. Having an archive of graphics and content for social media posts (always include a graphic and link!) make it easy to hit send. Likewise, if you’d like to reach your target audience through your organization’s listserv, draft e-mail blasts in advance with the information available. You can fill in holes as speakers, sponsors or featured sessions are announced.

3. Make Deadlines Your Friend (Not the Enemy)
Just like your target audience (invitees), communicate with vendors as early as possible. As you collaborate with vendors, ask about their deadlines for final information such as headcount, seat numbers, audio/visual needs, and more.  Try to set an “internal” deadline at least one week before the vendor’s requested date. Then, set calendar reminders to keep you on track! It’s easy to let those deadlines creep up – or even slip by.

4. Huddle Your Team
Planning an event should not be a one-man-show. If you overload yourself with too many responsibilities, something will fall through the cracks.. You can’t be an expert in all things venue/technology/catering – so collaborate with vendors and/or peers that you trust. Bring all hands to the table for open lines of communication, ensuring everyone is working with the latest information toward the ultimate goal. And, don’t forget that your vendors may be clients or colleagues in the future.  Invest in these relationships!

5. “Thank You, Come Again!”
The event is complete. But wait… your job isn’t over. Follow up tactics are key to success. Consider drafting these ‘takeaways’ in advance of your event (you will thank yourself later!):

  • Thank you notes for speakers, attendees or sponsors
  • An event survey for attendees
  • A press release for media
  • Wrap-up social media posts
  • A follow up meeting for your planning team to fine-tune future efforts.

6. Take Care of Yourself
On event day, you are the quarterback, in control of the day’s game plan and performance. Set yourself up for success by preparing yourself personally – plenty of sleep, comfortable shoes and lots of water. You’ll be busy greeting attendees and speakers, schmoozing stakeholders, and maybe addressing the audience. Resting up for your big day will allow you to finish well and hopefully even enjoy the event you’ve worked so hard on.

If you have questions, or find yourself overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to call an event planner to coach you through and provide the teammates you need for success.

See also: Event Management

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