Event and Exhibition managers work in a hectic stressful environment. They have handle multiple suppliers, extremely stressful situations like things and people not turning up, and they have an absolute deadline to make sure that everything is ready on time and the event runs smoothly.
Our guest blogger Christoph Spiessens explains how Event and Exhibition managers can remain calm in the chaos of a live event and come out smiling and happy at the end of it.
“Mindfulness is not just about stressing less. It’s about stressing differently. Event and Exhibition Managers in particular could benefit from adopting a different approach to stress. Let me explain:
I believe stress -like the occasional bout of Imposter Syndrome or performance anxiety for example- can be a good thing. It keeps you focused, grounded and real, and therefore far more effective than those who pretend to be immune to pressure –external but also internal.
Conferences and exhibitions are fantastic yet stressful live events. Like a swan gliding graciously through the water, a lot of frantic paddling goes on beneath the surface. Deadlines are tight, suppliers might not deliver in time, staff could fall ill … the more you think about what could go wrong, the more stressed you become. And that kind of stress is normal, but it’s not serving you, your team and your event visitors. After all, guests need you to be fully present, focused yet relaxed, not grumpy or fatigued.
So, you are realistic enough to appreciate that stress is a normal part of the process. No stress at all could indicate a lack of determination to succeed. Now then, how can you adopt a different, healthier approach to stress? Here are my top 3 tips to consider:
1. Focus on your intentions more than your goals. Let’s be honest: You can’t control everything. This may not be what a perfectionist wants to hear, but it may be what a perfectionist needs to hear. I can say this with confidence because I am one. I want things to be perfect. My presentations, workshops, social media posts… And guess what: It only helps me so much. After all, I cannot control how events will turn out, how people will react, what will happen exactly. What I can do, however, is strive to prepare for upcoming events to the best level possible. That’s my intention; that’s what I do have control over. It’s the perfectionist in me I can live with. A trusted friend who helps me to show up as the best version of myself. When our intentions are right, the goals practically achieve themselves.
2. Practice gratitude. Whenever you feel that stress is getting to you (and ideally much sooner!), take a few moments to do the following gratitude exercise: List 3 things that have happened for you so far today that you’re grateful for. It could be a safe journey to the office, a warm smile from the barista, or the fact you only had 20 emails in your inbox rather than 99. You get the idea. Stuff that made you feel good. Ready? Excellent – now add another 3 things you’re grateful for to your list. And when you’re done, please add another 3. Here’s what happens when we practice gratitude: The brain responds favourably, you relax, and appreciate that it’s not all doom and gloom around you. There’s still plenty to be grateful for! Your attitude of gratitude will also make you a better leader, for you will begin to notice more opportunities to compliment your team members, and few things motivate people more than when they receive a genuine compliment.
3. Talk about it! I can’t stress this enough (pun intended) but talking heals. And not only does it heal you, it will heal others too. If you allow yourself to open up to someone about the way you’re feeling, you will both benefit. You will feel lighter after blowing off steam and they will feel inspired by your example. These conversations don’t have to become soul-deep therapy sessions, just a focused chat about what’s playing on your mind and your desire to find a more constructive way forward. That’s not weakness by the way, it’s incredibly powerful. After all, you don’t go into the conversation with the intention to moan. You are simply mindful of the way the current pressure is affecting you and understand that a quality chat is a wise strategy to regroup and refocus.
If you think scheduling this meeting will add even more to you to-do list, believe me when I say that a good conversation will, in fact, save you time. Those mental blocks that were taking up too much of your valuable time make way for fresh insights, efficiency and quality. In short, don’t be too proud to ask for help. Just like your favourite athlete or artist, understand that asking for help enables you to perform at your very best.
Written by Christoph Spiessens
Christoph Spiessens is a published author, accredited coach and host of the popular Mindful Manager seminars. He develops inspirational training programmes that help organisations dramatically improve employee engagement. www.christophspiessens.com