How To Handle Uncertainty As An Event Professional
This time period during the COVID-19 pandemic is really stressful for everyone, especially event professionals. Our industry came to an abrupt halt and no one is exactly sure when events will resume.
As an event professional, you might be asking, “When will everything go back to… normal? How do I speak with clients? How do I process this?
“What can I do… right now?
To help navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare or the New Normal, fellow event pros share what they have been doing to help themselves get through this difficult time of uncertainty.
“Right now we are in the mental game. If we were in a football movie the coach would be yelling to us “football is 10% physical and 90% mental”. Well, we’re at the part of that movie when we’re not sure if we can make it through the unknown downturn -the equivalent of the big game. Will we have to postpone all summer events? When will this end, and will my business make it through? When life seems like it’s going in slow motion and the soundtrack in your head is turning your stomach with anticipation and fear. THIS is what the coach was talking about its 90% mental. I believe that if we focus on our minds — the business will follow.” Mary Angelini. Wedding Videographer, Key Moment Films.
Find a Healthy Distraction
Jo Ann M. Grant, CPCE, wedding planner and architect of Apropos Creations says it is a MUST to find a healthy distraction during these times. “You can walk around the block (maybe jot down some notes if big ideas come to mind), clean and organize, meditate, maybe garden… all are great distractions.” While distractions are healthy, Grant cautions not to avoid reality. “We just have to remember not to keep using these distractions as an excuse to avoid the current situation. We have clients who are looking for us to give them answers, to give them the support, and that is why we do what we do.”
Mary Angelini is focused on creating a healthy mind. “I am practicing meditation. I am creating a morning routine, including some stretching and yoga poses. I have chosen to work on some things on my To-Do list like brushing up on SEO and online networking that I have avoided. I am also learning a new hobby, drawing on Procreate. I am releasing the worry of the unknown, and I shifting my focus to the here and now.”
Make a Plan
“Make a plan, work the plan!,” suggests Shannon Tarrant, Founder, WeddingVenueMap.com. “We don’t know how long the situation is going to last but instead of being hopeful for it to end soon, I’ve made a 90-day adjustment plan. I have restructured my goals and planned for new campaigns. Having a plan makes life feel a lot less uncertain. Each week, I have something new that I’m learning for my business. I plan out some time each day early in the week to learn and then later in the week to implement. There is a laundry list of items like social media advertising, upping my Instagram game, or updating sales email templates that I always say I’ll get better at when I have more time. By having something to focus on each week, it keeps me getting up and motivated to learn.”
And Wendy Kidd, Certified Master Wedding Planner, Each & Every Detail,reminds us that it’s important to avoid making decisions out of fear. “When I start to feel uncertain, I unplug from things that are causing that uncertainty and focus on the things I can control, like sharpening our processes, making sure our clients are feeling loved, and catching up on any of those back-burner projects,” said Wendy.
Lean On Others
Shannon Tarrant is leaning on her team by hosting weekly office hour chats. “All of our Wedding Venue Map partners and my coaching clients are invited to a once a week discussion with a planned topic. We all share tips, advice, and what we have found that really works. I realized after the first few weeks of this that not everyone had the get it done attitude that I’m blessed with each day so I’m using it to help motivate and inspire others.”
Wendy Kidd is looking to educational webinars and courses offered to stay inspired and motivated as well as reaching out to vendors. “We’re so grateful to have an amazing team and we lean on each other by texting daily, having video chats, and phone calls often. We’re also reaching out to our vendor team by calling different vendors every other day and checking in on them. We’ve found that these calls allow us to lean on each other and keep everyone motivated and in better spirits during this tough time.”
Empathize with Clients
For how to handle conversations with clients, Jo Ann M. Grant says, “One of the best pieces of advice I can give is to stay calm.” Even if you are feeling uncertain, helping clients to stay calm will help you as well.
“Being calm is contagious. Just listen to client concerns and give them the best advice you can. The key, empathize with them. Imagine if this was your wedding or your very important gala, wouldn’t you feel bad? Everyone worked so hard to put this show together and just to have it be delayed? No one wants to go through that.”
Help Your Community
Do what you can to help your community. For example, event linen rental provider BBJ Linen is creating and supplying non-surgical gowns, masks, and face shields to healthcare providers working on the front lines of this pandemic.
Anything you can do is helpful. Whether it’s grocery shopping for your elderly neighbor or hosting webinars to give people guidance, use your resources to do what you can. Helping others is a win-win as it not only assists someone else but helps to inspire the positive vibes within you, too.
“I am working on our website, instituting new strategies for social media, speaking to groups about what we are seeing during this time, reaching out to our vendors and our clients maintaining relationships as well as keeping everyone reassured, finding a bit more time to be with my kiddos, homeschooling, and perhaps enjoying more happy hours than normal.” Laura Maddox, Co-Owner of Magnolia Celebrates.
Event professionals are used to late nights and working weekends. Shannon Tarrant is using Monday through Friday’s wisely but taking weekends to re-charge. “I spent an entire weekend baking and bingeing Netflix, something I rarely get to do. Pinterest has been so fun to find new recipes to try, find some crafts using the things we already have in the house and just seeing amazing places to travel when this all clears. ”
“If you’re able to find structure it will give you some sort of certainty. Kristin Wilson, Our DJ Rocks has created a new Daily Kickstart Routine that starts with Gratitude and Intention. “My goal is to build even stronger relationships personally and in business. Whether that’s sending a kind email, posting an uplifting song, sharing an inspirational quote, or working on marketing content! I’m also sending more texts to help others because helping makes me feel motivated.”
JoAnn Gregoli, like many other event professionals too, is staying inspired by attending and hosting weekly Zoom meetings with business professionals around the world. “Staying connected is the key to staying sane. I also attend online meditation classes and yoga classes. This helps center me and keeps me calm. I try to limit my daily news intake. The news can be grim and if you stay in that mindset.”
As JoAnn Gregoli said best, “Try to believe in hope and know that this too shall pass.”
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