six-stress-management-tips-to-help-you-keep-your-cool-at-your-next-conference As far as corporate events go, conferences are way up there on the stress scale. Extensive, multiple guest lists, various speakers and workshops, and a venue with an army of suppliers and staff can see you spinning out of control months before the event commences. Here are six steps you can implement to help you get a handle on stress management the next time you’re faced with organising a conference.

Get to know your guests before you do anything

Catering to the whims of hundreds of people, as well as managing their (often unreasonable) expectations, can send you into instant panic mode. Unfortunately, this is often the case as your first actual contact with guests is at the conference itself. We’re by no means suggesting that you have every single guest over for tea and crumpets; what we’re advising is that you make use of the data you have on hand about them to familiarise yourself with your future guests. One way to do this is by evaluating data about repeat attendees, another is by making use of online invitations which allow you to customise form fields. This enables you to gather pertinent data about them from the get-go – giving you a crystal clear picture of their needs, wants and expectations.

Equip yourself with on-site registration tools

One of the most oft-cited pain points – for conference organisers and attendees alike – is having to deal with long registration queues. Arriving full of anticipation for the day that lies ahead, only to be met with a line moving at a snail’s pace is a sure-fire way to set a dismal tone amongst guests before the conference has even began. The good news? Having the tools to implement a smooth and streamlined registration process is one of the most effective stress management tactics out there. By using on-site registration tools that can instantly display and updates each guest’s credentials and information, you’ll be able to ensure that the day starts off on the right note – and your stress management remains in check.

Get smart about data collection

As you’ll know by now, we’re big fans of using intelligent data to drive every single aspect of the event management process. A conference provides you with the perfect opportunity to gather in-depth data about your attendees – but be warned; without a strategic, guest-centric plan in place, your attempts to gather this information can quickly hamper any semblance of stress management. If you’re going to collect data from guests on the day, do it in a way that engages attendees and makes them feel comfortable with sharing their details. One way to do this is by running a competition or draw – this rewards those who’ve shared their personal information. (On that note, make sure to read our blog about your legal obligations when it comes to POPI compliant databases.) However you choose to collect additional info, make sure that you’re only asking for information that will help you to elevate the event experience; aim for thought-provoking questions that will give you a sense of your guests’ expectations and ways in which you can meet these

Have an iron-clad social media management strategy in place

Social media – and the ease with which attendees can access it – is a notorious stress management saboteur. That said, taking to platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to post content pertaining to the conference is an extremely effective way to encourage interaction among attendees. Even if your don’t have a dedicated Twitter handle or Instagram account, your attendees will be taking to social media to air their opinions – which means that you need to have a firm handle on any social media murmurs should the sentiment err on the side of negativity. Address any less-than-enthusiastic feedback immediately, remain courteous and above all – avoid going on the defence. Make sure that you’ve got a dedicated social media manager who can monitor posting activity before, during and after the conference in order to keep your conference’s image under control (not to mention your stress levels).

Send out and then analyse post-event surveys

We’ve often touted the benefits of using post-event data, for good reason. By giving your attendees the chance to convey their sentiments about their experience, you glean in-depth insight into their expectations, needs and wants. Over time, post-event feedback gathered from several events allows you to piece the bigger picture together – further arming you with the information needed to take your events from strength to strength.

Make use of intelligent Event Management Software

If there’s one stress management tip we urge you to adopt, this is it. Managing the mountains of data you’ve collected throughout the entire conference process is only possible if it’s stored in one central database. By being able to access everything from one main depository, keeping tabs on a myriad of data is that much easier. Not only does Event Management Software aid in stress management, it enables you to streamline all aspects of your event – therefore providing guests with an elevated overall experience.

Keep calm and carry on planning world class events that delight. Download our Guide to Turning your Events into Marketing Gold, here.

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Without stress, human beings wouldn’t have evolved. Stress notifies us of potential dangers, enabling us to act swiftly. While we may not have to watch out for any roaming Wildebeest, we face stressful situations on a daily basis. If you’re an event planner, ‘stressed’ is likely to be your resting state. As beneficial as stress can be, it can also be incredibly detrimental to your health, and career. That said, one person’s stressful day may be a walk in the park for another. Answer the following questions and see how you fare on the stress management scale.

1. It’s 6am on a Monday morning, and your to-do list rivals the length of War and Peace. You’re most likely to be found:

a) In bed. You’ve been awake since 3am after two hours of restless sleep, and are unable to get into the shower from sheer panic at the day that awaits. You have a Xanax and wait for it to kick in.

b) You put your alarm on snooze for another 45 minutes, and then leisurely make your way to the kitchen, where you spend another 45 minutes sipping your coffee until you realise you’re due in a meeting in 20 minutes.

c) You wake up as your alarm goes off, ready to tackle the day with a detailed action plan.

2. You have a presentation with a client, and if all goes well, you’ll land a lucrative contract for the next year. Do you:

a) Put a slideshow together 30 minutes before you’re due to face the client, based on some quick Googling you got your PA to do. Drive to the meeting in a panic, only to be informed that the meeting was in fact, yesterday.

b) Drive to the meeting in your gym clothes, armed with only a generic presentation on your laptop. You’re confident your charm is more than sufficient to seal the deal.

c) Dedicate time in the month running up to the meeting, where you attempt to find out as much as you can about the client. You painstakingly compile a presentation based on factual data about their brand and past events.

3. When it comes to spending time with your nearest and dearest, your approach to socialising is:

a) A quick scroll through your Facebook feed while you wolf down a Woolies ready-meal in front of a PVR marathon of The Great South African Bake Off. Who has time for a social life?

b) You regularly take long, leisurely lunches with friends, and often duck out of events to attend dinner parties, living by the mantra ‘all work and no play makes Jackie a dull woman’. (Partying is a form of stress management after all.)

c) You schedule dates according to your calendar; your friends understand that your career demands long hours, but know that when you have time, you’re always up for a Sunday stroll or phone call.

4. You’ve just been for your annual health check-up, and the verdict is:

a) Your stress levels are so high that even though you’re 43, you’re exhibiting symptoms typical of a 65 year old. Your doctor instructs you to cut out caffeine, take up Yoga and get a full 8 hours of sleep. As you walk out of the appointment, you down a Red Bull and toss the script in a bin. You have work to do!

b) Indulgent lunches and a fondness for post-event celebratory wine have increased your cholesterol levels. Your doctor advises that you cut out saturated fats and alcohol. You respond by thinking ‘life without butter isn’t a life worth living’ and justify tucking into a cheese board by reminding yourself that Tim Noakes would approve.

c) Good! Your approach to stress management is holistic; you try to get as much sleep as you can, religiously sip on water throughout the day, and get a quick walk in before work.

Your approach to stress management is as follows:

Mostly as:
Non-existent. Stress management is the last thing on your never-ending to-do list. Your high-stress life isn’t just detrimental to your health, but to your career too. A little bit of planning goes a long way, as does some much needed screen-free time. Aim to schedule some ‘me time’ once a week – your body, mind and clients will thank you.

Mostly bs:
Misinformed. While letting your hair down is an effective form of stress management, your career and personal life seem to be out of sync. By focusing more o\n your professional life, your down time will be that much sweeter. What’s more, your working life is bound to thrive too.

Mostly cs:
Just right. You’ve found the balance between work and play, and are reaping the benefits.

Download our eBook, ‘The Practical Guide to Professional RSVP’ to learn more about time management, as well as how an automated RSVP system can help you do more in a fraction of the time.

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