By Toby Hewson
When event planning I meet a lot of other event planners. Some are key partners in my events, responsible for their own areas and some are those people we come across every day in the event industry (always saving cards, details, faces in case we ever need them!).
What I have noticed is that they fall (mostly) into two distinct categories – The Happy Relaxed Planners and The Crazy Stressed Planners. I guess I must have been a Crazy Stressed Planner, or CSP, at one point, but the very first time I saw a HRP I realised I wanted to work like that.
At first I thought that people who were relaxed whilst organising an event just had more experience than me, or were cleverer than me but I soon realised that this was not always the case.
You can test this out for yourself. Next time you are at an events seminar or something similar, look out for the HRP’s and the CSP’s – they are very easy to spot. Now see how often the Happy guys have to answer their mobile phones. I bet it’s half as often as the CSP’s.
This set me wondering why. Was I talking to too many people? Was I ringing round for too many quotes? Was I seeing too many venues? Was I auditioning too many artists?
After asking a few questions, it turned out that their events sometimes had more vendors, venues, artists etc involved than mine did – some many times more.
The problem was – I was doing too much of it myself and not delegating enough to my team.
In the wonderful world of events, we know we only get one shot at it. No do-overs in this game – everything has to be perfect first time. That is a lot of pressure for one person. So spread it out.
Looking back at some of my old plans and schedules I saw that on the ‘To Do’ lists – mine was longer than everyone else’s. I realised that I wasn’t trusting the team around me enough. Moreover, I soon found out that by delegating more tasks to the team, they developed as individuals and made the team a lot stronger.
So if you are a Crazy Stressed Planner you need to ask yourself “Am I doing too much myself?”
The key to successful delegation for events in my experience has been to ‘control the control’.
What I mean by this is to be totally clear with the team exactly where their responsibility for something begins and where it ends. You must release some of the control to the team so that they can do the job, but you must also control how much responsibility you give them: ‘control the control’.
I also discovered through delegation just how much more someone will put into something if they are given ownership of it. This is a fantastic way to get the best out of your team. Let them know what is required of them but give them various levels or targets for them to hit – something to aim for and let them know you believe in them. I give everyone tasks on a ‘Need, Want, Love’ scale and it works really well for me.
The ‘Need, Want, Love’ scale works like this:
“Becki you are in charge of invites for the Press Launch. I Need at least three newspaper journalists there but Want you to try for five and some radio reporters would be great too but I would Love it if you can get someone there from TV as well.”
My team are familiar with the ‘Need, Want, Love’ scale now and when I give a task will ask me what I Need, what I Want and what I would Love.
Lastly, you need to monitor people’s progress with an open-door policy. If your team worry about coming to you with a problem and struggle on their own, you run the risk of failure for the event. If your team know they have you on their side if there is a problem and you will be happy if they bring it to you quickly – the battle is halfway won.
So, to go from a Crazy Stressed Planner to Happy Relaxed Planner I give you this advice:
Delegate – you are only building a better team around you
Control – be realistic and clear with what you expect
Targets – tell them what you Need, Want and would Love
Monitor – this is your job and overall responsibility
If you can embrace this thinking, I can all but guarantee you a happier event-planning process.
Good luck and remember – my door is always open.
About the author: tobyhewson.com is the home of good writing. Toby Hewson is an avid reader and a voracious writer. Toby is currently (and rather ambitiously) writing five novels simultaneously as they are all set in the same world and on the same timeline and it is the only way to keep track of it.
When not writing his novels, Toby combines his writing and his business experience to help people write original and compelling online marketing content on a freelance basis. Training is also provided to help businesses to write their own content and find their own ‘stories’.
Toby is involved in event management, from conferences and training seminars to charity events and festivals.