Imagine this: It’s time for the event to start and people are staring at you as you stand there with visible dripping sweat and a dazed look on your face. You are motionless, except for your twitchy fingers that won’t stop moving around in your hand. They assume you don’t know what you’re doing, but the truth is you just don’t know what to do next. You’re going over a checklist in your head and scanning the room for what has to be done. People continue to enter and you smile nervously, but you don’t make eye contact long enough to allow anyone to ask a question. You know exactly what they will ask and you know the answer. Nothing productive could come from it so you push forward to finish your tasks. You set up the remaining decorations, clean up after yourself, and just as you’re walking out the door—just a few seconds from finally exhaling— you hear it: unhappy guests whispering about you. A sharp pain hits you hard and you are dying to get out of there. There’s nothing more embarrassing than leaving an event with an unsatisfied, ashamed feeling. Never mind the fact that no one was there to open the door for you to set up, never mind that you got there an hour early, because all that matters is that the event started and you weren’t done. You blew it and you know darn well that first impressions are everything in this business.
Man, oh man, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned with event planning is how to remain gracious under pressure. Aside from being a Party Stylist, which qualifies me to speak on the subject, I’ve always been a part of event coordination. Whether it has been in church or among friends, I love putting things together. Nevertheless, it has come with its share of life lessons. Being a part of events teaches you patience, hard work, how to follow through, how to improvise, and accountability. Over the years I’m sure I’ve shed countless tears on the stress of assisting in events. The hardest type of event is working one with many people. I’ve been a part of organized functions where I had to work with dozens of other volunteers, family celebrations with family members, and I’ve had to create teams for special projects. Collaborating with other people can be extremely difficult if you don’t know how to manage them graciously. Thankfully, it has become easier after each time. Every event has taught me something and now it’s like a piece of chocolate cake– satisfying.
Have you ever noticed that huge arguments come on some of the most important days? Think about birthdays, graduations, church functions, or weddings. Have you ever gotten into an argument just days before or on the day of the event? Sure, you have. The stress from huge events stems from pressure, disorganization, and unforeseen mishaps. It’s like on all days no one is answering the phone, the rentals are late, the car won’t start, your hair looks crazy, the GPS got you lost, and nothing is going right! There’s a saying that Hollywood has taken which I love to use, which says, “The show must go on!”
These are my 5 TIPS on how to have grace under fire specifically when working with other people! Whether it is for school, church, or family, I hope this can help you next time you host or organize a function.
Organize the team!
Whether or not you’re in charge it may be helpful if you take control and get a clear indication of who else is involved. Working with many cooks in the kitchen causes the MOST confusion when running an event. It is important to narrow down who is in charge and who can confirm their involvement. You can really see a person’s true colors during important functions because many people don’t follow through or you’ll realize who isn’t good at taking orders. Creating control among others needs to be priority. You cannot give out tasks without knowing who to give it to, right?
Communication is key!
This tip is not only helpful in relationships! Figure out where you will all communicate and stick to that outlet of communication. Whether it is Facebook Messenger or group text, you should have everyone involved in one place. If the baker is running late or you need more ice it is better if everyone knows at the same time. This also helps when sharing other things like receipts or confirmation numbers. Fun Tip: Ask everyone to text an emoji to confirm they received the message, like a smiley face or thumbs up.
Everyone needs a role!
Make sure to spread out the tasks fairly. The person in charge should create a Checklist and give each person their role. This reduces stress when all of the responsibility isn’t on just one person. If someone drops the ball and doesn’t do their part try asking someone else to fill in if you already have too much on your plate. It’s hard to enjoy something when you are freaking out. So, don’t freak out and let people help you.
Plan for more!
It is better to be safe than sorry. So order more chairs, more food, or more time at the venue! Nowadays people have little regard for the “RSVP” so plan accordingly! Just in case you get more people than expect you will have enough resources. Realistically, you will probably have only 50 out of 80 guest show up, but there are rare occasions when everyone actually shows up! When it comes to community events for church, work, or school, you usually hope for more so plan for it! Likewise, plan for more games, more party favors, or more money needed! Planning helps, but you should always be ready for last minute changes or adjustments.
Remember the cause!
At the end of the day it is just an event. There will be many. Try to remember why you’re involved. Why did you ask to help or host this event? Is it a surprise party for your mom? A baby shower for your step-sister? A charity event to raise money for your best friend’s organization? Or are you doing it because you want to make a career out of it? Don’t lose heart. After months or weeks of planning it will still come and go. Remember the cause behind it and enjoy it. Eat the cake you ordered, dance to the songs you asked the DJ to play, and be the kind of host that stops to personally welcome people. Take photos of your event and soak in your hard work! Thank everyone on your team and give credit where credit is due. Gratitude is always the best attitude!
I hope this helps you! Now go and plan away! It will be fun and miserable and exhilarating all at once! Take these tips to heart and don’t be caught with a dazed look or dripping sweat! If you are, just smile, because it happens to the best of us!