“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
It's important to know our own limits and to know when we need to stop and get some energy and inner peace back. Nobody else knows better than us how we feel and only we can put barriers to protect ourselves. Mental health became increasingly important fortunately and we don't need to hide if we don't feel well.
That's why it's important for me to go on holiday and disconnect from work for several weeks, even though I have two businesses and an association to run. I need to make sure I am at my best in September, and I can deliver the outstanding services my clients deserve. To be able to do that, I will get away and get some good rest after a suuuper busy, 5 months events marathon.
In my opinion, what we don't talk about enough related to digital events is the level of stress. This is my story and I understand it can be different for other event professionals. Everybody is different and for me, it's not stressful to do a live event with hundreds of people, I love it, it gives me energy. I rely on preparation and thanks to that, the event itself is usually the easy and chill part for me. When we consider a live event successful, we always say easily something like the speakers were good, the venue was nice, the food was nice and achieved this or that goal, this or that person was happy, etc. The event's success depends on various factors and as event planners, we play a small part in a big pie.
Let's take an example, if half of the success depends on the preparation, and we take into account my 'event planner' part, I think I only play around 10 % in the whole process. Sometimes more :)
However, with virtual events, I think the proportion of these factors are different. As organiser, a small glitch in the internet connection, electricity break, anything that can disturb your connection can cause a huge problem. As organiser, the whole event can depend on my PC, my internet, my anything, and it can create so much stress. Fortunately, it never happened that I was thrown out from an event I was running or if I had an outside problem.
This means, in proportions, if half of the success depends on the preparation, and half of the live event on everything else such as speakers delivering the message, still 25% is on me during the event. It's double or triple the pressure of live events for me.
Another stressful aspect of virtual events for me is last-minute changes happening really last minute. When you have a simple Zoom or Teams call, anybody can drop in and out and speak up any time, easy-peasy. When you create professional event productions to make the event nicer, it means every second must be planned in advance, and if there is a last-minute change (meaning to put a new speaker live who never confirmed and shows up 2 minutes before going live) is very difficult. Sure, we can accommodate, but it creates such a huge level of stress, almost like a heart attack.
That's why one of my rituals after an event, be it live, digital, or hybrid, is to give enough time to myself to 'recover'. I need a few hours to a day to recover from these moments, depending on the event's size. It is important to take the necessary time to digest the event, calm the nerves down and rest well. Failing to do that, the risk is very high that I make either mistake in whatever I do right after the event, or that I get very stressed and in a bad mood until I can rest. I think the body has its own stress tolerance and it's not recommended to push the limits.
According to #cbsnews "event coordinator" was the 6th most stressful job in the world in 2019, just after military, firefighters, pilots, police and broadcasters. I wonder where is it in the ranking today... No wonder why we are so cheerful and happy most of the time! Everything else looks like peanuts after this event stress 😅
Putting jokes aside, this is a serious matter and in some countries, there are initiatives to help event coordinators to manage stress. I am not an expert but if somebody needs listening ears in this area, I am happy to be there. I hope every event planner takes care of themselves and gives enough time to recover, especially emotionally after an event.
Long story short, I will be on holiday from 12 July till 2 August, so if you look for me, I will be with my family enjoying some relaxation and fun, so text me directly for urgent matters.