You’ve spent months planning your event. You think that everything is going to run like clockwork. After all, you have the right software, you have a full house of attendees, you have the perfect keynote speaker – what could possibly go wrong. The answer is that just about anything can and will go wrong. However, while it is easy to deal with a few things going wrong, it is when a bunch of things go wrong at once that it can be hard to remain calm.

Stay Cool When Things Are Going Wrong

When one or two things go wrong, most people can delegate tasks, figure out solutions, and keep things running smoothly. However, when everything is going wrong, that is when an event planner has to step up and do some fast and creative thinking. If this isn’t already in your nature, you may wonder how you’ll manage that.

Let’s imagine a scenario.

Your attendees begin to arrive at the event venue only to discover the hotel has overbooked and 20% of them don’t have rooms to stay in. At the same time you’re trying to figure out that crisis, you learn that half of your volunteers won’t be there to help with registration due to a hurricane hitting a state away (and possibly headed toward you). The keynote speaker has a death in the family and can’t attend. And, the caterer calls and informs you the Board of Health has shut her down, so she won’t be serving food that evening.

Can you feel the panic creeping in? Dealing with any one of those issues would be stressful, but dealing with all of them at the same time is a catastrophe.

Coping Tactics

Dr. Alex Lickerman shared on Psychology Today that there are a couple of tricks you can immediately try that may help you hold your cool when you feel like you’re balancing too many plates and are tempted to just throw them all on the floor.

  • Use positive visualization. Take a deep breath and take a moment to imagine yourself having successfully navigated this crazy time.
  • Focus. Take on one problem at a time, choosing the one that is most pressing at the moment. In the scenario above, you really need helpers to solve all these problems, so you need to call in reinforcements and delegate some tasks.

There is also a little trick learned in Dale Carnegie classes where you simply ask yourself what is the worst thing that can possibly happen in this situation. Once you understand the worst (everyone demands a refund and your conference never happens again might be the worst), you can put that fear aside and move forward.

The Importance of Staying Calm

Forbes shares that about 90% of top performing executives are able to remain calm and in control during extreme stress. Apparently, many people perform best under strong anxiety for a short period of time.  Remind yourself that the conference is only X days long. Even if you aren’t able to solve all these problems, this time in your life will pass. Face the situation with calm clarity and you’ll accomplish a lot more than if you panic and run screaming in circles.

The good news is that it is very unlikely you’ll have a scenario like the one above. Most of the time, one problem at a time will arise, you’ll deal with it, and you’ll move on. However, if you do have several events unfold at once, you’ll have some tools to get through it and still have a successful event.

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