This article was originally published on EventMB & reprinted here with permission.
Want to boost productivity? Train your entire team to think like an #eventprof!
Even though event planners can often be found working alone as smooth-running, single-person machine, there are many times when it is necessary to expand your team. Whether it is a new member joining for just a few weeks, volunteers for a project, or even another planner joining the team permanently, it is important to recognize that in order to be successful and keep the machine running smoothly, the working environment needs to change as well. By bringing more people into the mix, you have to alter your thinking a bit. In some cases, you may only have a few days to completely onboard someone and bring them up to speed.
Remember - You Are the #Eventprof
As an #eventprof, you have the tendency to think differently than other people, which is part of what makes us so awesome! As we mentioned in a previous post on avoiding burnout, while it may be difficult to let others into our world, being able to delegate to a competent team is crucial for long-term success. Just like building an amazing event, building a powerful, smooth, and effective team does not often happen by chance. Building a great team is something you have to create and work on to make it happen.
Each #eventprof is unique and different, but in my experience, the biggest issues faced when working with other people revolve around meeting deadlines, expectations, communication, and pre-planning. Remember that you are the expert, and know what is necessary to create a successful event. You are the #eventprof.
Pre-Planning and Expectations
With enough pre-planning, many issues can be avoided or solved before they even happen. Talk things through with your team. Often. Your overall team environment should be one that invites open and honest communication. The team that you build should have the trust in each other to be able to to speak and without fear of judgement. By creating a team of smart, competent people that communicate effectively, you will be able to forecast and solve any potential problems.
If you have recruited capable and competent people around you, they will all bring unique skills and experiences to the table. Walk through the entire event, stopping to hash out any possible scenarios. Make some stopping points in your timeline for everyone to gather and keep everyone up to date with the event details.
Timelines, and Due Dates, and Schedules! Oh My!
When building your team, you need to communicate the importance of timelines, due dates, and schedules. If the people on your team are not planners, they may not understand how each task effects each of the next tasks to be completed. If you expect excellent work, be sure to make the deadlines and due dates reasonable. While a few rushed deadlines are inevitable, if it becomes a constant occurrence, you will stress and burn your team out and strain relationships with the client.
Due dates and schedules are important when planning events. With what sometimes seems like a never-ending list of details, it is important to stay focused and on-task. When you have tasks spread across a team of people, it is even more important to stick with deadlines, especially when one task depends on a completed task from another team member. When creating your due dates and schedule, be sure to plan in for unexpected delays.
While your expectations should always be high, you also need to realize that some things are simply impossible to accomplish. This point can easily be misunderstood, though. I firmly believe that with enough time, the super #eventprof can accomplish anything. But, if something was not planned for or communicated properly before the event, you have to realize the impact that may occur.
While there will always be things that pop up, and we appreciate people that take initiative on-site to help solve the problem, but it’s important to communicate the expectations of how and when you would like tasks accomplished. And don’t forget to communicate how pop-up tasks fall into the priority of other things individuals may be working on. If something they are currently working on can wait, let them know that they should focus on the new task first and come back to the other one later. Don’t assume someone will know the order in which you desire tasks to be completed.
The Magic Pill of Communication
If you were ever looking for that elusive magic pill that solves everything, this may be close to it. Clear communication is absolutely vital for success. The art of speaking and communicating seems to be quickly disappearing from the world. As a leader, you must be able to effectively and clearly communicate with the people around you. You must account for how someone else might interpret your words into something completely different than what you intended.
In the world of texts, email, and information overload, people are reading less and less. With all of this information to process, response time is getting longer and longer. If you add in unclear communication, vague questions, and inadequate answers, the amount of time it takes to answer questions and solve problems can very easily become excruciating slow. It often takes more than a few sentences to clearly and effectively express a thought or situation. Take the time to craft your language, finding the balance between too much information and being succinct.
Begin to set expectations from those around you, including the client, that by taking a few more minutes to actually craft a message, the communication process is much more effective. This magic pill of communication needs to be given to every stakeholder. It is not just how you communicate with your team. It is also just as vital for them to communicate back to you as well. Communication throughout your team needs to be clear, precise, and effective.
Another aspect of communication is how you communicate your daily tasks with your team. There are often times when you have the need to delegate a task to a team member who has no previous knowledge or background information of the task. A brief task assignment, with a short explanation, may not be enough information for that person to be able to meet your expectations.
You should keep in mind that not everyone thinks and analyzes things the same way you do. Be aware that different team members may need explanations in different ways, depending on their learning style and background. Be sure to take the time to provide them with the information that they need to get a good, solid grasp on what is expected.
You are the #eventprof. When building your team, regardless of their expertise, you have the skills needed to create a successful team. Remember to share the basics of what makes you successful, especially when new colleagues join your team. Keep your expectations high, and ensure the importance of sticking to reasonable timelines and due dates is stressed. Whether by phone, email, letter, or face to face, clear and consistent communication is crucial to the success of any team. While these skills may seem simple and routine, don’t take them for granted. These simple building blocks when implemented correctly will create a successful event and an enjoyable team.