Seems like we are increasingly faced with fewer people, less time, and smaller budgets, and must do more with less. As event management professionals, how do you make the most of what you have when you have it? Moreover, how do you maintain high-quality standards and excellent customer service when more and more the baseline is being able to achieve more with less?
Understand/Explain Why Resources are Scarce
Before you launch into planning an event, gather your team, speak with your client, and talk about WHY you may have strained resources. Everyone understanding the situation is critical for their buy-in. At this point, you should have nothing to hide. Be clear about where the priorities lie and be honest about why you are working this way. In most cases, people will understand and appreciate your candor.
Keep Motivated, Reward and Recognize and Avoid the Negative
Working with limited resources isn’t ideal, so acknowledge the extra effort needed. Encourage peer-to-peer appreciation and recognition. Also, get ahead of any negative talk that can ruin morale. In a stressful situation, it can be easy to focus on the bad and commiserate with others. This negativity can be poison to your efforts, teamwork, and event execution. If you get a whiff of discord, you should address it swiftly and keep moving forward.
Use Your Network
Don’t be shy to tap into your network to help you. While you can’t ask a peer or colleague to do the event planning for you, you can ask if they have been in a similar situation and how they got through it. Can you draw from their experience? Do they have advice or non-proprietary information they can share? Likely your network has been in a similar situation – maybe not the same – but close enough so that you could learn something. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak or lazy; a smart person knows when and how to ask for advice and assistance. As the saying goes, “…if, you want to go far, go together.”
Know Your Limits
There may be goals that are simply out of your reach with the resources you have. If that is indeed the case, you’ll have to accept that and adjust from there. That is not to say “just give up” but rather be realistic with what you have and how far you can take this event. Also, if you can pinpoint the resources you need like a bigger budget, more time, more people – then you’ll have a better position to negotiate from if you get the opportunity. Don’t be afraid of the challenge but be honest about what you can accomplish.
One could easily make the argument that there is never enough time, people, or budget. However, if you use some of these techniques to help you through a tight event planning project, you might be surprised about what you can accomplish. Set your realistic goals, stay positive, keep yourself motivated, and power through it. Also, you might learn something along the way, too!
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