I secretly imagine that most industry professionals feel the same: passionate about their trade, frustrated by outsiders' lack of understanding of their value, and in a constant state of reconciliation between feeling inspired and feeling deflated by the external (and sometimes internal) factors thwarting their efforts for progress.
The event industry sports jobs that rank in stress level right up there with far more noble - and life-saving - jobs like firefighters and police and military and emergency room personnel. Seems odd company, but in the world of immovable and rapidly approaching deadlines, constant innovation, shifting audience demographics, and a collaborative imperative...it's also not so far fetched.
Those of us that love this work and see it for the unparalleled connection conduit that it is have a particular fist-shaking at the world that wants to cast us as "party planners" and the industry that chews many of us up and spits us out under the headline of "burnout." In a world of many lamentable hashtags, here's our down and dirty top three #EventIndustryProbs...and a humble submission at their solutions.
1) Time is Money
Newsflash: professional event services are like every other professional service were time is money and money is time. How come clients understand paying their creative and innovative ad agency but not the folks developing and innovating their live event experiences for months and months in advance and then standing there before anyone else arrives and (practically) locking up after everyone leaves? Most event companies aren't charging billable time, but they are making an honest attempt to account for the time of their professional staff that spend countless hours as your extended staff to not only make sure your live event experience is everything you want (and need) it to be, but that they have three back up plans and the flexibility of an Olympic gymnast when it comes to all the dynamics of a live event day and the 1300 things that could go off course and have to be addressed immediately.
Solution: does your event company track time against your project? If not, ask them to. You'll likely be super surprised at the level of service you're getting and the amount of resources allocated to you.
2) Data is King
...and queen...and maybe the most important thing that your event company cannot help you with that can affect the outcome of your live event experience no matter if it's a small meeting or a thousands-strong convention. If you don't have or know how to collect the information for your audience constituents, it's time to find the effective mechanism for this. We can make an incredible experience that fulfills all of your goals, but if your company doesn't have any way of getting accurate information for who you want to invite, you're likely making a financial investment wrought with folly.
Solution: take the time to make sure that your data component is ground level to your event goals. Whether that's a data person, a data system, an independent contractor to update your data...invest in data to ensure that you are set up for success before you make an experiential investment.
3) Change Is An Opportunity
There's plenty of research that supports that human beings approach long term relationships with a constant battle for reconciliation between a need for security and a need for novelty. Individually, we likely skew towards one end or the other of that spectrum. Professionally, change is hard because it represents work. Doing the same thing over and over, working with the same person over and over...that is easy. That is routine. In the event industry, we are in a constant progressive model of both refining the machine and creating new points of innovation in order to appeal to that very human psychology of dichotomy. Likewise, within the event industry, we suffer from a somewhat notorious turnover rate as young professionals who think live events sound like a swell gig quickly discover more hard work than glamour and the appeal of a high functioning, fast paced lifestyle proves more difficult than other career paths to integrate into personal lives and priorities.
Solution: shift your perspective. Acknowledge the human response to change as a form of anxiety, and then move beyond it with an understanding the change is an opportunity. An opportunity for innovation. An opportunity for fresh ideas and perspective. An opportunity to do things differently, and better, and more successfully. There is risk in that, but embrace a "risk and reward" mentality when it comes to both your live event experiences and your event professionals. You might end up with something far better than if you rinsed and repeated.
Now, if you're curious if there's a bevy of social media posts, pictures and tags related to #EventIndustryProbs, we'd encourage you to check it out. It might make you feel really good about your own challenges, because seeing a roof falling into a ballroom from a heavy rain collapse, or a stage catch fire, or 5000 name tags printed upside down or off the page will make you not only laugh but help keep perspective about the great wide world of live events...and the people who live and breathe within it.