One aspect of work-life that I look back on fondly now that I’m a work-from-home freelancer is working events. From hosting speech tournaments on college campuses when I was a forensics coach to planning and executing a street fair during my days on the marketing team at a food co-op, these all day affairs used to be a pretty common occurrence for me. They were always stressful. Always a lot of work. But oh so rewarding at the end of the day when you pulled it off.
After a lot of years, and a lot of trial and error, I feel like I eventually got working events down to a fine science. Whether you run conferences, host all-day trainings, or volunteer at your kid’s model UN tournaments, you know the deal! Here are my top tips —
1. Get plenty of sleep the night before.
I’ve worked plenty of events in a state of exhaustion and, let me tell you, it ain’t fun. Do everything in your power to show up bright eyed and bushy tailed. It will feel like way less of a slog and the hours will fly by if you go into the day feeling energetic. If the event starts later in the day still get plenty of rest the night before and make sure to eat well and drink plenty of water throughout the day.
2. Eat a hearty, well-balanced breakfast.
When you’ve gotta go, go, go – sitting down for a decent meal isn’t always possible. Waking up just a tiny bit earlier is totally worth it if it means you won’t have to scarf a pop-tart in the car on the way there.
3. If you can, spend some time outside and/or do some form of light exercise before you go or when you get a break.
This will give you a nice boost of energy and stamina. It seems counter-intuitive, especially if you know you’re going to be running around and doing a lot of set up throughout the day, but I promise those exercise endorphins are worth it. And the sunlight part is a no brainer if you’re going to be spending the next million hours inside.
During the event –
4. Wear comfortable shoes.
If the event is a more casual situation and you can get away with rocking walking shoes, by all means! But even if this is a biz-cas affair, make sure your shoes are selected for comfort and not style. (I mean, you can have both…but you know what I mean.) I spent way too many years rocking ballet flats at events before I realized those aren’t the BEST option for gallivanting from one end of a college campus to the other and being on your feet all day.
I’ll say it again for the people in the back — HYDRATE! Keep a water bottle close at hand and just keep guzzling. Nothing takes the pep out of your step like thirst.
6. Keep your pockets stocked.
I always want to remain incredibly mobile when working an event…and I don’t really want to carry a bag everywhere I go OR have to add even MORE steps to my daily total to run to a “home base” for what I need. For me, this means keeping some cash and my debit card on my person throughout the day.
7. Have portable snacks on hand.
Sometimes your only downtime when working events is when you’re walking from one place to another. So, I like to bring along portable snacks that I can eat on the go. Bananas and granola/protein bars are great for this. NOM.
8. Avoid the urge to pound caffeine and sugar all day.
Another reason to show up well-rested. All the caffeine and sugar crashes just aren’t worth it…not to mention it will mess with your sleep after the event is over. Don’t you want to sleep like a baby after your marathon day? I think yes.
9. Say “Thank you!”
Successful events truly take a village. Show your gratitude as much as possible. Even if you’re not the one at the tippy-top running the whole shebang, there are certainly people who are making your part in the whole thing easier. Tell them you appreciate them!
10. Don’t bark orders.
And if you ARE running things, be considerate with how you manage and delegate. Events can feel way more high stakes than day-to-day work for everyone involved. Tensions will run high. Ask for help with a specific task instead of giving an order. Slight rhetorical shifts can make grunt work sound a whole lot less demeaning.
What tips would you add? xoxo
P.S. 11 Ways to Sneak in Healthy Habits When You’re Traveling.