What’s one of the hardest things we have to do as events professionals?
Planning and executing events that people will remember forever is one of the job's best perks. However, in striving for the best for your clients, work-life boundaries can go out the window.
That said, if you lean into setting healthy boundaries, your workload won’t seem so daunting, and you’ll be amazed at how well you can manage stress. The three most important people to set boundaries with as an events professional are:
- Your Clients
- Your Employees
How to Set Personal Boundaries
Events professionals are some of the most hardworking people in the world. They sometimes sacrifice their personal lives to ensure every event goes off without issue. Of course, the client may benefit from such a sacrifice, but neglecting personal boundaries does nothing good for you.
You must set boundaries on how and when you work to avoid burnout. You also need to define what you’re comfortable with and what you aren’t regarding the type of events you put on and the kind of clients you work with.
Personal boundaries are best set when you do the following:
Choose your clients wisely
A lot of the stress of being an events professional has to do with the clients you work with. If you’re constantly working with the most challenging people in the world, it will take a toll on you mentally and physically. So, choose your clients wisely.
Designate days off
You must designate days off as an events professional. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself working seven days a week, and burnout will be right around the corner. So, block off one to two days a week for personal passions and time with loved ones. \
If you can’t seem to find the time to block entire days off, prioritize truly relaxing once off the clock. Don’t read your email, don’t check Slack, and take time to breathe! Even if it’s just an hour when you get home or enjoy time with your friends and family, building out time for yourself separate from work will always lead to you being your best self for every occasion.
Listen to your mind and body
Your body knows when it's had enough. Your mind does too. Learn to listen to them. Take a break when they tell you it needs one. Also, keep a solid sleep schedule. Working a lot is no excuse to neglect rest. You need rejuvenation more than ever when working as hard as you do as an events professional.
How to Set Boundaries With Clients
The most difficult boundaries to set are often with clients. You want to do anything and everything for them, and sometimes, they think it’s okay to push and pull you in every direction because they’re paying you — but it’s always best to take care of yourself first.
Clients need to understand that although their event is important, it doesn’t mean they can contact you whenever they want and communicate with you however they want. Remember, you and your client are a team, so always set boundaries!
Establish what’s appropriate and what’s not upfront
Establishing what’s appropriate and what’s not with your clients upfront is the key to healthy boundaries with them. When you and your clients have a firm grasp of what you will and will not do, you can move forward on the same page.
Also, if they do end up pushing a boundary in your time working together, you can refer back to the conversation you had with them at the beginning to let them know what is wrong, and how they can remedy the situation.
Have a plan for unruly clients
Frustration and heated conversations are expected in your working relationship with a client. Their event is significant to them. It’s hard to hear from their event planner that things aren’t going according to plan.
It’s a good idea to know what you’re doing when a client gets upset. Stay poised and professional in heated conversations. Always look for solutions and ways to compromise with the client. Also, don’t ever feel like you have to take verbal abuse from a client.
Know when to walk away
Sometimes, a client will get so upset that they do something harmful or say something threatening. This is absolutely cause for walking away from the client entirely. Don’t ever feel like you have to take abuse from a client because they’re paying you to do a job. Know when it’s time to walk away.
How to Set Boundaries With Employees
As an events professional, you might be a company leader too. Even if you don’t have your own employees, it’s essential to know how to set boundaries with those you’ll be working with.
There will be chaos without proper boundaries with employees and/or team members. Not only will your workflow be disorganized, but your event is also likely to turn out that way too. Plus, employees need to know there’s a hierarchy, and you’re at the top.
Here are a few more tips for setting boundaries with employees and other partners:
Practice transformational leadership
It’s essential to lead by example with your employees. You must inspire and empower them to be the best they can be at all times. That’s where transformational leadership comes in. Put people in roles where they can perform at a high level. Also, encourage them to set their own boundaries and prioritize wellness.
Sit down with each team member individually
It’s wise to sit down with each employee or person you’ll work with individually. Be sure they know their role, which tasks will be automated, and how to move forward if they have an issue.
Establish communication expectations
Be sure to also establish communication expectations with your team. Everyone should know:
- Contact information for everyone
- When they can expect a response
- Who to contact for time-sensitive needs
- The cutoff time each day to contact you and other employees
- The best communication channels for specific needs
So, what now?
Setting healthy boundaries as an events professional is integral to leading a thriving business and personal life. Implement the tips above to bring back the work-life balance you desire and the professional relationships you need to put on the most successful events of the year.
While setting these boundaries may seem like a scary concept, taking small steps and slowly implementing these boundaries into your everyday operations will help ease everyone, including yourself, into expecting them to be "business as usual." Treat yourself kindly and always put yourself first, because you deserve the respect you've earned to become the event pro you are!