Let’s face it: being an event planner is one of the most demanding roles.
When time is scarce, multitasking becomes a reality, at times a painful one.
Event organizers need to maintain excellent cooperation with team members and external organizations. There are research and communication demands. Then you have to problem solve anywhere, anytime.
So how do you make sure you’ve any time left to create memorable experiences at events and trade shows - and breathe? The obvious answer should be - roll drums - the Swapcard platform and event app.
Still, we know there are tools out there which can help with smaller, but no less annoying parts of life as an event manager.
We can’t promise you a 9-5. Anyway, as an event planner you probably wouldn’t want that. What we can do is propose tools to make some of the more frustrating elements of your job a bit easier.
Let’s take a look at three broad categories. One is effectively engaging your team. Then you have productivity and focus. Finally, there’s time management and organization.
Working with Dispersed, International and Diverse Teams
Event organizing is a team sport, that’s undeniable. Being an event planner requires a variety of skills to manage multiple venues, suppliers, and partners. Being in charge on your own is stressful, to say the least.
So you bring in a team of dedicated, kickass, energetic professionals. Then you chill.
Oh, we wish.
A growing number of us no longer work in traditional office environments. So how do you make sure your team is still collaborating and supporting each other?
If you’re an event planner who spends most of their time out in the world meeting clients and partners, getting everyone in one place can be a huge hassle.
For both dispersed teams and those who work closely together, Doodle is a godsend. It makes organizing team meetings so much simpler. It’s also handy for finding the best evening for after work drinks (which can very often feel like herding cats). Doodle lets each person set which days and times suit them and then narrows down the most popular slots. If you use volunteers at your event, it’s also great to organize them.
Want to try other options? There’s always the ubiquitous Slack, straightforward Google Calendar and elegant Asana for you to consider.
Skype and video calls are often considered the same. Although the software is cumbersome quality is nothing to write home about, people still treat as a kind of gold standard. Have no fear. There are other ways to talk over the internet. If remote team meetings are essential to you Google Hangouts is a great option, both from an interface and a features perspective.
Feel like trying other ways to meet and discuss online? Check out appear.in
A straightforward tool which does its job well. Everytimezone lets you easily visualize what time it is for all your team members. Never again realize that your partner event planner in another country is fast asleep when you thought she was ignoring you.
When most of us think of Google Translate, we imagine garbled translations that just about get the message through. All that had changed when the service quietly launched a machine learning powered version. While still not entirely perfect, accuracy and fluency are impressive. For international event planners, the applications are endless.
How do you use this in a team context?
Google Translate can now be integrated into any messaging platform on Android. That means your team WhatsApp group can occur in multiple languages, but everyone can understand each other. Tower of Babel, here we come.
If you feel like this specific tech behemoth's product doesn't cut it for you, try DeepL, an impressive artificial intelligence tool to understand and translate texts.
PukkaTeam takes the digital office concept from Slack a step further. The tool uses automatic selfies and facial recognition to tell you who is at their desk and has a click to call functionality.
So, no more transferring calls to an empty desk. Moreover, remote workers need not stare at Slack wondering why no-one is answering. It works in a browser, so no new software. Still, the idea of leaving a webcam on for the day might creep out some people (and Black Mirror fans, who are also people, after all). The free Beta version is currently available.
Want to go for the well-established options? Slack, Trello, Basecamp, and Asana are always ready to take care of your team collaboration. All of these promote themselves as the cure for head-banging against the keyboard in frustration.
Staring at a computer is the worst
Productivity is an overused buzzword. It means, to be honest, nothing.
In spite of this, there are some basic ways you can make working at a computer more pleasant and less distracting. If you spend a lot of time in front of a screen, the physical strain on your eyes and the noise generated by open-office environments can become problematic.
Let’s take away these pains.
F.lux adapts the tone and brightness of your screen to the time. Day or night and no matter where you are it helps your eyes and mind by adjusting the amount of light coming from your screen. The night mode, for example, adds a yellow cast over the screen.
If you spend many hours using blindingly bright word processing or email software, f.lux can have an important impact. For those with a more design focus in their event planner work, the software can be turned on and off to allow for proper color visualization.
Want something similar but more mainstream? There’s always Night Shift mode in iOS.
7. Dark Reader
A step further than f.lux, Dark Reader is a Google Chrome add-on that inverts the colors in your browser. Looking at white text on a black background means way less eye strain, as well as being more energy efficient.
Being an event planner and often having to work in the middle of events can be noisy and make it hard to concentrate. Meet your solution: an online noise generator to help you focus and relax.
While Coffitivity, Noisili, and Rainymood may have catchier names, Mynoise.net offers a vast number of sound generators that you can personalize to your tastes. Some of the more niche soundtracks are premium, but the section includes enticing options such as Irish Coast and Healing Water.
RPG dungeon, though, is not for the faint-hearted. 😰
Content development, like it or not, is a large part of the event planning business. Ommwriter is a great tool to cut out distraction while writing. Using built-in ambient music and backgrounds, it cuts out time-wasters like hunting for the right Spotify playlist or font. It even makes typewriter sounds, should you want them.
A word of warning: the tool doesn’t have an autosave function. For Google Doc fans this might come as an unwelcome shock once you’ve lost 3 hours worth of work. Always save!
Synchronise Your Life and Stuff
As smart devices take on more and more of an essential role in our professional lives, it’s crucial to have all your data accessible from anywhere. Repeating the same tasks over and over is tedious and time-wasting. These tools can help
10. Google Photos
Constantly forgetting to back up your event photos or running out of iCloud space? Google Photos is the answer. It offers unlimited storage (so you save Google Drive space) and automatic backup. The tool utilizes Google Assistant to make your collection more usable.
This feature is especially useful to event organizers as Google Assistant automatically creates short videos with music, gifs, and montages of similar images. Gifs and videos of events are great for sharing on social media and require absolutely no effort on your part. Win!
Social media marketing can be an absolute pain, particularly when you’re working through multiple channels and different audiences. IFTTT allows you to create chains of frequently used actions and reuse them. Is everything you share on Instagram also going on Flickr and need to be saved to Dropbox? IFTTT can do all that in one tap.
It covers a massive range of applets to integrate your favorite services better and is a genuine time saver.
Boomerang for Gmail allows you to schedule email responses for specific times. This is great when you don’t want to be seen as responding immediately, or when you want to respond but don’t have time to email back and forth for the rest of the day. It’s also handy for out of hours emails. Last but not least, it sends you reminders when people haven’t replied to you.
And no, this is not Instagram Boomerang, which can also be cool (that is if repetitive means cool).
Event planners are always on the go. Travel and packing bags is part of the deal. Stylebook allows you to create a catalog of all your clothes. With that, you can plan outfits in advance and even keep track of what’s clean and what’s not.
Those ten minutes you spend staring at your wardrobe in the morning? Ten minutes more sleep. Want to be well rested and always look great? Yep, we thought so too.
Being an event planner requires a whole lot of multitasking and communication. That’s what makes it enjoyable and sometimes a bit overwhelming.
With the tools we mentioned we hope to help you make your life a bit less stressful, your smiles bigger and your events even better.