6 emotional stages of event planning

You’ve probably seen diagrams and articles of the stages involved in event management. Usually they look something like this: planning, promotion, event, follow-through.

Well, how useful is that? They don’t tell you anything about what is happening in the event planner’s head. So let me walk you through the 6 emotional stages of event management.

6 is a number I picked. It is neither wrong nor correct. I would love to hear about your emotional ups and downs, and what makes you tick. And click. And go crazy.

Stage #1: The conception of the idea

For some people this is the highest excitement point. I am usually a bit sceptical and cautious at this time and say things like this during the team meetings: “Well, yes, this is a great idea, I just need to think it through and get back to you”. Or just smile. That often works too. Basically, I just don’t want say an impulsive “yes”, and then find myself organising an event I don’t believe in, in a way that won’t work.

Stage #2: Planning of the promotionevent management planning to-do list marketing

Keep in mind, this is the “planning of the promotion”, not yet the promotion itself. For some of you this is one and the same but for me, this is all about making colour coded todo lists and writing the deadlines down. And then I hang it on the wall. Most people put pictures of their families up or artsy posters. Yeah, I don’t do that stuff. My to-do lists are pieces of art (to me, you got the right to have a slightly different opinion).

event planning managementStage #3: Promotion of the event

Now this is the absolute emotional high! Imagine me running around and telling everybody about this awesome event we are planning! Hanging posters, distributing flyers, tweeting, sharing, talking and whispering. All about this wonderful thing that is about to happen. Remember the to-do lists? Now we are taking a big green pen and drawing big CHECK ticks.

Stage #4: Morning of the event

What if people just don’t show up? I mean, it’s possible. What if they just decide not to attend. I have skipped events I had booked tickets for. But let’s stay positive. Pacing up and down the corridor might help. Nobody. What if the speaker is late. Oh, let’s not even go there…

Stage #5: The event

Well, this is nice. What a relief, some people actually showed up! I wonder how they heard about the event? The event is up and running, and I am sitting in the back row looking at the audience and thinking “Well, aren’t these people sweet, they actually care”. Anyway, this is it. There is nothing more I can do. All done and dusted. (these are my thoughts 10mins after the event start).

Hmmmm. I wonder what event I should do next…

So emotional low it is.

You think it’s weird, don’t you? We should be jumping around and dancing the victory dance? Why don’t you go ahead then.

Stage #6: The after

Yeah yeah yeah. All done. Whatever. Yeah, it was a good event. How about we stop talking about that and plan another event because this is old news now. There is a weird sense of emptiness in me somehow. I will create a bit more excitement when I write the article about it, as you know, got to make it sound like it was the best thing ever. Which it might have been. But my mind is already gone to the next event.

stages of event planning management

It is not conclusive. Many steps in between (eg. right now I ‘after-event’ but smiling and thinking that it was better than I thought). It varies. A lot. But admit, you can relate to it.