How Pros Survive Conference Season Like a Pro

With the end of the year fast approaching, so is a rejuvenated season of onsite events.

From multi-day summits, bustling retreats, and international conferences, event specialists and organizations will be gloriously absorbed in planning and hosting wonderfully dynamic experiences. For anyone involved in the behind-the-scenes and the backstage hustle of event production, the hours can get a little hectic, and the days can feel particularly long.

Happily and our teams of event specialists are seasoned pros. We know how to thrive with the early starts, prosper amongst the organized chaos, and stay focused throughout the rush. After years of experience, we have learned many practical tips and handy tricks for how to work an event with ease.

Team Happily, back stage at NMSDC

10 Tips for Surviving (and Thriving) Behind-the-Scenes of a Conference

1. Keep Your Immune Boosted

Working on an event can drain your energy and push your body's immune system. You will be interacting with a lot of people, you will be concentrating for long periods of time, and you will be on your feet all day. Take Emergen-C and Vitamin C rich foods to keep those energy levels up and keep you focused. Eating citrus fruits, red bell peppers, broccoli, ginger, spinach, yogurt, almonds, turmeric, and papaya are all notable foods for strengthening your immune system.

2. Be Kind to Your Feet

Do not underestimate the importance of comfortable shoes nor how sore your feet can get at the end of a long day working a production. Make sure that the shoes you plan to wear are comfortable, and consider using Dr Scholl's inserts and insoles, and other arch support to make any show and any shoes bearable to walk in. After the event, lay your back on the ground and put your feet up on the wall for a few minutes to refresh those tired calves.

3. Stay Connected

The community that you gather from a conference is invaluable. So put contacts in the database and follow up right away. After all, the next event is always just around the corner.

4. Find A Work Buddy

Have a work friend and teammate who is looking out for you (and visa versa). From making sure you’ve both woke up on time, to reminding each other to stay hydrated. Creating a safe place to talk with other teammates about the joys and stresses at the end of the day will allow you revel in this shared experience.

5. Small Talk on Stand By

At conferences you spend the day meeting new people, sharing spaces with strangers and looking for ways to connect and collaborate with those around you. That level of engagement and conservation can get overwhelming and draining. Have some go-to talking points ready for when you need to strike up a casual conversation, keeping the tone appropriate and purposeful.

6. Stash a Snack and Stay Hydrated

In order to be your best self and stay focused, you will need to stay fed and watered. Do not wait until you feel a headache coming from dehydration, or light-headed from a lack of food. Start the day with a big healthy breakfast, sip water throughout, and have an easy little snack (such as nuts or fruit) close by for when you get the chance to graze. Make healthy choices with food that will nourish your body and mind. Avoid plastic water bottles and bring your own refillable one from home.

7. Be Flexible to Change

Some of the best laid plans wind up better laid to rest when the conditions aren’t right. The beauty and art of events is that they are a living, co-created performance of humanity. Stay positive and make the most out of every situation.

8. Do Not Neglect Your Safety and That Of Others

The physical and emotional safety of everyone at an event is paramount - and that absolutely extends to the staff as well. If you are in physical pain, or if you feel emotionally distressed, appropriately speak to your direct manager about it. And if you are having a difficult day, remember conferences are just a season and a suspended moment of time in your life, and tough moments will come and go.

It is also worth taking the time to review the Code of Conduct and Safety Contingency plans with staff and security so everyone is ready and understands the correct progures.

9. Prepare Your Own Conference Toolkit

Gaffers tape, sharpies, Advil, scissors, battery chargers, more snacks, journals, crystals… whatever you need to keep things moving. Think through the details of any scenarios where you might be roadblocked and be prepared. You never know when something will come in handy.

10. Be Open to Making Friends

This is the best part of conference season. You willl do business, but you also have the greatest opportunity to make a new and unexpected friend. And that lasts more than a season.