Event management is a business based on people-to-people interaction – an intense, regular and multifaceted interaction. That’s why events are literally saturated with psychology. Understanding of some psychological principles and methods behind each step of event planning process, each communication, and each stakeholder gives an opportunity to make required adjustments on the go. Eventually it leads to more efficient outcomes for all interested parties.
Does it make sense to include a psychologist into the team of organisers? At first glance the idea sounds crazy. But let’s first see ‘how much’ psychology is there in any event, and ask this question again afterwards.
Let’s try and match up some processes and steps in event planning with various fields in psychological science. Events bring
- some new knowledge (how do we learn? how efficient is a particular format for gaining new knowledge? what impacts our memory? Cognitive Psychology examines these issues)
- people-to-people interaction (which concepts work for networking and why? what helps people overcome their fear of meeting new contacts? These are within the Social Psychology and Communication Psychology domain)
- emotions (is it possible to stage-manage desired emotions? how do event’s experience and its logistics correlate? how do emotions influence cognitive processes? A number of such issues is examined within the framework of Psychology of Emotions, Neuropsychology etc).
Moreover, any event is a teamwork. That means having some specific psychological micro-climate within this group of people. Event’s success relies, among other things, on how stable and psychologically safe such interaction between team members is. Here Organisational Psychology comes to the aid.
Finally, there is Personal Growth Psychology – a critical issue for an event professional carrying the burden of one of the most stressful occupations in the world.
Well, now it gets more obvious that any event is saturated with psychology, and as things stand, it does not seem such a crazy idea to hire a full-time psychologist, does it?
One way or another, I think we should start by educating ourselves, the operating event managers. We need to know how one or another psychological principle applied to event management, works. We need to get more information about psychological effects and factors. Not only it is an important task for an advanced event planner, this is an exciting occupation in itself! It will help understand another person – one’s colleague, or partner, or client – and therefore makes interaction many times more efficient. As we remember, people-to-people interaction is fundamental to our business.
This article originally appears in Russian in MICE&more magazine, #1 for Russian MICE specialists. To access June 2017 edition, visit www.miceandmore.org