Emotional Intelligence for Event Planners ft. Rich Bracken

Did you know that event planners have the fifth-most stressful job in the country? If you can relate to that, make sure you listen to this week’s episode featuring keynote speaker, Rich Bracken. He explains how you can leverage EQ to promote personal and professional happiness.

Tell us about EQ, or emotional intelligence. 

I dove into this about five years ago. EQ is one of the things most applicable to any industry. And nobody is ever to perfect their emotional intelligence, they can always improve it. It’s not like IQ which you are stuck with at a certain age. You can work on EQ non-stop.

What are some ways event planners can leverage EQ for their professional and personal happiness? 

I’ll start by recognizing that event planners have the fifth-highest stressful job in the country. That’s only behind airline pilots, military, and firefighters. And that was before the pandemic. But since then, it has been a hard turn of what is expected with even planning. So, EQ has become more critical than ever before in this role. 

You are constantly under pressure of the client, and now you are in charge of new technology and that is expected of you. Event planners now have to ask if everything can be done virtually. I say it used to be just ‘disco-balls’ for event planners. They were in charge of entertainment and making it look good and feel good. And now, its disco balls and crystal balls because you are now expected to predict the future and predict when events will be back full-time. So, there’s a lot more pressure on the line and you have to be a fortune-teller. So there is a lot more to manage but you have to make sure you think about yourself and your own energy. 

What are tangible ways we can improve our EQ?

There are lots of ways to do it. The core foundations of EQ is the theory that there is your personal acumen, your self awareness, what you are feeling and how do you acknowledge those things, and of course also your self-management.  Then there is the social acumen, understanding other people and their feelings. And then there is all of that wrapped into one, which is the relationship management that’s how you dance with another person in a conversation. And, in event spaces there is a lot of stress and a lot of pressure so that could be really important. Active listening and body language are really key to that. The number one thing you can do to make sure you support your growth is blocking your calendar, and not apologizing for it. During the pandemic we all have been working from home, which makes us feel ‘on’ all the time. Understand that your time is yours, and blocking your calendar to take back control. 

Make sure you have an end-of-day mantra to make sure you know when your day ends and you log off. Make sure you are taking care of yourself and replenishing your own energy. 

Vulnerability and humanity are two other words we need to think about. Being in sales it is so important to keep in mind people’s humanity and where they are coming from. The ability to connect personally, as well as professionally has become the differentiator for people. 

Tell us about your book.

Yes! I am really excited about it, it’s Emotional Intelligence for Leaders. I started this after talking to event planners and professionals, larger companies, and big executives started saying they needed emotional intelligence. And, especially in a pandemic it has given people the space to admit vulnerability and that they need EQ. So the book focuses on those leaders. It is more important than ever to understand how communication is EQ and is effects your ability to manage your relationship  and your relationship to yourself, but then also how you are connecting virtually. So summer 2021 it will be coming!

That is great, it is so important for companies to have EQ. 

Yes, a lot of company’s have realized that it’s okay to be human during the pandemic and to treat their employees in that way. They started giving bonuses and reinforced self-care like going for walks and using mindfulness apps. 

The companies that are not valuing EQ and their people have employees that are breaking down and quitting. You can care about the dollars all you want, but if you don’t care about your people the dollars won’t come. 

What other tips can help us to grow our EQ? 

This is an infinite topic. I would stress the need to take care ourselves, not everything will suddenly change in the new year. Music is a huge thing in my life, you can meditate, journal, and I also recommend doing a check-in first thing in the morning. Before email, before anything, see and evaluate how you are doing. Think about your moods and what made them change throughout your day. When you identify your triggers you can flip it and figure out what you can do different. 

I have a new video series called Inspirational Interruptions coming out its motivational uplifting content. I am working with other TV stations. I also have a lot of fantastic keynotes coming up. A lot of them about leadership and some about wellness and wellbeing, and emotional intelligence. 


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