Planning a meeting involves more than arranging a conference room and some cake and coffee for the break. As a planner you need to coordinate every detail of the meeting, from venue, catering and speakers to printed materials and audio-visual equipment. In fact, meeting planners are masters in organization and logistics. They oversee multiple operations at one time, face numerous deadlines, and orchestrate the activities of several different groups of people. Let’s have a look at the task list.
As soon as the date for the meeting is chosen, the planner starts searching for prospective meeting sites. This can be more difficult than it sounds because there are various aspects to keep in mind. When looking for a good site she needs to consider who the attendees are, where they come from and how they will travel. For big, international meetings you would need a venue which is close to an airport or major train station. The venue should also offer all technical requirements for the meeting. The planner also orders all necessary supplies such as food and beverages, name badges, lodging reservations, transportation, audio-visual equipment and seating.
Planners must also oversee the finances of meetings and conventions. They are given overall budgets by their organizations and must create a detailed budget, forecasting what each aspect of the event will cost. Additionally, some planners oversee meetings that contribute significantly to their organization’s operating budget and must ensure that the event meets income goals. The planner needs a good strategy to and a neat adminsitration to keep track of the finances.
Plan B Thinkers
What if a speaker gets ill, the audio fails or the food is disgusting? A good planner does not only plan every possible detail but also an alternative for every possible problem. When anything goes wrong (and there are few flawless meetings) the planners has to react quickly to rescue the meeting and the image of the meeting owner. This requires flexibility, creativity and a fast brain.
Please tell me your story
Can you tell us from your work as a planner that underline your organizational skills? And what other skills do you have? Leave a comment or send a tweet with the hashtag #PlannersAre. Let’s show the industry how broad the capacities of a meeting planner are.