#PlannersAre… Designers

If you have followed my previous posts, you will understand by now that planning a meeting demands all you attention and energy. But whatever kind of meeting you plan, it is more than simply coordinating the logistics. A meeting needs more than a venue with chairs and food to become an experience. It is up to you to create that experience. Or in other words:

“Planners are the key person who puts all the key ingredients or details of the recipe or meeting plan together to create the perfect dish or meeting.”           (Michele Shephard)

Blog Holland Meeting Planners Spyglass

It starts with listening…

When a client talks to a meeting planner for the first time he will have more or less an idea about the kind of event he wants. As Janna Bouwman told us in one of my previous posts this idea often turns out to be a mere vision. If there is no meeting designer who takes this task, it will be up to the planner to design the meeting the client has in mind.

“I have worked with a client who is in his 60’s now and has been with the organization for 30 years. The event I did for him is now in its 25th year.
The client kept saying, ‘We need more people to attend!’or ‘We need younger leaders to attend!’  He didn’t really have a plan how to do that, so I implemented and pushed through a strategy.

If we want to meet the younger audience we have to consider where they are: we meet them on their smartphones, social media and online.  So that was the route I had to take. The invitation was emailed to them using magazine flip technology. I created  a Facebook event page and an event hashtag. Registration was offered by a mobile app, which also included a conference map and schedule and a QR code for the conference. I also hired a photographer that within hours of a session had photos posted online for all attendees to view, share or print. 

The photos were a huge success with nearly 10,000 hits a day for 15 days following the conference with only 350 attendees.  The feedback from the guests were ‘this conference feels fresh.’ ‘The younger crowd brings an excitement and freshness to the discussions.’ By listening to my client and then establishing the path, goals and objectives and then to implement and achieve it throughout every aspect of the conference, he became the rockstar and I have a contract for the following year.” (Janna Bowman, @JDuckEvents)

Please tell me what you think!

Can you tell us a story from your work as a planner that underline your design 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.

Finally I want to thank Janna Bowman, Michele Shephard and Carmen Gonsalves for their valuable input.

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