So far we have explored all the skills required for planning and organizing a succesful event. But your job is not done yet. At the event itself you might be more important than the CEO of you client company because you have been their most important contact person during the past weeks. It is your responsibility that the event continues smoothly. You have to be the perfect host.
Care for attendees
Attendees will approach you with all their questions and they will ask a lot of your attention. During the event you are not only the planner but also the host who takes care of them.
“I am present at every meeting I have planned to make sure that everything goes off without a hitch. I’m the housekeeper, who checks if the venue is perfectly clean and if all items are where they belong. I receive and welcome the guests, tell them where they bedrooms are and when the programme starts.” (Carmen Gonsalves)
“Planners are mothers (and fathers) as we sew on buttons, apply bandages, buy panty hoses, hand out Kleenex and know where the bathrooms are.” (Gail Martinson)
Support the team
The meeting owner and staff will rely on you during the meeting and expects that you have everything under control. Don’t let them down.
“We are essentially an arm of the hospitality industry. I’ve served as a former Director of Meetings ‘right hand man’, a disabled attendee’s transportation assistant, a facilitator’s sounding board, and even an exhibitor’s table staffer while they had to tend to an emergency! In each of these roles I had to go above my daily duties as a planner and give them the attention and care they needed at that time.” (Kendra McMurray, @Meeting_Pro)
Whatever goes wrong – while everyone else is allowed to freak out, you are not. You will keep calm and put out the fire. A good dose of humor is helpful.
“If you have to deliver bad news, a sense of humor is helpful. For example: your outdoor luncheon is moved indoors because of rain; the hotel runs out of your entree, a guest is put into a King room, but has brought his/her family along and had requested a 2 bedded room….a little levity goes a long way to lightening people up, calming them down, giving them a little perspective on the situation, while you attempt to rectify it.” (Beth Cooper-Zobott)
Please tell me what you think!
Can you tell us a story from your work as a planner that underline your hospitality? 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.