So far we have explored many skills and functions of the meeting planner and I have to admit that I was really impressed by everything I have learned. But besides organizational, communicative and negotiation skills you need more. Knowledge, for example. Since you are the first contact person, all questions concerning the event will be directed to you. As a good planner, you will always have the answer.
Walking information desk
Beside research for a proper destination and venue you need to explore the surroundings of your location. Your attendees will ask you for the way.
“Attendees often ask me questions like ‘Where is the next bus stop?’, ‘What is the fastest way to the city center?’ or ‘Do you know a good pub/restaurant around here?’. I always try explore my chosen destination to collect facts that might turn out useful for the attendees, like bus stops, train schedules, clubs, bars,supermarkets…” (anomynous)
“I often have to plan international meetings with many international guests. This often turns out to become a study of foreign cultures and habits. How do I receive Russian visitors? What food do the Japanese prefer? And how can I make sure that my Spanish guests will be on time?” (anomynous)
Of course, even the the meeting planner can’t know everything. In this case you have to find out.
“My clients are typically non-profits, which fall slightly under the “up with technology” in their company, much less their evnets. So in order to push and integrate updated features, it has fallen on me to either know and do, or know and oversee or not know and be willing to try. Among the things I have done are registration sites and databases, webpage design, social media, audio-visual requirements… shall I go on?” (Janna Bowman, @JDuckEvents)
“I know a lot of planners use 3rd parties to source their meetings and research venues but for me, that’s not only the fun part but it’s the most important part. During the data gathering and research phase for any event, it’s during this process you make the most connections and build the most relationships.
Outside of site research, we have to find the most cost effective ways to do business. We are often tasks with finding assessing the best registration software, discovering new methods of attendee engagement, accessing the most sustainable supplies, securing the most inspiring speaker and integrating latest technology to meet the needs of the clients and/or attendees. We pride ourselves on being creative so it only makes sense that we actually enjoy staying up nights researching.” (Kendra McMurray, @Meeting_Pro)
Please tell me what you think!
Can you tell us examples from your work as a planner that underline your overall expertise? 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 Carmen Gosalves, Janna Bowman and Kendra McMurray for their valuable input.