#PlannersAre… Lawyers and Politicians

In my previous blogposts we have explored the organizational and communicative skills of meeting planners. But if you want to survive as a meeting planner you need more. Planner, meeting owner and suppliers often have conflicting priorities and as a good planner you also need to keep the attendees in mind. If you want to reach the best result, namely, a succesful meeting, you will have to negotiate with all stakeholders – and you have to be good.


Dealing with suppliers

The demand for hotel services has steadily increased these past few years, tilting the negotiating leverage in favor of suppliers rather than meeting planners. The planner would need a strong will and good negotiation skills to achieve a nice deal for a meeting.

“Most of the times you will need to dicuss with the supplier about what services they will offer and at what price. Of course, we both want to struck a good deal, but I also have to keep my budget in mind. Therefore I always contact several suppliers so that I can compare their offers and get an idea about the prices I have to expect. A second offer can also be a great weapon during the negotiations”
(Carmen Gosalves)

I’m a big believer in creating partnerships with the sales managers I do business with and, whenever possible, I like to go back to them for my future meetings. Once a sales manager has earned my trust and delivered on their promises to me, that relationship is very valuable and one I’m not willing to risk by trying to force concessions or unrealistic demands on the property
(Paula Rigling)

Difficult meeting owners

 “I had a client I would label as my ‘worry wad’. I would provide her with extensive updates, spreadsheets, and production schedules. You name it she had it. But like clock work the day of her meeting or event she would freak out in a panic. I would get to the venue to set up and she would be there giving direction. It was so distracting.”
(Dafrine Jones-Forbes)

The meeting owner might have demands you cannot realize or which prevent him from reaching his goals for the meeting. Sometimes it seems completely impossible to satisfy the client. You need a lot of self-confidence to deal with such difficult clients and a smart communication strategy to convince them of your own plans.

Obama tough talk

You are the boss!

You are the planner, who coordinates everything and knows what is best for the meeting. Therefore you should be able to have the final say!

“I am a city wide event planner. I’m a negotiator, as I try to break down the walls of jealousy between the cities, and teach them to work together. I stand between the city associations and their merchants, becoming their advocate. I am the liaison between the merchants and their potential customers.”
(Pamela Gressett)

Please tell me what you think!

Can you tell us examples from your work as a planner that underline your negotiation 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 Carmen Gonsalves, Dafrine Jones-Forbes and Pamela Gressett for their valuable input!


#PlannersAre… Communication Professionals

In my last blogpost we have explored the impressive organizational skills of meeting planners. A succesful corporate event requires not only perfect logistics but also efficient communication between the meeting owner, suppliers, staff and visitors. As a meeting planner you must be able to relate their very different needs.

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Revealing the vision

“More often than not, I have clients approach me that ‘want an event’. When I was first starting I ‘planned an event’ that was logistically sound, but the client came back and said that the event failed. After that, I realized I had to take more initiative and listen to what the client was not saying and create/establish the vision and establish the course and objectives for the event so that it was successful in the clients eyes.”  (Janna Bowman, @JDuckEvents)

Before you start planning a meeting you need to figure out the purposes of the meeting owner. It can be pretty tough to get the good answers for all your questions because often the meeting owner has not thought about them himself.

Managing suppliers and staff

The venue, the caterer, speakers, the repairman… everyone will contact you about anything that has to do with the meeting. You know what’s next on the task list. You know what will happen next and when. You know who is in charge for what. Since nobody but you will keep track of the whole event you need to be most important contact person for everyone.

Multi-tasking Business Woman

Writing, publishing, branding

“When I started in event planning, I never would have imagined how much writing I would do, nor would I consider it something on my job description.  But I have found that every invitation, every program booklet and printed piece, every press release, every welcome letter from the President, presentation remarks, speeches and every website/registration site contains text. Text which tells the story, conveys the vision, and states the objectives and reason for the publication/website –marketing.”  (Janna Bowman, @JDuckEvents)

“As a meeting planner you become the face of  your organization and brand.”    (Kendra McMurray, @Meeting_Pro)

Many planners have the additional task to invite attendees and promote the event. Next to the writing attendees will contact you before the event  and you will follow them up after. Your external communication influences the success of the event and the your company’s image.

Please tell me what you think

Can you tell us examples from your work as a planner that underline your communicative 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 Carmen Gonsalves, Kendra McMurray and Janna Bowman for their valuable input.