An effective meeting planner may be the single most important person to the success of any organised business event. Many large corporations or governments hosting continual events may retain their own meeting planners. Other organisations may choose to bring a meeting planner onboard on an event-by-event basis.
Just what does a meeting planner do to leave you confident that the event was a good business decision?
Forward planning is key
A meeting planner’s job begins months, sometimes years, before the event itself. Colleen Donnelly, writing for etouches, suggests that an effective meeting planner begins by considering the goals and objectives of the event. The meeting planner may even be able to recommend whether or not the event should even take place!
Donnelly says to aspiring event planners, “Analyse the results and provide the data to your stakeholders about the return on investment (ROI) or return on objective (ROO) for each of your events. Be brave enough to admit the meeting you have been planning for ten years just isn’t a good business decision if you cannot come up with a way to turn it into a good business decision.”
Rob Hard, editor of Business Travel Destinations, says that a meeting planner will understand the intent of the event, or its business rationale. He or she will then work with a range of individuals within the hosting organisation, and then arrange all the external resources such as venues, transportation companies, caterers, printers, and designers.
“The meeting planner or event planner must keep track of all logistics, troubleshoot problem situations, and keep everyone involved informed about their roles and responsibilities,” says Rob Hard.
A meeting planner’s brief will include determining the format and style of the event. They need to coordinate every detail from speakers and location to printed materials and audio-visual technology. Will there be a need for interpreters? Wheelchair access? Special dietary requirements?
Essential qualities of effective meeting planners
Truity Psychometrics, a career assessments organisation, lists the following essential qualities for an effective meeting planner:
During the event itself, an effective meeting planner should be ever present, but almost invisible. They must anticipate not only what they have planned, but also the unexpected.
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