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:
- Communication skills. Planners communicate with clients, suppliers, and venue staff. They must have excellent written and oral communication skills.
- Composure. In a fast-paced environment, planners must be able to make quick decisions while remaining calm under pressure.
- Customer-service skills. Planners must understand their clients’ needs. They must act professionally in a variety of situations, know how to keep an audience engaged, and help participants network with peers.
- Interpersonal skills. Planners must establish and maintain positive relationships with clients and suppliers.
- Organisational skills. World-class meetings require planners to be detail-oriented and be able to multitask and meet tight deadlines.
- Problem-solving skills. When problems arise, planners must be ready with answers and have workable options that will satisfy clients.
- Tech-savvy. Additionally, effective meeting planners keep up with technology. According to Meetings Imagined, 64% of event planners use four to seven technologies to plan an event. They say that most meeting planners are getting continuing education on mobile apps and social media.
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.
Karstens has dedicated meeting planners who are passionate about making your event a standout on your attendees’ business calendar. Give us a call or fill out a quote request form to discuss your requirements.