Maybe you’ve attended a large conference or meeting for work as part of a training or team building initiative – but have you ever wondered how all of the many moving parts of an event come together? Drum roll… Professional Meeting Planners – also known as magicians who have the skills and creativity to work through even the toughest logistical challenges, and they make it look easy.
What are Meeting Planners Doing?
So what do Professional Meeting Planners do to help them be so effective? First – Meeting Planners are actually Project Managers in the truest sense of the title. And no matter what the circumstances, they use best-in-class project management tools and work processes that help keep them organized and on track.
Their responsibilities include selecting an appropriate venue, while keeping in mind any company-wide loyalties and discounts that might be applicable. A Meeting Planner leads vendor contract negotiations with facilities and suppliers, and develops comprehensive budgets and project timelines. They’ll execute a detailed game plan for an event’s logistics, and of course, act as on-site management for the entire event.
Professional Meeting Planners are strong collaborators who generally work with dozens of vendors.
Since many meetings are meant to showcase a company’s products and services – preparing the speakers and presenters is vitally important. Manager Planners will ensure that all conference and meeting guests are greeted, directed and roomed appropriately. Speakers usually have a demanding list of required arrangements including handouts, catering, room set-up, audio visual equipment and other special requests.
Getting Your Meeting Started Right
Professional Meeting Planners get in front of the planning process well in advance of the meeting kick-off. They ensure that they have all of the details and that they understand the objectives of the event very early in the process so that they can effectively manage the project efficiently. Also, Professional Meeting Planners are strong collaborators who generally work with dozens of vendors such as hotels, airlines, ground transportation companies, audio -visual, design and décor, technology, florists along with many others to execute the event. They’re also providing on-site assistance to attendees, speakers, vendors, sponsors and other special guests. And they don’t forget to keep their company informed by communicating regular status updates across staff teams, executives and external clients.
Why a Meeting Planner is Right for You
Juggling several tasks is not easy, and it takes a ton of energy to make an event into a memorable experience for the attendees and the key stakeholders who are hosting the program. So why would a company want to work with a Professional Meeting Planner? There are several reasons, such as:
- Scalability – hiring staff to run your events can be done on an as-needed basis, or if you have many events each year, you can build a designated team of planners to support all of your business requirements.
- Savings – Meeting Planners are experts at negotiations and can generally help you save a good deal of money on your event through the use of preferred suppliers as well as the knowledge that they have in helping design events on a budget.
- Sanity – Many companies will assign internal staff to run a meeting or event, and many do a fantastic job. But if you have a large sales program with hundreds of attendees and hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake, it might make sense to leverage a Meeting Professional to get the job done flawlessly, and without causing any additional gray hairs or late nights for your employees.
Interested in more tips on planning successful meetings? Check out our Simple Meetings Primer.