We have all had similar moments before during a meeting or event. The sinking feeling when the power goes out at your venue, the airport transportation did not pick up your key attendees, or your outdoor event is threatened by rain. If not managed properly, these pitfalls can quickly throw your budget out of scope and ultimately lead to client and attendee dissatisfaction. Even the most experienced corporate meeting planners have encountered issues that threaten the success of an event. Here are some important tips on how to prevent and overcome challenges.
Be proactive – The planning process of every event should begin with a detailed task list, including deadlines. Begin building your tasks based on the key elements in your program budget and add the details from there. This will ensure that you are tracking out-of-scope changes and meeting key deadlines. COO, Todd Bludworth, says, “As one part of our planning strategy, we make it a point to meet with a fellow planner in our office who has no involvement with the event to obtain an ‘outsiders’ feedback on issues that could potentially arise. We then use this feedback to formulate backup plans.”
Rely on the expertise of vendors – Often we go into an event with a very particular vision, and that is necessary; however, sometimes this can prevent us from keeping an open mind. It is important to listen to and heed suggestions and warnings from vendors who are providing a service to the meeting. You hire and pay these vendors for their expertise, and they know their field the best. You still may be able to add your flair in a different way.
Plan back-ups for A/V – Yes, A/V requires a category all its own. Let’s face it, if something is going to go wrong, 90% of the time it is A/V-related. Every meeting planner’s tool kit should include A/V essentials. Suggested standards include universal chargers for laptops and hand-held devices, projector adapters for both mac and pc, laser pointers and slide advancers, extra batteries, memory sticks, etc. Make it a point to schedule times on your working agenda in advance to meet with presenters and check their presentations on show computers prior to the event.
Deliver what you have promised – It is easy to be sidetracked when something has gone awry, and your focus is naturally on correcting the issue. But don’t lose sight of all of the other aspects of the meeting. Put the problem in perspective and maintain your focus on delivering what you have promised.
Don’t let them see you sweat – Even when it seems like nothing more can go wrong, perception is key. If you remain cool and collected, the depth of a particular issue may not be obvious to the majority of the attendees and clients. Your demeanor alone can solely determine how deeply the overall event is affected. Having said that, it is important to review challenges after the event is over to evaluate the cause and make decisions about how to avoid future mishaps.
According to Bludworth, “The most important thing to remember is to use these situations as a valuable learning experience to shape your effectiveness as a corporate event planner.“
If you need assistance planning your next event call us today at +1.954.563.0714 or toll-free at 866.337.7799, or visit us at www.americanmeetings.com.