MELINDA REBREK’S HOW TO GUIDE TO BECOMING A SUCCESSFUL MEETING PLANNER
Plan everything, even imaginary event disasters. Having a plan B, even C, often comes in handy. When shit hits the fan, it will probably be a plan D, but having possible solutions to various problems helps.
2. Don’t panic
No situation is as bad as it seems at first, take a moment to think and then react. That short moment can save the day.
Hire a team of professionals that are the best (yes, waaaaay better than you) in their field of expertise and trust them. Delegating and letting people do their best is a good thing (with a bit of control, of course, all ‘creative kids’ need some). Being great at managing the project is OK, but you cannot do it all by yourself. You are good, not God!
4. Do the walk
Before every event, do the walk along the venue same way guests will. Find the possible oversights and use the time left for corrections. Only then you can be sure that you and your team are prepared.
5. Say it out loud
Sometimes problems seem bigger in your head then in reality, articulating them puts them in the right place. Be honest and open, talking about them leads to solutions. Explain yourself, ask for help, talk to the client and your team. You ARE the expert and your job is to deliver the best experience possible, it is no big secret that solution seeking is a process. Preferably before event ☺.
6. Use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’
Our parents taught us those are the magic words. They are.
7. Meet the real influencers
Don’t ever underestimate people without big and shiny titles. Be nice to them, a genitor, doorman, secretary and a cleaning lady are often those who will save your behind when something goes wrong. A smile, a quick chat or a meal brought to them in the backstage, can go a long way.
8. Name it by its real name
Calling a problem a challenge is a new age thing that slowly crawled into politically correct vocabularies. A challenge is a goal you SHOULD, MIGHT or WISH to accomplish (and nothing crucial happens if you don’t), at events, we have problems that MUST be solved. Immediately. Or else. So, call it as it is and act on it.
9. Pay on time
Yes, we love our jobs, but bills are paid with money, not love. If the event is on time and done well (and most of them are), it is only fair to pay people who made it happen. On time and well. It’s a great start to long, happy and prosperous collaborations.
10. Don’t forget to smile
Events are stressful, exhausting and sometimes draining, even though we love to do them, sometimes they just manage to wipe that smile off our faces. Quite a while ago I read a research quite about a simple experiment: to make a long story short, the experiment proved that even in a bad mood, standing in front of a mirror, putting a forced smile on your face sends positive signals to your brain and automatically makes you feel better. I tried it. It works. So, do it. Smile off the problems and boldly step into whatever awaits.
Photo credits: David Lotrič, Jure Makovec, Peter Irman, Archive of European Commission