November 12, 2012
Crazy is a day in the life of a meeting planner! The only way that my fellow meeting planner colleagues and I can survive it is by being type A, over-achieving, Johnny-on-the spot, “game on” ALL THE TIME. Whether it’s planning those 10+ meetings we’re working on, to getting up on a Saturday morning to make sure every minute of the weekend is organized, to (if you’re me), getting up every morning for a 3-5-6-9 mile training run, meeting planners definitely stay busy! Adding fuel to the fire, I’ve set a goal to run a half marathon in every state, (number 10 in February).
Here’s a little peek into what my daily life as a planner looks like:
5:30am – Wake up, cup of Joe (okay, two), RUN!
7:30am – Target to get out the door to work, coffee to go.
8:30am – WORK. A typical day in the life of a planner: first thing, call your contacts somewhere in the world where their day is almost over, negotiate a contract and/or plan a meeting while keeping your patience dealing with language barriers, budget parameters and all those other requests for the current meeting(s) you’re working on.
9:30am – CRISIS. Here we go: requested meeting dates are on a second option, so the committee won’t be happy. Call your contact, push them to get other company to either contract or let the space go, pray for the latter. Sponsorship numbers are down, so schedule a call with sponsorship manager and create a plan and buy-in on how to bump up the numbers and increase sponsorship participation.
10:00am – REQUESTS. Many of them: need updated budget, RFP results and committee report updates for a last minute scheduled conference call with the executive committee. Lord give me strength. Need more coffee.
10:15am – REDIRECT. Shuffle priorities.
10:30am – INPUT. Receive a call from General Manager who would like input on destination options and availability for an event that “could” happen in six months. Complete budget updates, enlist help for RFP results and shift gears to research new request.
11:00am – RESEARCH. Board dinner locations, venue sponsors, ice-breakers, menus.
12:00pm – DEADLINES. Everything’s due now. Really? Can I buy another hour?
12:15pm – WHAT’S LUNCH? Too busy to go to lunch, eat at desk and follow up with venue for meeting no. 5 – any news on a first option hold? Nothing.
12:30pm – SPECS. Get it done to distribute to staff and temps for program review for meeting no. 1. Create talking points for temp staff training and schedule a time to review with them. That’s critical for a successful, seamless registration and on-site management. Follow up with GM and send all requested information (only 30 minutes behind schedule).
1:00pm – ANOTHER CRISIS. Huge sponsor pulled out for annual convention, try to enlist them for next year, then put on “sponsor” hat and dial for dollars, thanks to the help of staff!
1:30pm – ANOTHER REQUEST. Committee member wants to cancel an event already contracted. Follow up with Executive Director, and get direction on how to proceed (which means create a cancellation report that includes deadline dates, contract provisions and summary, monetary fees).
2:00pm – BE NICE. This is about the time I remind myself the importance of kindness, respect and knowing that being nice is what helps me get what I want, whether that’s meeting space, quick follow-up to requests, discounts and freebies. And, being nice is one of the most important things to being a meeting planner, trip staff or on-site temp staff. You never have a second chance to make a first impression! Kill them with kindness, it works every time!
2:30pm – BONUS. Major company wants to sponsor an international event with some serious $$ – pays to be….. Nice.
3:00pm – GO GREEN. Receive request from committee to source Green hotels for an upcoming event, we’re educating our committee members well! Sustainable practices are in high-demand for meeting planners as they increase the environmental performance, social value and business impact of events and meetings. Practice the three “R’s” – Recycle, Reuse, Reduce and continue to educate attendees to take hotels up on their Green initiatives (hang up your towels!!!!) and recycle everything you can (name badges, paper….)
3:30pm – SPEAKERS. Remind education contact to gather all necessary information and set speaker/panel expectations – when presentations are due, what format, deadline dates/timeline, special requests.
4:00pm – PLEASE DO NOT PANIC. There’s only (technically) a little over an hour left in the “office” and oh so much more to do – contract cancellation spreadsheet, RFP updates, emails, contract reviews, shipments (for no. 1 event), venue update report (for no. 2 event), contract negotiation clause summary (no. 9 event). My “to do” list is now two pages long.
4:30pm – UPDATE SOCIAL MEDIA. Send out messages to fellow industry contacts requesting ideas and input on Green Hotels, updated initiatives and international destination updates for targeted destinations.
5:00pm – BREATHE. Complete “to do” list as a result of the busy day’s events (revisit PLEASE DO NOT PANIC).
5:30pm – RUN. AGAIN. Great stress reliever 🙂
7:00pm – HOME. Review action item list, relax….
Next day…. DO IT AGAIN!