What Meeting Professionals should Know to Become Successful

May 28, 2021 - 2:44 pm
What Meeting Professionals should Know to Become Successful
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Meeting professionals' job is both rewarding and rated as one of the most stressful in the world. You need a diverse set of skills to become successful.

There’s no question that the meetings industry is constantly changing. In recent years, it has been impacted by various factors from the sharing economy and lifestyle hotels to rising security concerns and the evolving needs of attendees in the digital age.

As a meeting professional, you need to simultaneously juggle several tasks: from planning an agenda that’ll produce creative and realistic outcomes, collaborating with a lot of people and groups, to sourcing spaces.

Photo by Bethany Legg on Unsplash.

In this article, we’ve put together top tips for meeting professionals to help you become successful.

Tips for Meeting Professionals

1. Be visible and understand your basics.

Let’s face it: you can’t be in two places at the same time. Meeting planning involves a ton of organising. That is why meeting professionals, often referred to as the back of the house areas, need to be working diligently behind the scenes to ensure that everything is unfolding as planned. However, it’s also crucial for them to be where the event is happening as well. Ensuring the delegates are taken care of and are having a good time are sure ways to please a client.

As a meeting professional, your job is to be the glue that brings the team together for a winning event. However, this doesn’t mean that you are the best person to handle each piece of the event. But it is important to have the best understanding of what’s happening. For example, as an event planner, you should be versed in how to make a floorplan, what an RFP is, how long the dinner service will take, how many people can fit in a room, and how to work with catering staff. Event professionals should also be knowledgeable about the basic needs of bands and DJs, rentals, florists and décor. You also need to understand what is a reasonable (and an unreasonable) request.

Knowing these basics will help you build better relationships with your suppliers and help you create great event experiences for everyone involved.

2. Communicate effectively and clearly.

A meeting professional must be able to think ahead and plan out all of the necessary steps required to execute a successful meeting or event. Thus, communication skills are essential. You have to be able to communicate effectively to get the desired results.

It may seem obvious how important it is to communicate effectively and clearly; however, poor communication (or no communication at all) can ruin events, relationships, and careers.

Client meeting. Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash.

The following are some key tips for effective communication:

Communicate a clear understanding of the event.

When you meet with a new client, don’t leave the meeting without clearly establishing the event’s purpose, estimated size, and budget.

Ask questions and then restate your understanding of the answers back to your client to eliminate all doubt.

You have to be this thorough. If something could be misconstrued or misunderstood, then chances are it will be. One of the most sinking feelings in the world is working for weeks or even months on an event only to find that your ideas are not in line with the client’s goals. Even worse is to find this out during the event. Geez!

Clearly express yourself in writing.

Since meeting professionals often communicate with clients, suppliers, vendors through email, you must also be able to clearly express yourself in writing. An understanding of contractual language also proves useful as you frequently use contracts to protect both yourself and your client. Thus, it is strongly suggested to use a lawyer to help you draft the standard contracts you will use with your clients.

Communicating effectively also means expressing yourself clearly in writing. Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash.

In addition, proofreading is an important part of ensuring you are communicating effectively. Whether you are drafting an email, a newsletter, or a policy, proper proofreading can help make certain that you are correctly portraying what you want to say. Truth is, even the simplest typo can give your client the impression that you lack attention to detail or are not serious about what you are saying.

As a meeting professional, you are also working with third parties like Destination Management Companies (DMC) who are experts in the local market. Having the right tool will help your interaction with your partner DMCs, like turpal, a smart destination solution. One of its powerful features is serving as a platform that makes way for a smooth three-way communication between you (the event professional), your partner DMC, and the guests.

3. Balance the power of technology and human interaction.

Speaking of tools, we now have technology and information as we’ve never had before. But it should not replace you in doing the core things of the job. This means that technology should be running in the background, not functioning as the focal point. Use technology for maximum efficiency and productivity, but never lose human interaction.

4. Be aware of how budget cuts affect the overall event.

It’s one thing to be able to trim dollars off of an event, but it takes a skilful person to be able to have budget cuts without it affecting the overall meeting or event. Therefore, if you need to reconsider your budget, it is wise to ask the local experts for their input. They should be able to propose a few areas to consider trimming without negatively affecting the event itself.

5. Be a leader: organised and creative.

Meeting professionals indeed wear many hats. But the one most important hat has to do with leadership skills. A meeting professional needs to be a leader. There’s no doubt that he or she needs to take charge of situations and orchestrate a team to execute the program. Certainly no small task.

Taking charge of situations and orchestrating a team to execute the program are no small tasks. Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash.

Meeting planners are highly organised people; thus, a must-have quality is a keen eye for detail and sharp organisation. They keep client timelines on schedule, budgets in check, and details running like a well-oiled machine. They are expected to recall even the smallest of details, meet deadlines, schedule deliveries and setups, and be on time with everything – all with a smile.

Clients look to you for cutting-edge ideas, so always be prepared to brainstorm creative ideas. While every client may not be ready to test the event design waters, they’ll look to you as a counsellor on elements of design they do feel comfortable with.

Final Word for Meeting Professionals

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash.

Being a meeting professional is both a rewarding job and rated to be one of the most stressful in the world. So when it comes to securing a successful path through the events industry, you need a diverse set of baseline event planning skills to help you.

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