They say that the difference between a boss and a leader is that a boss directs people to get the desired results and the leader develops (and motivates) people to get the desired results. I’ve worked with both types and I can tell you personally that a leader is much better to work for, or rather with.
As you’re reading the following tips/skills think about the different personality types of planners that you’ve worked with in the past. Chances are if they fit into one or two of the qualities listed below then they were probably well on their way to being a leader in the industry.
1) Be visible.
I know, I know. You can’t be in two places at the same time. Meeting planning involves a ton of organizing. Because of that meeting planners need to be working diligently behind the scenes, often referred to as the back of the house areas, to ensure that everything is unfolding as planned. But it’s also crucial for the planners to be where the event is unfolding as well. Ensuring the delegates are being taking care of and having a good time is one sure way to please a client.
2) It’s not always about the technology.
As someone who has come out of the dark ages it’s nice to see technology taking its rightful place. What I mean by that is we now have, at our fingertips, technology and information like we’ve never had before. But at the same time this technology should be running in the background (not being the focal point). In other words human interaction is still crucial in the meetings and events industry. Yes we want the technology to handle efficiencies, etc. But we very much still want that human interaction. To me a meeting planner that understands this is already one step ahead of his or her competition.
3) Be aware of how your budget cuts affect the overall meeting.
It’s one thing to be able to trim dollars off of an event but it takes a skillful person to be able to trim a budget without it affecting the overall flow of the meeting or event. Take transportation for example. I once worked with a planner who told me to cut the return transfer coaches out of and events budget. I tried, to no avail, to demonstrate to my client how this would affect her delegates. All she could see where the dollar signs that needed to be trimmed and said that people would have no problem getting their own transportation back to the hotel. Yeah right. Her guests were infuriated when my team had to tell them that they only had arrange transportation one-way. Trust me if you need to trim money off of your budget ask the local experts for their input. They should be able to propose a few areas to consider trimming without it affecting the overall flow of the event itself.
If you don’t tell us what’s on your mind how in the heck are we ever going to know what you want? Communication skills are essential for a good leader. Unfortunately there are way too many people in our industry who don’t know how to communicate effectively in order to get the desired results. As such many inexperienced planners end up coming across as stressed as many of them run around screaming instructions, often at the last minute. The word planner is in the title for a reason. A meeting planner must be able to think ahead and plan out all of the necessary steps required to execute a successful meeting or event. Hosting a pre-con meeting (that’s a meeting where all of the components are reviewed with the team before hand) is a crucial planning step.
5) Conduct a post-mortem.
This one dovetails the communication tip above. Like preplanning, a post-mortem can be constructive towards future events. Understanding where things fell short is not about assigning blame. Rather it should be taken as something to learn from so that it doesn’t get repeated for the next event.
It’s true that a meeting planner wears many hats. But the one hat that is most important is the one to do with leadership skills. A meeting planner 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. If you’ve worked with a planner that has possessed a few of these skills then chances are you’ve had the privilege to work with a true leader.
About Andrew Maxwell from MasterTheEvent.com
Andrew is an entrepreneur who focuses on customer service and is respected for his attention to detail. His hospitality career began in hotels, working his way through various food and beverage positions. From there he excelled in hotel operations, holding several managerial positions including Senior Operations Manager with Canada’s largest hotel.
Andrew’s financial acumen and his ability to develop and enhance his companies business strategies helped propel his full service destination management company (DMC) into one of the largest databases of online resources for the meetings and events industry in North America.
He has a well established online presence. By networking on the top social media platforms Andrew has developed a large, organic, following.