Professional Meeting Planners: Successful Meeting Planning


Meeting Planners

Meeting Planners can perform and manage just about every and any task associated with planning a meeting. The meetings, events, conferences, seminars, symposia, and other gatherings that they plan range from simple and small to large and complex. Successfully hiring a professional meeting planner, whether on a temporary basis, project basis, or as a permanent staff member, depends on matching the person with the right skill set, attitude, and personality to the meeting or meetings that need to be planned and the tasks that need to be performed.

Hiring a Meeting Planner

Before you hire a meeting planner, consider the meetings to be planned and the types of meeting planning tasks that the person will be responsible for. Meeting planning tasks can include:

  • Site Selection & Contract Negotiation
  • Meeting Room Design
  • Site Logistics
  • Food and Beverage Planning
  • Sign Preparation and traffic flow
  • Special Event Planning
  • On-Site Management
  • Audio-Visual Management
  • And More

If you are unfamiliar with the meeting planning process, at times, it is beneficial to first start by speaking with a consultant. A consultant can help you define who you need and what needs to be done.

If the tasks that need to be handled are specific, consider hiring a service that specializes in what you need performed. Typically, it better to offload tasks like on-site management, audio-visual management, or site selection and contract negotiations to services that do these types of tasks on regular basis. The result will cost less and be performed better. Services like GCG Event Partners have members who specialize in these types of meeting tasks and are an excellent resource when putting together the meeting planning team.

If the tasks are more general or if you need a person to manage most or all of the meeting, then you should consider hiring a meeting planner. Whether this person is permanent, temporary, or project based, completely depends on your circumstances. Focus on looking for a person with experience in the type of meeting that you need planned. While the core skills in meeting planning are the same, the challenges associated with planning 1,000 dinner meetings across the country are somewhat different than planning a corporate sales retreat. Find a person with the right experience. Again networks of meeting planners, like GCG Event Partners, are great place to start.

If you are hiring a person to handle a portion of the "core" meeting planning, like coordinating all the participants and the registration process, or possibly managing a large speaking staff, or even overseeing all aspects of attendee and VIP housing, then look for meeting planner that has more extensive experience in the area that you need help with.

Finding the ideal person can be a difficult task. Finding any meeting planner that can do the job can be challanging when you factor in time, budget, and location constaints. Most of the time, tradeoffs must be made; maybe the person has experience with your type of meeting, but hasn't done exactly what you need done, maybe it's the opposite. In any case, working with an organization that access to extensive meeting planning resources, like a company like GCG Event Partners, will typically benefit you.

Copyright © 2005 Gershaw Conference Group, Inc.