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Jill Stone

Your Meeting Matchmaker Fairy Godmother

All the Other Events

in: Attendee Experience

As a meeting planner, can you enjoy the events of others? You don’t want to be hypercritical, but at the same time you cannot help but think, “What were they thinking?” And though they probably should have asked for your advice, you are also sort of happy that they did not ask for your advice. This sort of activity could start a cascade of free meeting planning advice that you may not be so ready to share. We, as meeting planners, have a whole other experience when it comes to the events of others. Can you relate?

Weddings: Sure some of the color choices are quite interesting and you may not be completely thrilled with the one-taste-fits-all menu, but hey, these folks are on a budget and you get that. The one sticky point that you take issue with, however, is the schedule; that strange block of time between wedding and reception. The couple and crew are off having forever photo memories taken and you and the other guests are stuck with hours of time without plans. Plus, let’s face it, your wedding outfit is not exactly spot on for running errands. The meeting planner in you knows that “free time” must still be scheduled and coordinated. Free time includes a checklist of items to choose from – like shopping, massages, tee time or teatime. This block of time can make meeting planners feel quite lost.

Showers: Be them of the wedding or baby variety, showers have magically stuck to the same format for eons and have been barely touched by technological advances. Though, yes, there is the occasional cringe-worth Facebook invite to a shower. But generally speaking, showers are food, gifts, and a few strange traditions (think paper plates adorned with bows, as created by the Maid of Honor). Meeting planners are expected to stay up with trends and make good use of them. How have showers escaped the trend thing? It is a mystery.

Other Meeting Planner Events: It can be hard – to not say – at least once during another’s event – this comment – “Really?” But resist it, less you create Event Karma.

Vacations: Can you ever stay in a hotel without seeing at least 5 room choices? Can you resist peeking in on the meeting rooms? Do you find yourself asking questions of the staff? Questions that have nothing to do with your vacation, but just in case you ever do take a meeting there you want to feel prepared? Do you ever ask to tour the hotel? Do you feel lost in your seemingly humongous hotel room since usually your room is also storage space for meeting paraphernalia? Do you have strange urges to ask to view your room bill each night? Go ahead and just answer “Yes” to all the above. I know, I so know.

Any Event that Runs Out of Anything: Yes, they should have asked you. Yes, you can calculate the amount of food, beer, wine, etc. to number of people and number of hours while standing on your head. Yes, you have contacts with awesome venues. Yes, they should not have spent so much money on a laser light and fireworks show, yet run out of Fill In Item That They Ran Out Of Here. And yes, they totally should have asked you.

Meeting planners live in a parallel universe that mere mortals simply cannot ever truly know. It is what it is. For more fun, check this hilarious take on how being a meeting planner ruins you for other parts of life.

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