An Independent HelmsBriscoe Associate | 636-678-7661 |

Jill Stone

Your Meeting Matchmaker Fairy Godmother

Meeting Planner or Miracle Worker?

in: Meeting Planning Experience Meeting Planning Services

Maybe it is our can-do attitude, our difficulty in saying “no,” or our undeniable confidence in what we do, but meeting planners are often times viewed as modern-day miracle workers. And though the honor is quite appreciated, at times it can make us feel a bit wiggy, causing us to want to ask, “Are you kidding me?”

I came across a blog the other day from an individual who is an event manager and was quite entertained by what they had to share. Some of my favorites points are:

  • I can make any of my rooms larger or smaller, depending on your program needs. I will naturally remove any supporting pillars from your meeting space and will install windows in every room as needed. Unfortunately the ‘ocean view’ is not scheduled to arrive until Day Two of the program for which I sincerely apologize; however, I will move the convention center two feet to the left to accommodate your request by the end of Day One, although I realize the event is only next week.
  • Naturally it will be no problem to turn the plenary session for 200 (classroom style) into a hollow square for 300 with rear screen projection, simultaneous Japanese translation and satellite hook-up during the 15-minute coffee break.
  • In answer to all your questions, it is of course, understood that I am telepathically aware of all your speakers needs and I’ll set up an overhead, LCD panel, dual slide projectors, two screens, laser pointer, podium microphones, two table top microphones, podium knock-out switch, timer and blue M&Ms in each room, which I’ve negotiated at no extra charge, just in case they are needed.

So funny! And it got me thinking about some actual experiences that I have heard from some of my fellow meeting planner friends. One friend was telling me how she had planned an afternoon on the lake for her group; complete with pontoon boats and jet skis. The day would start with meetings, then lunch, then off to the lake they would go.

“The entire morning was filled scary weather; lightening crackling and room shaking thunder,” she remembers. “All the attendees were looking to me as if I had a direct line to Mother Nature and should be doing something to make it all stop. I kept saying, with a rather confident smile I might add, it will all be okay. Thinking, of course, that if this kept up I could certainly figure out something to keep them busy. I kid you not, as soon as the lunch ended, and as everyone was heading back to their hotel rooms, the clouds parted, the sun came out and the rest of the day was perfect for lake activities. I simply said to them all, ‘See, I told you everything would be fine.’”

Another friend shared with me a story about how her “cheap-skate boss,” (her words, not mine) was always looking to cut costs by using family member’s services. His mother-in-law had started an event decorating business and he told her she would need to use the mother-in-law’s services as she was “really good and willing to give them a great deal.” She practically fainted as tacky plastic flowers in dollar store vases and doilies were presented to her as the perfect table toppers for the event. “I told her that I loved her ideas, and that she was really getting my creative juices flowing,” says the meeting planner, “then asked if perhaps I could join her on a shopping trip to see what else we may find out there. During the trip, I made her feel as if my ideas were her ideas and ended up with table décor that fit my event far more appropriately than the plastic flower/doily idea she had originally brought to me. Whew!”

By the way, the blog I mentioned earlier is from the Crazy Waiter website. Definitely worth a read! Please email me your Meeting Planner as Miracle Worker story and you could be included in a future blog (of course, I will not use your name if we need to keep it a secret).

ALSO – I wanted to announce our contest winner, Mikel Robinson! Keep an eye out for an interview with her soon!

More from Jill: