Eight tips and tricks from three experienced corporate meeting planners

All corporate meeting planners are constantly drowning in details, trying to get things together for the next meeting and worrying about the meeting after that one! Working “smarter” and not “harder” on their meetings, conferences, events and tradeshows is paramount to doing a great job. We gathered some of AMI’s Certified Meeting Planners together and asked them for some quick tips. Here is what they had to say:

Tips and tricks from three experienced corporate meeting planners

  1. After each event or meeting is finished, do an “after action analysis”. Jot down lessons learned of things you did right and what you would do differently if you were to plan the meeting today.
  2. Don’t always hire the lowest priced vendor. The vendors you hire have a direct reflection on you, your event and your company. Price is important, but so is reliability and professionalism.
  3. Always learn to congratulate people on their good work, whether it is people in your own company or vendors. Give credit where credit is due!
  4. When mailing out promotional pieces before a meeting or event, make sure to always add your speaker and vendors to the list. This will inform them on the times they are speaking, other topics and the schedule of the events.
  5. If you are expecting vendors, speakers or VIP’s to check in to a hotel the night before an event, leave them a note to check in with the meeting planner when they arrive. Also, always leave an emergency number where you can be reached.
  6. Don’t always wait until the last day to have an important speaker give a speech at an event. You may get more value out of the money you spent on the speaker if you schedule them the first day. By the end of a several day event, the attendees may be tired, or worried about getting home.
  7. Email is great documentation. Organize conversations, vendors, partners and client communications in sub-folders for easy reference. You will be glad you did.
  8. Handwritten thank you cards are not a waste of time. In fact, they are memorable and people remember them. Take the time and add that special touch!
About the author:

Andy McNeill, CEO of AMI, is a veteran of the meetings and event industries, with more than 25 years of experience in the profession. He has assisted firms in a variety of industries including pharmaceutical, biotech, healthcare, consumer, sports marketing and investment banking. He firmly believes in the strategic meeting marketing model and provides consulting services to Fortune 100 clients on the practice. After graduation from Florida State with a degree in marketing, Andy began his career in the event marketing group at Florida State Athletics. Soon after, he launched his own event marketing company and after five years merged with a major sports marketing firm. Andy spent six years with NSG Corporation as the Senior Vice President leading the sales and marketing for the firm who produced events for over 200,000+ attendees annually across the globe. Andy and the NSG team worked with the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta to produce portions of the Opening Ceremonies. Following NSG, Andy secured the role as COO at Fanizzi Associates, one of the nation’s largest event pharmaceutical firms. There he managed the overall operations of the company who executed over 400 events annually for physicians and internal pharmaceutical clients. Revenues exceeded $40 million a year. In 2002, Andy left Fanizzi Associates, and launched AMI with the vision of owning and operating a premiere event marketing and meeting management firm. Since 2002, AMI has grown into a multi-million dollar organization producing hundreds of events annually. The firm has managed programs in more than 20 industries for clients such as Novartis, Mars, Cleveland Clinic, J & J, Baxter, Pfizer and Office Depot. Andy’s vision of keeping AMI on the forefront of meetings technology, theory and practice has made it an industry leader. He is a member of MPI, Site, and the American Marketing Association. He volunteers as a chair of the Human Rights Campaign. Andy's day-to-day responsibilities include client acquisition, consulting and overall company strategy.

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