Top Ten Rules for Planning Ahead

10. Be Organized- is the golden rule of event and meeting planners. It is what we offer to our clients, we take the chaos out of planning, and create meetings that just seem to flow. Whova has a list of event planning software (that is FREE) that can help you organize your next ROCKSTAR event.

9. Communicate Clearly- George Bernard Shaw said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Remember you can't just tell people something and assume that they heard what you said. My advice is to communicate clearly, and then check to make sure that your client, colleague or vendor has the same understanding that you do.

8. Have a contingency plan- the often overlooked, unsexy part of meeting planning. Being able to predict the unpredictable is the best way really wow your clients. Make a list of everything that has gone wrong at previous events, and everything that can go wrong. ( It will be a long list) Take time to go over with your venue and your client, to ensure you are prepared for any possibility.

7. Have a Contingency Plan for your Contingency Plan. If you have to implement PLAN B…. there is a good chance you will need Plan C as well. Being over prepared and ready for anything, will make your clients raving fans!

6. Know your venue, your menu, and your schedule. Staff on site must know what is happening, where, and any exceptions, special needs or requests. Keep everyone informed.

5. Anticipate potential problem areas- Alesandra Dubin @alicedubin at BizBash recently posted 12 Solutions to Common Problems at Events. From weather to overcrowding, to low turnouts, there is a solution to every problem you may encounter.

4. Be Available- Your job is not finished when the event starts. Being available to your client, whether an internal client like your boss, or someone who has hired you to plan an event, just being available to them while the event is in progress will make you invaluable, and they will recognize you have it all under control.

3. Thank Everyone- There is always room for more Thank Yous. A simple thank you goes a long way. Consider in advance whom you will need to thank, and then be ready to write thank you notes after a meeting or event. Make sure you don't just thank the boss, but pay attention to the staff and notice who went the extra mile, thank them and let his or her manager know what a great job they did.

2. Be Flexible- I know we are meeting planners, we like to plan, to create order, we don't like changes. Being ready to make changes at the last minute, having alternatives ready if something doesn't go well, creating order out of the chaos, that is what makes us invaluable. So while flexibility may not come naturally to all of us, planning to be flexible will take you far.

  1. Be Kind. I just can't say this enough. Kindness pays off. People want to work with someone who is kind, and all that you give you will get back. Jane Dutton, from the University of Michigan, investigated kindness in the workplace. She says,”Across our studies, we demonstrate that respectful engagement is more than simply a nice way to interact, but is a catalyst and cultivator of creativity. Nice guys don't finish last, and wouldn't you rather work with a kinder version of yourself?

Be organized, be prepared, have a back-up plan, say Thank You, and BE KIND! You will create meeting and events, that people want to attend and your clients will want to work with you all the time.