Becoming a sought-after meeting planner doesn’t happen by chance.
It takes hard work and dedication.
Even the most experienced event coordinator can benefit from these 9 meeting planner tips that can push your success over the top.
Let’s dive in.
1. Less is more
This event is important for your career. But it’ll fail miserably if you try to cram too much into each session.
Remember that your main objective is for your audience to leave ready to take action.
2. Marathon sessions won’t get you anywhere
Brief sessions – around 40 minutes versus an hour – will force your presenters to condense their talk into the most important points. You HAVE to prepare more when you have less time in order to focus on what is really important.
And isn’t that what you want?
You don’t need the extra gobbledy-gook.
3. Ask for what you want
Don’t hesitate to ask vendors and sponsors the big question: “Is that the best you can do?”
Find out what else they can offer you that will add value for the attendees of your event.
Check out these examples:
- Ask the speakers for recording rights without a charge.
- Request additional breakout sessions from your speakers.
- Ask a vendor if they’re willing to donate a cool prize.
- See if the hotel will provide a free meeting-room space or a discount on meals.
- Ask any vendors exhibiting at your event for additional sponsorship money.
4. Choose a killer theme
Pick a theme and a positioning tagline that your audience will get excited about.
Make it relevant and weave throughout each part of the event.
There are tons of fun ways to incorporate a topic – get creative.
5. The speakers you choose can make or break the event
This is one of the most crucial tips for meeting planners.
The opening speaker sets the tone for the whole event, so you want to choose someone who has the experience, background and techniques to energize the crowd.
Breakout groups and various sessions build momentum.
Then, the closing speaker has the task of energizing the attendees as they go out and put what they learned into action.
When you get the opening and closing speaker right the rest of the event will fall into place.
6. Provide conference survival kits
Every great meeting planner’s goal is to create a memorable experience for the audience. Match them to your location, such as the beach, mountain, resort etc.
A fun little gift makes the attendees feel appreciated and adds a personal touch to your event.
It also provides another chance for you to showcase your creativity – and reinforce the theme you’ve so carefully chosen.
Here are some examples to get your wheels turning:
- Journals and/or pens for taking notes.
- Nicely designed note cards that showcase the theme as a reminder.
- Follow-up activities, like access to an app that helps them track their goals.
- Everyone loves “event swag” like shirts, jackets, hats, beach towels.
- Place special treats in their rooms are fun too.
7. Send out a “to-bring” reminder
This takes very little time and will earn you big-time meeting-planner points.
All you have to do is send out an informative email a few days before the event.
Include the weather forecast for the span of the conference, as well as a reminder to bring the essentials like a bathing suit (if the hotel has a pool), sunglasses, or anything you can think of that will enhance their experience.
It’s a good idea to cover the basics again, such as the address of the event center and any important scheduling information.
Make sure to use language that will get the attendees pumped for the event.
And don’t forget to re-emphasize the theme.
8. Be strategic about breaks
Don’t gloss over this important event-planning tip.
Of course, your audience needs ample breaks. Otherwise, you’ll mentally lose them pretty quickly.
It’s a good idea to always schedule a break before the opening and closing speakers.
You want to make sure that the audience is attentive throughout these high-impact parts of the event.
Intersperse plenty of 20-30-minute breaks throughout the whole conference, too. A single 15-minute break is just not realistic.
Not only will the breaks help keep energy levels high, but giving attendees time to talk with each other offers a ton of value, too.
9. High-energy is the name of the game
No matter how you cut it, energy is essential.
Here are a few ways to get it going:
- Music matters!
- Create a playlist of great music that ties into the theme.
- Always have the music pumping before you open the doors.
- Play music during the breaks, too.
Taking the 20-30-minute breaks we already talked about is essential – but it’s not the only way to keep mental engagement high.
Throughout the event, make sure your presenters include 30-45-second movement breaks for the audience.
Ask questions, have them stand up and engage in small groups of three to five people, and then share their answers.
Or have someone leads some stretches, bounce beach balls through the audience – anything goes.
This quick little burst will provide the boost needed to get right back into paying attention.
Or better yet, your keynote speaker should get the audience to be active throughout the presentation.
Make sure you’re working with a presenter who knows how to bring an infectious energy to any crowd.
Tips every meeting planner should know
To get ahead as a meeting planner, you need to have the right tools at your disposal.
Following these 9 tips can ensure that every event you put on is a success.