A meeting planner handles all the details before and during business meetings or conventions. Meeting planners decide on locations for meetings and make all the bookings. They book not only the meeting space, but make arrangements for speakers and caterers. Planners must make sure all of the needed audio visual and computer equipment is at the meeting site on time and is working properly. A meeting planner attends the meeting to greet attendees and handle any problems as well as to distribute and collect attendee comment cards.
Following up on meeting results is an important part of being a meeting planner and many planners hand out comment cards to attendees. Good planners are always trying to improve their skills. Comments from attendees of the meeting can help the planner find any problems he or she didn’t notice so that hopefully the same mistakes aren’t repeated at future meetings.
The purpose of the meeting must be kept in mind by a planner as he or she makes all of the arrangements for the event. For example, if a corporate meeting was being held for the main purpose of introducing a new company product to senior managers, the planner would try to find speakers that were the most knowledgeable about the item. Depending on the product, he or she may also arrange to have the products distributed by an assistant at the appropriate time during the meeting. At the event, a meeting planner may introduce speakers on a platform or stage.
Meeting planners must make all arrangements for events fit within the budget allotted to them. To avoid cancellation or other fees, a meeting planner must be adept at allowing the proper amount of time to book space and services. He or she must also understand contracts and how to choose the best proposal from proposals submitted by several different firms. Meeting planners are usually required to have at least a bachelor’s degree.
Registration of attendees is carefully handled by a meeting planner. Meeting planners must be sure to inform attendees of meeting schedules as well as arrange for accommodation and transportation for employees attending meetings out of town. Planners must also make sure that informational items such as trade show brochures are properly printed and delivered on time.
Traveling is a large part of many meeting planners' careers. Most planners will stay in nice hotels, as corporate seminars tend to be held in attractive surroundings. However, planners must be sure to monitor the set up details as well as their planned events during the meeting and starting work early in the morning is usually required. A meeting planner must always remember even the tiniest thing, such as making sure name tags have arrived on time and are accurate.