For every one of our client meetings, staff pre-plan, re-plan, adjust, pack, ship and prepare for the unexpected —and the expected.
In preparing for the “big show,” however large or small, I reiterate to both our client and property staff the important aspects of the meeting, my expectations — and some of my pet peeves.
- Remember why we’re here. It is a privilege to be working with our members. Treat them like royalty.
- Best foot forward. For sure!
- First impressions count. Hotel, meeting space room sets should be in tip-top shape. The meeting room is the living room for your attendees. Are you proud to have them over?
- No garbage. No boxes, scraps of paper, used coffee cups or plates anywhere that attendees can see them.
- No eating at registration. It’s important for staff to keep up their energy in order to be on the top of their game, but eating should be done in the staff office or with attendees. One of my pet peeves when attending meetings as a registrant is “interrupting” staff from their breakfasts at the registration counter. Drinks are OK.
- Communication is essential. I schedule daily, or twice daily debriefs with client and venue staff. It’s just a few minutes to plan for the day’s events, make adjustments, set expectations, etc.
Case in point
We just finished another record-breaker, world-class event for AMPED client, www.controlsys.org. Upon arrival at the CSIA conference and following the pre-con, my meeting planner and I were not pleased with the physical condition of the property and expected the hotel to be more proactive with us in communicating some deficiencies we discovered on our own. This is where communication comes in. We swiftly requested a meeting with the general manager and heads of key departments to express our concerns and expectations. I was extremely impressed with their ability to respond, make changes and quickly adjust – a true sign of professionalism and value.
The real-time, back-stage adjustments that take place at an annual meeting are a very tangible example of those that association managers make each day as we respond to members’ needs, requests from leaders and new opportunities – all while focusing on the proactive work of retaining members, growing the associations, advancing the strategic plan and improving governance. It is a pleasure to have industry partners who share the same values and can turn things around quickly!
Communication is typically the key. And starts at the top!