Sage Advice to Young Meeting Planners

Meeting PlannerAs an experienced (OK, older) meeting planner, I see myself in so many of the new young planners coming into the business.  Excited, overwhelmed, eager, and trying to find my niche in this crazy business.

I see people who cover their inexperience with brashness and commands and others too meek to question what anyone tells them, thereby getting run over by others to the point where they don’t know what to do.  And, of course, everything in between.

I must admit, I had no training and no experience when I was thrown (rather unceremoniously) into this business.  I became one of the brash, commanding people because I felt I had the backing of the internationally-known company where I worked.  Little did I realize the more experienced people quietly helped correct my mistakes, ignored some of my more unrealistic requests and helped me learn to correctly do the job.

As I work with people who are relatively new in the business I often hear, “I hate to ask a stupid question, but …”  I always tell them and will say it again now; there is no such thing as a stupid question.

If you are new to meeting planning:

  • Ask the questions to learn … we’ve all been in your position; but, please take notes.  I do not mind at all answering questions, training and educating.  Asking the same question a couple of times is fine, I don’t expect you to understand everything the first time.  However, after the third or fourth time the same question is asked I begin to wonder why you aren’t paying attention and, quite frankly, what your work will be like; which then makes me become the micro-manager you don’t like.
  • Being pushy, aggressive, brash, whatever you want to call it, will get you nowhere other than the reputation of being hard to work with.   This does not mean you cannot be confident, but strive to work in a partnership.
  • Be open to new ideas.  What you learned even 6 months ago may not hold true today in this ever-changing and always evolving business
  • Listen and learn.  Those war stories usually have a lesson in them if you listen closely.

Most of all, enjoy yourself.  We have so many opportunities and options.  So many chances to learn about ourselves and the world.  Don’t miss the great experiences out there that will turn you into a confident, experienced, and sought-after planner.

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