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  • feedwordpress 15:45:00 on 2020/04/14 Permalink
    Tags: meetings   

    Fail to Plan; Plan to Fail – Meeting Planning Success 

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    Planning and executing meetings and events is no easy task and requires a PLAN and a PROCESS and a TEAM of experts to make it happen and for it to be deemed a success. If you fail to plan appropriately, you are setting yourself up to fail and who wants to do that? Not me and hopefully not you.

    So, what do you need to do to prevent failure when planning a meeting, to insure success instead?

    For starters, you need a design or planning team to help flush out goals and objectives and key messages. Remember goals must be specific, measurable, achievable, results-oriented and time-sensitive and begs questions such as:

    • Why exactly are we doing this meeting?
    • How/who will determine a meeting’s goals and objectives and the key roles people will play in the process?
    • How will key messages be delivered and by whom?
    • What new knowledge and/or understanding of revised protocols will attendees take away from the meeting?
    • How much time is needed to cover each topic?

    Wait – there’s more. Who is your target audience? Once you have identified your goals and objectives and key messages, you’ll be in a better position to determine who to invite to the meeting, how many people you’re talking about, how high up or down the chain of command do you go.

    My Overall Meeting Action Plan template is a great tool to help you document this all out. Next, you need to consider where to hold the meeting: What type of venue will work best to help you accomplish your goals and objectives? City or suburban hotel, conference center or a resort perhaps?

    • How many and what type of guest rooms will you need and for how many nights?
    • How many meeting rooms?
    • Is it just one general session room and no breakouts?
    • If breakouts are required, are they needed all day, every day or ……?
    • How should each meeting room be set?
    • What type of audio-visual equipment, staging, and production will each room require?
    • Do you require a 24-hour hold on space?
    • Extra time for pre and post set up and tear down (especially true for large-scale stage productions)?

    What about your food and beverage needs?

    • Do you require food and beverage service?
    • Same room as general session or separate?
    • Buffet or sit down?
    • Evening functions?

    Will there be any time for recreation?

    Understand that if you don’t have a clear understanding of your meeting room needs from the start and you go to contract and then somewhere along the line, changes happen, that the venue you’ve chosen may no longer work for you. Then what? You need to think this through very carefully. My Request for Proposal (RFP) template will help you define your guest room and meeting specs for the venues under consideration lessening the chance for any misunderstandings.

    Seems overwhelming doesn’t it? It does and it will unless you first have a PLAN and a PROCESS in place to help you.

    My book “The Meeting Planning Process: A Guide to Planning Successful Meetings” was written for just this purpose.

    It should give you the structure and tools you need to keep you and your team focused, on task, and on time. The all-important Meeting Time Line template will help you identify tasks, assign the right people to the right tasks and help you keep track of when assignments are due.

    To order a hard copy of my book, click here. To order a digital eBook copy of my book, click here.

    The post Fail to Plan; Plan to Fail – Meeting Planning Success appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

  • feedwordpress 15:15:00 on 2020/02/10 Permalink
    Tags: , meetings,   

    Finding my Niche by Mary Jo Wiseman 

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    Not all people who plan meetings are “meeting planners,” nor do all meeting planners start out their careers as meeting planners. I for one, started out on a clerical/administrative path with absolutely no knowledge at the time that a career in meeting planning even existed (and at the time it probably didn’t).

    Truth be told, I had no intention when I first returned to the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom of working for the rest of my life or until retirement. But as it turns out, that’s exactly what I did. 

    The first time I became involved in planning meetings was in my role as an office manager in the Grants and Development Office of a state university. This office reported to a Board of Trustees and was responsible for planning and executing quarterly board meetings.

    Did I think of this as “meeting planning”? I did not. 

    Did I know the difference between a board room or conference room set and a classroom set? I did not.

    BUT, I learned and I learned quickly by making some mistakes early on. 

    What I also learned was that I liked what I was doing and that I was good at it – or had the potential to be. I also knew I needed and wanted to learn more so I set out on a professional development journey and did the following.

    • Changed job, moving to an administrative assistant position in HR with a Fortune 500 company where I was able to get a big picture perspective of the potential for further career opportunities.  
    • Learned of a possible opening in the Conference Services area; requested informational interview.
    • Responded to an eventual job posting as a meeting planner; accepted the job and was on my way:   I’d found my niche.  

    Did it stop there?  Absolutely not! From there, I:

    • Joined Meeting Professionals International.
    • Attended monthly educational programs and their annual educational conferences.
    • Read all the hospitality-related materials I could get my hands on.
    • Chaired a CMP study group to learn all I could learn before sitting for the CMP exam.
    • Become a Certified Meeting Professional. 

    In an effort to share with others the key strategies I learned throughout my 24+ year career as a corporate meeting planner,  I wrote my first book: The Meeting Planning Process: A Guide to Planning Successful Meetings

    My book offers a practical overview of the entire planning process for people just starting out in the business or meeting planning veterans alike.  It offers valuable insight and tips to help CREATE the perfect EXPERIENCE for your audience by staying true to the basic elements of the planning process.

    The guide is intended to lead you through the proper steps and the sequence of tasks involved in planning a meeting.  It also includes handy templates including a Meeting TimeLine, an Overall (Meeting Action) Plan, and a Request for Proposal (RFP) as well as descriptions and diagrams of possible room setups.

    If you need a standard operating guide or need to get everyone using the same formats, my guide could give you a great start.  It should give you the structure and tools to keep you and your team focused, on task and on time. I found my niche.  It took time, it took patience and I did it on my own time table.   If you haven’t yet found your niche, I hope my story will give you the courage to keep challenging yourself and moving forward when the time is right for you.

    “The Meeting Planning Process: A Guide to Planning Successful Meetings” is available in the Office Dynamics Success Store. Grab a copy here.


    The post Finding my Niche by Mary Jo Wiseman appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

  • feedwordpress 19:59:28 on 2019/08/28 Permalink
    Tags: , , , meetings, ,   

    Quick Tip #91: Working the Room 

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    Working the room is far more than just a term. Learn how to engage large audiences so each person feels like you are speaking directly to them.

  • feedwordpress 17:00:54 on 2019/08/28 Permalink
    Tags: , Calendaring, , meetings,   

    Too Many Meetings!! – Managing My Executives Calendar – Ask an Admin 

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    Ask an Admin was created by Office Dynamics to help administrative professionals with their problems through the help of their peers. We don’t always have an answer to each individuals problem but we know some of you might. Please read the question and comment below.

    April M. asks:

    My executive’s calendar is jam-packed on a daily basis & she’s asking me to come up with a better solution to managing her calendar. She needs time to do work, answer emails, etc, but the requests for meetings are constant and a lot of them are at her request. They are needed. They are necessary to schedule. But how do you balance ‘free’ time with meeting times? I block out time on her calendar, but inevitably a meeting gets put in its place. We’ve tried to do only 5 meetings per day, but more often than not it winds up being 7 or 8 or more! I made the suggestion that decisions/discussions happen over email vs. in person in a meeting – but that’s not possible either most of the time. Does anyone have a good meeting/scheduling hack they use? Any good tips for me?

    Thank you!

    Office Dynamics actually has some info on this subject (see below) but we’d love to hear what tips or advice you have. Please leave a comment below.

    We have an eBook called, Mastering Your Executive’s Calendar, a blog Calendar Management for Executive Assistants, videos, Calendar Management for Executive Assistants—the Holistic Approach, Administrative Assistant – Complex Calendar Control, Executives & Assistants Working In Partnership: The Definitive Guide to Success and Managing Your Executive’s Day.

    The post Too Many Meetings!! – Managing My Executives Calendar – Ask an Admin appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

  • feedwordpress 15:30:12 on 2019/08/22 Permalink
    Tags: meetings   

    What is a Meeting Planner Exactly? 

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    A meeting planner by MY definition is the go-to person and should be a key member of the design (or planning) team within an organization — be it corporate, association or otherwise — charged with the responsibility of planning and executing a meeting or special event.

    Planners utilize their project management experience, planning skills and attention to detail to help create and deliver events that meet or exceed expectations. They add value to an organization by drawing upon their knowledge of the hospitality industry to manage expenses and minimize risk by negotiating the best all-around rates and paying attention to contract terms.

    A meeting planner has the keen ability to bring the right people and resources together to create and deliver programs that best meet the strategic goals, objectives and key messages to a defined audience.

    A meeting planner is there to partner with team members to take responsibility for the things they do best which gives others more time to concentrate on the things they do best, whether it’s the day-to-day operation of a business unit or the company’s overall bottom line. Planners maximize time spent on the development and delivery of the meeting content to ensure it meets key objectives. The planner is there to help ensure the success of a program. The goal is to make the meeting host and, if applicable, make their organization SHINE.

    Meeting planners are leaders. They are strategic. They are analytical. They are solution-oriented. They are disciplined. They are diplomatic. They have a logical way of looking at a project and understanding what needs to be done to ensure success. They have the innate ability to see the big picture — to take a look at a project as a whole, break it down action item by action item, establish the systematic order within each action item for getting things done, creating an overall time table for completing all tasks and taking the responsibility for following up to make sure everyone stays on task. Their attention to detail is second to none.

    Meeting planners work well independently or as a team member. They look for ways to improve the end product and service. Planners take their craft seriously. They tend to be life-long learners and students of experiential learning. They learn through doing, through the professional organizations they belong to, and through outside studies such as Certified Meeting Professional and Certified Meeting Manager programs. 

    Where exactly the meeting planner sits within the organizational structure varies from organization to organization. It may be a function of HR as easily as it may be of Communications, Marketing or Procurement. Or, a planner could be a small business owner or wear the hat of a bride or groom, or non-profit volunteer heading up a fundraising campaign. 

    The extent to which planners are involved in meetings varies as much as where they fall within the organizational structure. Some may be involved in many or all phases of the planning process; others may be limited to execution only. Sometimes this is a cultural thing within an organization; sometimes it may be the very nature of the meeting itself. The information being shared before, during and after the meeting may be so proprietary that the fewer who know, the better. If it’s more cultural, you will just need to bide your time by doing what you are asked, know when and how to raise questions or offer suggestions and just generally work to gain the trust of the people involved. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and be a little aggressive (in a nice way, of course). For instance, if you’re working with a group who is being asked to coordinate a meeting for the very first time and you’re lucky enough to be asked to sit in on the early planning stages and you see that no one is taking notes much less putting together what I call an “Overall Meeting Action Plan” or “Business Plan” for the meeting, by all means, go ahead and take notes. Develop the best format for the “Overall Meeting Action Plan” and just do it. (There is a template for this document in my book by the way.)

    You should send out the meeting notes along with a draft of what your understanding of the “PLAN” is and ask for feedback. With any luck, people will appreciate what you’ve done.  If they don’t, then you’ll have to decide if you need to take a step back or keep on moving forward. Each group you work with will be different. Personalities and expectations will differ, but how you do your work and the effort you put into it must always be done with the highest degree of professionalism and integrity. It takes patience, but little by little, if you keep plugging away at it, you will find yourself growing professionally. Your areas of responsibility may increase, and the trust and respect of your team will likely grow. 

    Mary Jo Wiseman, CMP | Author, “The Meeting Planning Process:  A Guide to Planning Successful Meetings” | https://www.maryjo-wiseman.net


    The Meeting Planning Process — A Guide to Planning Successful Meetings

    Get your copy today!

    The post What is a Meeting Planner Exactly? appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

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