meeting planning

Posted by & filed under Association Meetings, Events, Tips and Ideas.

By Kelley Atkinson, Director of Conference Services

“Event planning….that sounds glamorous! What a fun job!” I’ve heard these comments from family and friends for years. While I love my job, event planning is fun and the end result can be glamorous….that’s not always the case behind the scenes leading up to the event….at least not every day.

Meetings and events have numerous details and I have found that organization is key to keeping said details and deadlines in check. Otherwise you can sink in detail quicksand….well,….quick! Nothing glamorous about that! Recently, my sister was asked by a close friend if she would step in as wedding coordinator on the big day. Thinking the task would be a piece of cake, my sister accepted. She later called me to get some coordination advice.

“Does the bride have all of her vendors lined up? What time can she arrive at the venue? Who is her photographer? What time does the ceremony begin? Do you have contact information for said vendors to make sure they arrive on time?”

“So many details,” my sister exclaimed! I smiled on the other end of the phone thinking you have no idea!

While weddings, conferences, board meetings and large events can be differ in their details, it is key to your success to stay on top of the day to day. Here are a ways, I stay on top of my tasks and find success in event management.

The Faithful To Do List.

You can never underestimate the power of a classic! In order to stay on top of tasks and deadlines, I create a to-do list that is organized by priority and deadlines. Often, the list is electronic – easy for sharing with other contributing colleagues. Check out this great article on various styles of to-do lists – you can never get enough renditions of a classic!

I handwrite my daily to-do list. There is something about handwriting a reminder that helps of the process of implementation and completion. Plus, I just love being able to check a task off my list one by one throughout the day.

Take Advantage of Technology.

For those who need more than a piece of paper, there is an app for everything – in fact multiple apps for everything. These are just a few of our office favorites:

  • Boomerang – This app is installed within your email provider, and has built in capabilities to bring back emails that you need to remember in 2 days, or 2 weeks. It also will let you suggest meeting times by corresponding with your calendar, and it will notify you to automatically circle back to a person if you haven’t heard from the recipient in a certain amount of time.
  • ASANA – For those of us who work with multiple people on various aspects of the same event, ASANA helps keep everyone on top of their tasks and timelines with build in reminders of deadlines and notifications when tasks are checked off.

Need more ideas? A simple google search on organization tools will surface 161 million results in less than a second. (Thank you, Google!)

At the end of the day, an event manager’s goal is to execute a successful event, meet objectives and expectations, all the while keeping clients happy and under budget. A list, an email reminder, a phone call – however you make it happen, this will give your board that glamorous feeling of being a well-run organization, and that is our whole purpose. Happy planning!