Even the most organized meeting planners admit that meeting and event planning – with all its moving parts and competing priorities – can make life messy.
But, it is possible to streamline the process and make meeting planning easier. The key is to find ways to simplify and minimize chaos at every stage of the meeting planning journey.
Here are 5 ways to get there now:
Resist The Urge To Multitask
We get it. Much like many of our planner partners, you want to get things done. You’re also constantly pulled in several different directions. So, your natural instinct is to work on one issue, dabble in another, take phone calls, shoot off emails, field questions, work on budgets, put out fires, etc.
The biggest problem with this? Multitasking means you’ll spend more time getting less done. Of course, there will be moments when you’re required to multitask. But, for all other times, commit to staying focused and level headed by concentrating on one project at a time. The time spent hopping from one task to another is wasteful and actually can lead to sloppiness and disorder.
Recognize When You’re at Your Best
Some of us are night owls, who concentrate best when the dishes are put away, with the TV quietly playing in the background. Others are morning people who love accomplishing big tasks before the sun and the rest of the family are up.
Whether you’re most focused at midnight or midday, being honest and totally self-aware of your most productive hours will improve your concentration, decision making, and increase the amount of work you accomplish.
Shift your to-do’s throughout the day to find out what works best for your personality and lifestyle. Once you figure out your most productive schedule, stick with it.
Hold Others Accountable
One of the biggest obstacles to simplifying meeting planning is an insistence to tackle everything on your own. Instead, hold the other members on your team accountable for their tasks and their areas of responsibilities.
This means recognizing the tasks that can be taken off your plate and delegated to someone else. Are you the only person who can research engaging event formats, pull together attendee lists, manage event social media accounts, and schedule site visits? Likely not. But, if you insist on handling all of these tasks on your own, we can guarantee you’ll be on the fast track to fatigue and stress.
Make meeting planning easier by siphoning off these tasks to your team or hiring an assistant or a meeting planning intern. Check-in and get the updates you need, but allow someone else to be in charge.
Add Padding to Your Budget and Timeline
Nothing causes more chaos than emergencies that threaten the rest of the meeting’s agenda and budget. First things first, build in a contingency bucket into your meeting planning budget. Having an emergency fund will ease your peace of mind, plus allow you to be nimble with implementing solutions.
Build time buffers into your planning and production schedule, as well. Pad every component with extra time, not just for the day-of, but also for vendor sourcing, negotiations, and the deliverables process.
Leverage Tech to Simplify Every Aspect of Meeting Planning
Today, planners can use a legion of tech tools to streamline every meeting planning moment, from venue sourcing, attendee marketing, check-ins, creating layouts, and organizing attendee activities.
Here are some to consider:
- Create Quick Virtual Site Inspections
Use an app like Bubb.li (iPhone) or Panorama360 (Android) to record and showcase a 360-degree virtual tour of event space, like an outdoor reception deck or a hotel ballroom. These apps allow you to capture panoramic-style photos with a sweep of your cell phone, then use those to make spherical moving pictures, along with sound. You can also ask your hotel partners to use these tools if you can’t make it out for a site visit.
- Collect and Showcase All Event Social Media Content
A tool like TINT pulls both your own branded content, plus content created by your attendees, vendors and other event partners, from more than 10 social networks (using geotagged locations, hashtags, etc). From there, you can curate and display these social feeds on your event app, social media walls, and website.
- Quickly and Easily Discover The Ideal Venue
Consider which venue criteria are most vital to boosting your attendance, such as room rates, weather, available amenities, and distance to the airport. Then use a tool like GroupSync to narrow in on a short list of qualified venues and destinations that meet those requirements. The tool also helps you to compare the results side-by-side and send out quick RFPs and receive streamlined proposals.
- Seamlessly Manage Attendee Relations
Creating branded event materials, customized invites and handling check-in, event registrations and ticket sales are made so much easier when you can handle all these tasks from a single platform, like Event Farm.
- Stay On Top of Weather Conditions
Don’t let a surprise thunderstorm unravel your outdoor reception or golf tournament. No matter how in control of the meeting you think you are, Mother Nature will always prove otherwise. Stay safe and keep things simple by staying ahead of the raindrops with an app like Dark Sky. The app acts as a personal weather station in your exact location, showing you a breakdown of all minute-to-minute weather conditions, such as when rain will stop and start.