Have you booked your Christmas party yet? I hope so, since most venues have been fully booked at least since Summer. If you carry a few years of experience in your meeting planner knapsack, you know all too well that you need to book your Christmas party before May and your Summer party before December.
And this knowledge represents a few paradoxes for us meeting planners. We are known for our exquisite skills in planning ahead, keeping an eye on every possible task in relation to the event, as well as designing our meeting around its objective(s). We just love our check lists!
But how do we manage to throw fantastic events over and over again, when big decisions are out of our hands? We are after all dependent on external factors like finding out a competitor has the same event at the same time, changes in society (remember 2008, anybody?) or natural disasters that put a wrench in our wheel.
And these issues are unknown to us when we book the venue…as we need to do this a looooong time in advance.
The answer is agility!
Being agile is possibly the most useful skill when working in event planning. You never know when you need to adapt your event to some kind of change in the World, which makes it hard to book a venue for your 2025 annual general meeting…which you need to do because you usually have about 15,000 attendees and there are only so many venues that can accommodate your event.
And once you need to make these changes, you are eternally grateful for your large overview of tasks that has to be done, your check lists and your many years of experience in this industry as these are all tools that makes it so much easier to make quick adaptations to reality.
Is this different from other industries?
You could argue that all businesses in the World live under this ‘threat’ of changes, and I won’t argue against that, but I believe that the meetings and events industry is more exposed to them than say the public school system or a cleaning supply plant. They also have to adjust to changes in society, but I am pretty sure they didn’t close schools or change the curriculum on that fateful day in September 2008 when the World fell apart. The meetings and events industry, on the other hand, was fatally hit by this change in life and some businesses didn’t survive.
We could, however, use this agility skill to our advantage: Having to live under the threat of a huge change around each corner makes decision makers in the meetings and events industry alert and ahead of the game.
You could say that agility is part of an event designer’s DNA. Do you agree?