Three Tips To Be A Winning Event and Meeting Planner

Posted by Sheldon Senek

This is my favorite time of year. The pro football season heats up and it becomes make it or break it time for many NFL teams. Unfortunately for a plethora of fans across the United States, a good portion of losing teams already have their sights set on next year and how to be more competitive (sigh, like my Cleveland Browns). But others have their eyes on the prize, the Super Bowl. It’s all about being number one. Not many remember who came in second.

Perhaps planning an event or conference is like your Super Bowl, right? And your coach (the boss) doesn’t want to hear all the excuses about the sun being in your eyes, or the budgets being cut, or this is the first time you’ve ever played the position of meeting planner. Yes, I can still hear my seventh grade football coach yelling in my ear, “suck it up cupcake!”

Well, there’s no going backwards, only forwards, here’s three helpful tips to be the champion event planner for your next event.

1. Go Backwards. What? I know, I just said there’s no going backwards. There’s an exception. Even though the event date is engraved on your forearm, as well as your calendar, don’t forget the days in between.

The best thing to do while I’m planning something is start from the event date and work my way back to the present. This way I can be realistic about the time-crunch I’m under. And it feels less overwhelming.

Trend Action: Last year, we certainly noticed that people were booking speakers much closer to the event (1-2 months out). This of course, was a result of the economy. However, in the last few months, we’ve noticed people booking speakers further out. Not only does this tell us something positive about the economy, but the writing in the sky tells me speakers’ dates are filling up quicker. So if there’s a specific speaker you’re interested in, act sooner than later.

2. Themes and goals. If you don’t have these, you might as well not show up–in spite of Woody Allen’s Quote: “Ninety percent of life is just showing up.” Can you imagine if someone asked Vince Lombardi about his goals, and all he said was “just show up?” Heck no! He had ONE goal, win the championship.

And his theme? Be simple and methodical. His Greenbay Packers team ran the “Lombardi sweep” or the “Packers sweep,” which consisted of Paul Hornung or Jim Taylor following pulling guards Jerry Kramer and Fuzzy Thurston. They ran this play over and over, and everyone knew he was running the play. All it did was score touchdowns and win them games.

The same idea is true for meeting and event planning, right? Know your goals for the event. Is the event to inspire, educate, or entertain? Do you want to provide the sales team with tools to sell more product? Maybe you need to work on team building or get the management to think outside the box. Whatever the reason, it should be clear to meeting attendees, conference participants, and event/service companies you hire. Contact Island Event Planners today and see how it works in practice.

As for the theme, simple, they should support the goals. Whether your going with a jungle theme or  conservative business theme, everything you detail should match the theme. You want to understand themes better? Visit Walt Disney World. (and see if you can write that trip off!)

Speaker trend: Legendary coach Vince Lombardi has been a recent subject of a new Broadway hit play called LOMBARDI. There is also a movie in the works (with Robert De Niro). Coach Lombardi’s son, Vince Lombardi, Jr. does engagements speaking about the values and leadership techniques for which his father became so famous.
Here’s a video clip.

3. Make sure your team is on the same page. Like a football coach, you have to know what every part of your team is doing–offense, defense, special teams, assistant coaches, medical staff, etc. Make sure that your message is clear to them. I can hear you yelling in my ear, “I’m the only person on the team!”

Time to change that thinking, superhero! You are never alone. Those service companies you call are an extension of you. Period.  You have to build relationships with companies that care more than just making the quick buck on your event. Hire companies that truly care about your organization–ones that want you to grow.

Once you have your fantastic team, you have to execute your plan. Your team should have a clear understanding of their tasks (and your needs). If not, don’t be afraid to remind them. After all, the owner has hired you (the coach) to build a championship event.  And like coaches in the NFL, these owners only look at the wins and loss column.

“Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” –Vince Lombardi.

Sheldon Senek is part of the Eagles Talent Speakers Bureau team. To contact us call 1.800.345.5607 or visit us online at

Posted by Sheldon Senek
Sheldon Senek is the President of Eagles Talent Speakers Bureau and writes about expert keynote speakers and Motivational Speakers, as well as tips for corporate meeting planners.

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