Organizing Meetings Academy

February 17th, 2011 by admin No comments »

Meetings Mean Business

Recently we held our third annual educational conference for meeting professionals in our destination. It is difficult to pull people away for a full day event but we were determined to prStudent directorsovide top-notch education that would be equivalent to the high cost of travelling to a major industry event. Organizing an event like this takes as much coordination as a three day conference and sometimes more in that timelines are tight. So what are some of the steps in putting the event together?
1.       Consult with your target audience. Don’t assume you know what will motivate them to come. By bringing a team of seasoned planners together we were able to get their ideas on what type of education an advanced planner would find valuable. The other benefit is that once people share their voice, you have buy in. A third benefit is that the energy of the event changes when seasoned planners are in the room. This was a great blend of strong talent from all corners of our industry.
2.       Build a team of committed volunteers. This was the toughest part I encountered. Volunteerism seems to have lost the sizzle. So many teams are working with fewer staff and larger workloads. Business is short term and a few members had to step down to manage revenue generating activity. It is a sign of the times that our association and many others are going to need to address in an effort to provide the same level of benefits and programming that were offered when volunteers were able to give more time and talent and had greater support from their employers. The team that was consistent needs to be recognized for the added effort that was required because there were not enough of us. Marketing suffered because the talent and financial resources were lacking.
3.       Identify the topics that need a zoom lens. What will get YOU out of your office for a full day? There were lots of ideas about topics of interest and the key thread was to make it advanced learning. We typically cater to a beginner or intermediate audience in an effort to widen the net. With this conference we determined that the “big fish” was the advanced learner. In looking at our chapter demographics, we have a lot of baby boomers so some of the technology shifts may appear to be less advanced but appeal to the generational gaps that are evident in today’s meeting world.
4.       Build the schedule. We knew we needed the workshops to have more than 1 hour since there was a lot of material to cover in each topic. We kept most of the workshops on the same floor as the general sessions and meals but 15 minutes really was not enough time for breaks as this group LOVES to network and time needed to be built in for more interaction with the office. I believe the 15 minutes pre and post lunch was fine but we needed 30 minutes between the opening session and 1st set of workshops and again between workshop 2 & workshop 3. The closing session could have been blocked for 15 minutes allowing for closing remarks and the final raffle. Keeping the traffic buster in a public spot at the venue was a great call and I was thrilled so many folks found their way there.
5.       Identify the anchor key note topics and speakers. Asking our board for suggestions on the most inspiring key note speakers who really have a grasp on our industry is what got us to contact Laura Schwartz. WOW! What a gift this gal is to the meeting and event industry. Always upbeat and so engaging yet she is real people … we became instant friends and she has such a powerful, well prepared message to share. From the time she finished speaking until the event was concluded 3 hours later there was a line to meet her and purchase her book. Bruce MacMillan, CEO and President of MPI was our opening speaker and we were so fortunate that he had the interest to see what we are doing and he donated his time to share the value of belonging to our parent organization. Of course, we took the opportunity to thank our gifted members for all their time and talent and the connections we have tracked of $1.4 mm since July 2010. Membership in the Tampa Bay chapter has a proven return on investment.
6.       Identify the experts to train the workshops. Chapter Leaders have access to many proven experts who speak at other chapter events listed by topic. We started with this option and also looked at who is tops in their field in our local marketplace. Speaker travel and speaker fees add to the expense column and don’t insure greater attendance. Balancing the budget was an exercise that became extremely difficult when some sponsorship opportunities did not materialize. Still, we made a substantial investment in quality speakers and we had the perfect venue for advanced learning.
7.       Creatively financing a $30,000 + meeting experience. Our number 1 goal is to invest in our membership and provide a learning and networking atmosphere where quality planners and suppliers can build relationships. A typical monthly educational meeting is built on strategic alliances that actually help to fund meetings and events like this one. We applied for an educational grant through the MPI Foundation which helped to further offset costs. We work on every possible avenue to provide the highest quality through our generous supplier donations. When challenged by lack of sponsorship, we work on creatively impacting the goals in the most affordable manner. Thank you Sam’s Club for the one day membership! I hope everyone enjoyed the healthy options!
Early results indicate a high satisfaction rating and a desire to make Meetings Academy and annual event with a full day of educational content. I would say that it was a success and my only disappointment is that the attendance numbers should have been much greater. A very special thank you goes out to the chairs
  • Margaret Williams (strategic alliances),
  • Christy Cromwell (education chair),
  • Roberta Blum and Carol Eaves (co-chairs managing logistics),
and their teams, the senior advisory group and the calling tree team.  I also want to thank members of the board who cheered us on and dove in when their time and talent was available. MPI Tampa Bay Chapter rock on!

Partnering with a Venue to Maximize Meeting Goals

January 26th, 2011 by admin No comments »

Negotiate Winning Deals

Recently I read an article that discussed negotiating with hotels and there was a very strong bias to the meeting planner. I was so angry that a favorite magazine would print something that did not presLDivaent both sides and I am a meeting planner! The fact is that businesses may agree to terms that don’t protect them but they set up assurances that are outside of the agreement. For instance, if you want a block of 100 rooms for 3 nights and your history shows the most you have ever used is 80, the hotel may bind themselves to hold 100 rooms and honor that commitment if it materializes however, they “blind cut” your block and hold 80 rooms out of inventory so they have a more realistic accounts receivable forecast. Many hotels will hold a net block but honor the full contracted block if needed. This practice will be impacted further if there is an agreement that there will not be any attrition. So often we only think of attrition as a shortage of rooms utilized by the group and we don’t often hear of the hotel not being able to honor the full block.
 Yes, I believe we all want to achieve the best deal but the real goal is to come away with a deal where both sides win and there is an equal investment in the outcome of the meeting. Hotels need to make a fair profit so they can properly staff your meeting and keep the property maintained. Relationships matter so working with someone you trust is rule #1. How long has this person been with the hotel and when do they turn the details to the convention service manager? Ask for client references not just on the hotel but the person you are negotiating with. Be prepared to write a personal recommendation when they deliver stellar results.
It really starts with providing a clear and succinct request for proposal and knowing the value of your meeting. Start with the “must haves” and provide points of flexibility. Hotel sales people often look at the number of rooms you need and the requested meeting space and they don’t drill down much further than that. This may be all the information you need initially and you will see the timeliness and style of creativity from each sales manager.
Providing history on the meeting will help the sales manager verify the details. Be aware that your history is also a blueprint of your anticipated rate structure. Many times a request for proposal inflates the number of guest rooms needed which offsets the ratio of proportionate meeting space. The need for a lot of meeting space may be a deterrent for a hotel because the hotel needs meeting rooms to sell remaining rooms to other groups.
Right sizing your venue so you are the largest group in house helps you to maximize attention from the entire staff. This also provides flexibility in the meeting space you need. Give back space that is not needed so the hotel has an opportunity to earn additional revenue with their real estate. Every square inch of the property has a potential revenue value and when a room “goes black” there is no potential of making up for the lost income at a later date.
  1. The pattern of your meeting. City hotels have the highest demand Sunday – Thursday nights so you may get better rates on the weekends. Resorts have the highest demand on weekends because the vacationer will usually require a Saturday night stay. Your history will provide a good gauge of pre and post meeting night stays which will be communicated but I recommend only blocking those rooms that you know will be required with the clause that the group room rate will be provided on a space available basis.
  2. Time of year. Every property has a busy season, shoulder season and value season so expect to pay more when demand is high. That same property may have a more affordable time of the year and you will get all the same amenities without the crowds.
  3. Guest room type. We all know the rooms next to the elevator or a view of the dumpster are less desirable and they should be priced accordingly. In a “Run of Hotel” block, there is a mix of each room type so be aware that you may have a better rate and sacrifice the comfort of your attendees. Ask to see the worst room when you do a site inspection because the hotelier is only showing their best available.
  4. What is included? I don’t know about you but I hate when I stop for gas and the advertised rate is for cash only. I feel ripped off as soon as I swipe my card. The same is true at a hotel. Find out what all of the add-on fees are to the room. We all need internet access and many may need parking. The meeting room set ups may have additional charges as well so ask about standard sets and any upgrades you may require.
Look at the total cost of a meeting and not just the room rate. When you find the right property, build a relationship with the key players and their boss. They have the power to make you look great. Let them know that they have earned your business and in exchange for providing the agreed outcomes you will be happy to provide three things.
  • Repeat business
  • References
  • Referrals
 The relationships that you build in this business become an extension of your team. I have been in the hospitality industry for almost 30 years and I have friends in all corners of the planet as a result. It is so rewarding to be able to get so much done with the help of industry professionals who chose to make a difference. Being transparent about your needs will provide a foundation for a successful meeting and a rewarding career. Contracting with an independent meeting planner such as A2Z Meetings & Events is a sure way to leverage great relationships and save time, money and aggravation so you can focus on what is important … the MEETING!

Memorable Moments

January 2nd, 2011 by admin 1 comment »

Create a Memory Box

Each year it gets more difficult to produce a meaningful gift for those who have everything. The ads that speak of the price of various items that represent a sign of caring and then the one that is marked “priceless” is the quest each year  … and this year we accomplished the goal.
   2010 was a year of many great losses with family, friends and loved ones. Encouraging words and silly memories have kept our spirits alive and contagious. We actually discovered our humble beginnings created the foundation for drive, determination and success. Each person sharing their own special memory ignited ideas of new ones that had been lost. The gift was a gift from the hearts of many and everyone shared in the gift meant for two.
Write down YOUR memories and share them with those you truly love. Create a tradition to add to the mememory boxmory box each year and create a priceless gift of your own. Build a bucket list of memories to attain in 2011. We found this box and printed our memories on business card stock. It made each memory consistant in size, on a good card stock and easy to punch out rather than lots of cutting and flimsy strips of paper. After the gift was prepared with photos to accompany many of the memories, every contributor got a copy of the finished memories from all involved. Some members did not contribute at that time but have time to contribute as they desire … the gift keeps on giving.
I tried the concept out on a few friends from Southwest Florida. The email string became deep and wide and before you knew it, there were hundreds of good times that we had lost touch with that were revived like buried treasures. Keeping relationships alive can be work but work that pays in rich benefits. This is a meaningful gift for friends, family, colleagues and clients. Help expand on this idea so we all continue to enrich one another!
Memorable Meetings & Exceptional Events is a passion at A2Z Meetings & Events. Creative ideas and proven concepts will keep your attendees talking about your meetings and events. Let them know they are special. Tell them why you are taking them away from their friends and family and what they will gain as a result of their investment.
Contact us at to save time, money and stress in the new year.

Use AmA2Zing Affirmations at your Next Event

November 23rd, 2010 by admin No comments »
The holidays are a time for gift giving but gifts are not always measured in dollars. Before the event you can announce the goal of sharing an inspirational message that may be unique to each attendee or it may be something general. Guests can prepare their message prior to arrival or wait until they arrive to get inspired. This may workConnecting is Affecting differently depending on the size and relationships on the guest list.
Throughout the event you have a table with bags that have each attendee’s names on them. There are index cards and pens so you can write an inspiring message to any or all the guests. You may choose to spice it a little over the holidays and make the cards on gold stars or in the shape of ornaments so they can be  hung on the Christmas tree.
Telling someone what makes them unique and fabulous or a way they have touched your life will create a lasting bond and may give them just enough of a boost to send them flying. Make your message memorable whether you choose to deliver your it anonymously or sign your name. It is inspiring to both the giver and the receiver. As each guest departs, they take their bag and have an opportunity to enjoy the “gift” of inspiration that lasts throughout the season.

Ten AmA2Zing Affirmations for Abundance and Prosperity

October 29th, 2010 by admin 1 comment »
I had the pleasure of working with Plan Your Meetings this week at the Sheraton Sand Key. Do yourself a favor and take a close look at this resort. The service team is extraordinary! They have longevity, commitment, quality and creativity on every level of the organization. They partner and collaborate with planners to learn your needs and exceed your expectations. The leader of this sales organization is always upbeat and positive. No matter what question you ask Jack Guy, he will find a compliment to share.
Associating with positive people is at the core of success. People who stretch you and ask you to share your expertise force you to dig inside to be sure you reach the roots of what makes you unique, so accept epym_logovery opportunity to dive into self-discovery. Lisa Kraus with Plan Your Meetings is one of those individuals who turned my sour grapes complaint into sweet wine endorsements.  Because of that experience, I have become a raving fan and speaker whenever she needs me to help out. Be sure to use them and their suppliers as a resource. They are committed to education, extreme customer service, relationship building and collaboration. Check out their Knowledge Series and their town hall meetings on You Tube.
 These are just two samples of some great partners that have touched my life and I invite you to experience them as they are worthy of special attention in the world of meetings and events. I promised affirmations that are guaranteed to make you smile when you repeat them, live them and believe them.
Ten Affirmations for Abundance and Prosperity:
  • My day is filled with limitless potential in joy, abundance and love.
  •  I always have more than enough of everything I need.
  •  The more I give away, the more it multiplies and is returned to me.
  • As my commitment to help others grows, so does my joy and wealth.
  • Thank you for all the blessings in my life!
  • I am open to the flow of great abundance in all areas of my life.
  •  I allow the universe to bless me in surprising and joyful ways.
  • My grateful heart is a magnet that attracts more of everything I desire.
  •  I exude passion, purpose and prosperity.
  • I am always led to the people who need what I have to offer. scan0009
    Keep coming back for more!       

Ten Tips for an Effective Meeting Manager in 28 days

September 5th, 2010 by admin No comments »

First the story … then the tips!

Six weeks before the annual conference for 600 people is not the best time to begin your search for a meeting manager … four weeks is even less desirable. I had submitted my initial proposal about 75 days prior to major arrivals and followed up regularly without being a stalker. It was a complex program and I was doing my research a couple of times a week to see what new nuggets might appear that would give me some talking points. I knew my references had been checked so I was curious why we weren’t moving forward.
love to workFinally! Twenty eight days prior to major arrivals I get the call and it is all systems go! Some of the things that were completed were:
  • Research and secure an exhibit services company. Get the exhibit packets to the exhibitors, do floor plans, work on signage and security.
  • Schedule and hire temporary staff for registration and badge checkers. Also find and schedule security guards for the meeting rooms.
  • Find and schedule volunteers for technical duties. Find flights and ground transportation and manage reimbursement.
  • Work with the hotel on VIPs, staff rooms, speaker needs, menus, staff meals, transportation, amenities, and all special considerations in the contract. Speaker needs included hiring models, arranging piano delivery and researching translators.
  • Work with the committee chairs to tie loose ends and work it into the overall theme and timeline.
  • Review and print a 28 page program. Research several printers for price, delivery date and quality less than a week before the show.
  • Work on stage décor and miscellaneous audio visual pieces.
  • Write the survey content for daily feedback and print 3000 sheets.
  • Supervise the delivery and inventory of stored equipment.
  • Review no-shows and reservations changes daily.
  • Attend the pre-convention meeting to be sure we are set up for success. Maintain daily contact with the chairman’s needs and the hotel making changes as needed.
  • Research nightlife and plan social events.
There were moments when I felt like a firefighter … little blazes would erupt that required immediate attention and blazes were popping like popcorn all around us. We managed each blaze with a smile to keep everyone around us calm. The excitement was exhilarating AND EXHAUSTING but the show needed to go on. Once the first day was behind us, we knew the majority of the opportunities had surfaced and the program was in motion. The chairman was able to socialize with the attendees and knew that the meeting management was secure.  I made lots of new friends and was able to use my network of supplier friends to create great value for my client. We presented ourselves as a cohesive team so there was trust and warm greetings.
So here are the 10 tips for an Effective Meeting Manager:
  1. Ask lots of questions so the goals are clear. Get to know the key players and ask for advice.
  2. Prioritize those items that require more lead time and keep a checklist of those things that still need attention.
  3. Present at least 3 bids and be sure you are working with people who respond to deadlines
  4. Use the convention bureau for local referrals
  5. Don’t engage in SWAMP (Speaking Without a Meaningful Purpose) talk regardless of the pressure around you.
  6. SMILE even when your eyes are bloody from no sleep.
  7. Partner with the convention services manager to be sure they know your needs as they are ultraistic service folks who enjoy solving problems and they are POWERFUL! Respect the time the convention service manager is spending on the group. Insist they go home when there is no longer a need for them to be around. They are easy to reach if there really IS a problem you can’t handle.
  8. Watch the bottom line. Don’t say no … suggest alternatives that provide savings and be sure to praise generously.
  9. Manage the budget daily and get the final approved bill to the client within 10 days of the final guest’s departure.
  10. The final test of an effective meeting manager is when their fee is paid for with the savings the group enjoys.
I am pleased to say that my greatest reward is not the praise and testimonials, although those are exciting. The greatest reward is to earn the status as their trusted meeting planner and I will be planning and managing their meetings in the future.
If you know anyone who needs an effective meeting manager, please contact A2Z Meetings & Events at 813-990-0950 or It would bring me joy to put the pieces together for YOUR next successful event.

Game Show Fun – or – Living Life in Plan B

July 26th, 2010 by admin 2 comments »
I produced a game show recently for the Meeting Professionals International Tampa Bay Area Chapter. We did it based on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” and the questions were mock meeting planner certification questions. I had three full games ready to launch and thought for sure we would only get through two, and both contestants would make it to the “million dollar” millionairequestion. We had escalating prizes for three levels per game.
Games one and two were well researched with references, levels and categories. Game three was… less polished (although it had the references). The audience was all equipped with keypads and the rules of the game. “Fastest Finger” wins the right to be our first contestant and it was an intermediate level question so you know it will be answered by someone who “knows their stuff”.
Ahh! A seasoned hotelier wins and is brought to the stage while we recognize our sponsors.
We start game one with novice questions and contestant one answers the first question easily. The second question requires a life-line and the audience poll was wrong! He accepted it as his final answer and the game was over!
No need to panic though, there are two more games. It can be frightening to be in front of over 100 people who all have their eyes on you.
The second contestant gets through the first five questions. Great!!! The audience was keeping up with the game hoping they can collect enough points to qualify as the contestant for game three. We take a couple of “commercial” breaks to see how our Certified Meeting Planners in the audience are enjoying the game and what advice they would like to share with others seeking certification. It brings the tension level down for the contestant on stage.
Back to the game: Question seven requires a lifeline and the Certified Meeting Planner answers correctly, and question eight is the end of game two.
So, 10 of 30 questions were answered for two games! Definitely time to recognize the pending need: Game three is ready to play but I need to think fast because we may need to create a game four ON THE FLY.  That is the kind of stress only the meeting planner can know.
Moving into game three as though everything is going as planned, I share plan “B” with the technician. We do a few audience “commercials” as to why certification was important to several key leaders and how has it helped them in their business. Did you know that statistics show that Certified Meeting Professionals earn an average of $12,000 more per year than their uncertified counterparts?
It was interesting to see how involved everyone was in tracking their own success and how excited they were when they got a tough question right. Keeping the audience engaged was a key element in making the meeting last well beyond the moment.
Our game three contestant provided lots of comic relief and really was the kind of game show queen that every producer DREAMS of. She is bright, beautiful and bubbly! She sails through the first 5 questions and we find out how the audience is doing in case we need to go to game four. Another bright, beautiful, bubbly contestant is identified as the lead. As question six requires a lifeline, the lead candidate was selected to help our game three contestant.  She was not yet certified but was confident enough to begin the certification process. Of course, they agree on the final answer and contestant three makes it to the second level of prizes. CELEBRATION! Music is playing and Bubbly is dancing in her seat!
Time for a few audience “commercials” and back to the game… everyone is hooked now as the questions continue to get harder… as I look around the room, I can feel the heightened energy. Back to the game… question 11 requires a lifeline… the crowd begins to moan and cheer in an attempt to steer our beloved player. She chooses an answer and the moans grow louder… so she changes her answer and the confusion of cheers and moans are vibrating the room. She selects that as her final answer and the crowd cheers as the correct answer is revealed. Two questions later it is time to use the last lifeline… there are still two more questions to win the big prize but there is too much at stake to sacrifice now… this time we have a 50/50 so two answers are removed… the two that are left are “uplink” or “downlink”.
Half the crowd is cheering for up and half for down.
OK… so we are breaking all the rules but they are so engaged that it really doesn’t matter. She gives the final answer… a hush goes over the crowd… the game is over.
Looking toward my time keeper I see that we are just about out of time… no need to exercise Plan B and the crowd is buzzing. We do a few closing announcements along with our beloved raffle and the meeting adjourns on time.
All the energy put into the creation of the game and the build up through the detail planning stages, working with so many wonderful professionals that support the same goals added to my own educational experience and I encourage each of you to live your passion!

Dirty Laundry

June 4th, 2010 by admin No comments »
fam1Got the latest dirt on the floods, the oil spill, hurricanes, the tornadoes, the fires, murders, strikes, earthquakes? Does news need to be sexy, shocking or shameful to attract your interest? Will you read a positive message that lacks a little sizzle? It is no secret that our economy is struggling, there have been some horrific natural disasters and now more than ever we need positive, uplifting, inspirational, spirited information that strengthens our bonds to one another.
I attended a meeting this week on the preparation that Florida businesses are dealing with the potential threat from the BP oil spill. First, the beaches are magnificent and we have not seen any impact in the state. Neighboring states have not been so fortunate but the areas of impact are in the wetlands, which is even more difficult to clean up.  Each area is trying hard to keep the news productive without sensationalizing the story. I am proud to be a member of the meeting and tourism industry in the state of Florida. In order to keep the Florida meeting and tourism industry up to speed on key developments and important information related to the Gulf oil spill, VISIT FLORIDA has created the following format for a weekly update. For more up-to-the-minute details, go to – VISIT Florida’s official corporate blog.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to change your meeting site based on a natural disaster regardless of the destination, I would be happy to work with you to be sure all parties are managed in a way that limits liability and damage and the losing party has the ability to recover at a future date. When we treat each other with care, we all win. Contact me at          
I can remember when I first decided to leave the great white north and live in paradise that I searched several islands before settling on the SW coast of Florida. Each area I visited paled in comparison to the dream of living on a Caribbean island. When I discovered Sanibel Island I knew I had found my home. I enjoyed the serenity of that wildlife sanctuary for 22 years while working for 2 of the most famous Florida resorts on the gulf coast. I remember when Hurricane Andrew came through and drove business from the east coast and I really believed it could never happen to Sanibel. Eight weeks after selling my home on that island, Hurricane Charley came in quickly and stopped time in the busy lives of everyone in that area. Tourism suffered for 2 years with devastating storm one behind the other. Four quiet years later, everything has been refurbished or rebuilt and new construction has replaced some of quaint memories of days gone by. New companies have come in to do things their way and some of the changes are great and many will mourn what they once were.
The point is that change comes whether it is planned or forced by nature and sometimes good things come from the greatest despair. Take a look at Punta Gorda, FL six years later. The old barn like convention hall has been replaced with one of the most magnificent state of the art structures with incredible light, sound and production capabilities in the state. Two beautiful, new beautiful hotels grace the waterfront and the town is bubbling with energy, live music, shopping and activity. Support our industry friends when times are dark and know that you and your meeting attendees will feel good when they can return with good news rather than the sensationalism that sells. You will find the hospitality warm and sunny as usual!  

Membership – Do you BELONG or just carry the card?

May 15th, 2010 by admin 1 comment »
Meeting Professionals International (MPI) helps over 24,000 worldwide members thrive by providing connections to knowledge, relationships, and marketplaces. People do business with people they know, like and trust. Lifelong friendships are born in membership organizations were you meet people with common professions, interests and goals. Meeting planning is my business so it makes sense that this organization is my primary membership commitment but I also belong to several others as networking is such an important aspect of building business contacts and meaningful relationships.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day and it seems like it just doesn’t last long enough so we are faced with choices as to what we value most in our lives. There are times when our friends, family and selves forget what we look like and who we are because our priorities get juggled so make sure you put your BIG ROCKS in the schedule FIRST. As you consider memberships to professional, civic or social groups think about the time you will need to devote to that organization or cause to really BELONG.collaboration
Many of us join a group with good intentions and the passion dies or conflicts arise that pull us away. That makes a statement to other group members. You don’t get what you want out of the group because you are not involved and others see it as a lack of commitment so it can be very damaging to sign up and not belong. So what does it mean to belong? Is it enough to just attend the meeting and or social events? I would say that makes a statement too. It says I am in this for ME and I will take those things I like and leave the rest behind. Personally, this type of member does not offend me as long as they are not critical about other members or group leaders but I may not do business with them.
When you think about joining a group for professional or social reasons, know what you want to get out of the group and more importantly, what you are willing to give both financially and of your time and talent.
• Contribute to discussions in a way that moves the group to a higher level
• Participate in surveys that offer a form of constructive feedback
• Don’t just say you didn’t like the speaker, format or topic. (SWAMP talk) Suggest speakers, format or topics that will engage you as there is a good chance it will engage others.
• Provide leads and referrals to active group members
• Show up ON TIME with cell phone on vibrate
• Volunteer your time and talent at least once per quarter for personal growth as well as growth of the group and its members
• Be an ambassador and connect others that may benefit by belonging to the group
I am extremely proud to be a member of the Tampa Bay chapter of Meeting Professionals International and even more proud to be the incoming Vice President of Education within my first year of membership. Assuming a leadership role is a commitment and it is my goal to engage current, past and new members. I am not asking you to join, I am asking you to belong.
P.S. JOIN US for an exciting dinner meeting on May 19, 2010 at TPepin Hospitality Center where we are cooking up a great time Building a Better Menu: Understanding Food and Beverage Issues with Chef Marco Ferraro and several local celebrity chefs.

Meeting Supplier Relationships Make You Look GREAT!

April 22nd, 2010 by admin No comments »

AVISPLlogoThe job of a meeting planning professional is to plan and execute a successful meeting or event. We are not audio visual, website or catering experts. We utilize preferred vendors and trusted suppliers to put the pieces of our events together. Hotels will usually have a one stop shop approach and keep as much as possible in house but you can never assume that they will be able to do it all. Relationships with trusted suppliers will streamline the process and increase the professional polish to your meeting or event.

It is so critical to treat these relationships like family and be sure to communicate the goals and outcome as it relates to their performance so the end result is well orchestrated. If the venue treats your suppliers like they are “second rate” it WILL have an impact on your guests. Meet with your suppliers to see what special needs they have and how they will be able to perform best for you.

I have to extend a special THANK YOU to my friends at AVI-SPL Twice they have comAVISPL_recyclelogo_MPCe to my aid in very difficult situations and the outcome was seamless to the audience. Steve, Jim and Ivy are incredible ambassadors and seasoned professionals. AVI-SPL has several locations throughout the country and they are involved in taking the meeting profession to a higher level.  The audience EXPECTS a seamless production and that doesn’t always happen with the wave of the magic wand. Be sure to treat your suppliers right and say thank you for a job well done.

I have a related article about an incredible public speaker that you can access through my blog on my Linked In site listed in the website area under My Blog. Please take the time to view this to hear the miracle of how far reaching random acts of kindness to suppliers can be. Treat each other right!