This post was originally featured on Corporate Meetings Network.
Planning an event without a budget? Read this first.
If you’re like many meeting planners that work in conference and professional development event management, your peak season is the spring. During this time you’ll see many multi-day conferences, award shows, annual general meetings, etc. While the timing of these events are convenient for attendees since they occur outside of other peak seasons such as summer holidays and year-end, this also means that as a planner, you can expect things to pick up well in advance.
Part of the nature of a meeting planner is to expect the unexpected while staying organized, giving yourself plenty of lead time, and having a backup plan in place. Here are a few ways you can help stay ahead of the game throughout spring conference season.
Get your budgets approved
Depending on how many people are involved and at what level you sit within the planning process of your event, you may still be waiting for an approved budget. Coming from the not-for-profit world, this is sometimes the case. When working with volunteers on an event, remember that they are doing their due diligence and taking the time they need to closely review everything before signing off. In order to move along the budget process, explain why an approved budget is critical to the success of any event, and share this reason widely with those involved in meeting planning.
Finalize your critical paths – or, consider using a critical chain
Critical paths are important for identifying every milestone throughout the planning process, but some meeting planners find that they are not effective because timelines are unrealistic for all parties involved. The concept of a critical chain emphasizes the resources (people, equipment, physical space) required to execute project tasks, rather than task order and rigid scheduling.
That been said, continue to create and stick to your daily deliverables. This means constantly revising your to-dos for the day, week, month, etc.
Don’t forget about industry events
A crucial part of meeting planning is staying on top (or even better, ahead!) of trends. Many industry events take place during this time, so try and attend those that interest you and bring tangible benefits back to your work. Even though it may feel like a chore to attend these events when you have a million other things to do, it could be well worth it if you come away with a few new ideas or contacts. Spend some time now deciding which ones you plan to attend, put them in your schedule, and don’t bail on them.
Be conscious of burnout and know when you need a break
While deadlines are important, and you may sometimes feel the need to burn the candle at both ends, recognizing when you need time off to regroup and come back refreshed (i.e. catching up on sleep!) is just as important. Most of us reach a point every day where words start blurring together and we can no longer form full thoughts, so getting some much needed sleep, or a short vacation, will actually make your time more productive in the end.
The same can be true when looking at your events and scheduling long days for attendees. Check out Redstone Agency’s blog on achieving work-life-wellness balance at your events.