Planning meetings can be a very daunting task, even for the most experienced planner. But for someone who has never planned a meeting, or for someone who plans only an occasional meeting while still trying to keep up with their normal day-day-day responsibilities, the unexpected ask (to plan a meeting) could send anyone off the rails. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
First and foremost, you need a PLAN and a PROCESS (or a system) for getting the job done. And you need to surround yourself with a team of experts along with an excellent resource to help you accomplish the task at hand. Trust me when I say the skills and knowledge required to do this do not come overnight. It takes time; it takes practice; it takes patience, and it takes making mistakes along the way, resulting in what I like to think of as positive learning opportunities.
It was my attention to detail and my desire to constantly look for new and better ways of doing my job that led me to write “The Meeting Planning Process: A Guide to Planning Successful Meetings.” I wanted to share with others what I learned over the course of my career in an effort to help others be all that they could be.
I first published the book in October 2016 (which now seems like eons ago).
Much has happened since then to our world in general and in particular to the hospitality industry as a whole, which, good, bad, or otherwise, provided me with a perfect opportunity to continue my quest to stay current in the industry I lived and breathed for many years and to continue to share what I learned.
I updated the book first in March 2020 to include information on Medical Risk Management and Crisis Management Plans, two areas that weren’t on my radar prior to the first printing.
With the latest round of updates just launched, you’ll see additions to the Function Details and Communication Plan sections, plus minor changes to a couple of other areas. The Function Detail additions in particular, should prove quite helpful because I delve more into how best to organize and keep track of all the meeting details and the many documents you accumulate per project.
I chose not to expand on video conferencing and/or hybrid meetings or health and safety protocols because they are either too technical or so fluid (based on ever-changing circumstances) that talking/writing about them is better left to the experts.
I do hope you find the additions helpful and that you’ll let me know what you think. The Guide also includes handy templates: a Meeting Timeline; Overall Meeting Action Plan; and Request for Proposal as well as descriptions and diagrams of possible room set-ups.
If there are topics not covered in the book that you’d like to know more about, please feel free to reach out to me. I’m just an email, phone call, or text away.
About the Author
Mary Jo Wiseman was a corporate meeting and event coordinator in the insurance industry for 24 years, where she managed the full spectrum of the planning process across all levels of management with an emphasis on high-profile, executive-level groups, including senior management, Board of Directors, and key customers.
She was an active member of the Minnesota chapter of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) throughout her career, having served both on the Education Committee and the Board of Directors. She obtained her CMP certification in 1992.
Mary Jo lives in White Bear Lake, MN, with her husband James. Together they enjoy sailing their sailboat Unity around the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior.
If you’d like to learn more about Mary Jo, her book, or follow her blog posts, visit her website: https://www.maryjo-wiseman.net.