What the Rest of the World Thinks About Meeting Planning

meeting planner
Stressed-out party planners? We don’t think so.

We took a step outside our meeting planning universe to see how the rest of the world describes what we do every day.

Let’s face it: Meeting planners are the only people who really know what meeting planning is. So we decided it would be fun to take a look at some of the articles that are out there describing our jobs. Enjoy!

Yep, Party Planners

“If you are already the life of the party, why not plan them?” said a September 2019 article in Forbes. It appears that, despite how hard our industry strives to become strategic, meeting planners are still viewed as party people—listed right alongside flight attendants and tour guides in this piece about careers for “extroverts who like to travel.”

“If you can use your gift at communicating with the organizational skills required to manage all the moving pieces of an event, this is a great career path to consider,” the article said.

But at least there was some acknowledgement of the stress meeting planners face every day. “Be aware it isn’t all cupcakes and streamers, you will need to also have a sense of stability under high-pressure situations. The event industry is fast-paced and while it will never leave you feeling bored, it can be very overwhelming.”

No kidding.

Way Down the Ladder

U.S. News & World Report ranked meeting planners #21 in its list of 29 “Best Business Jobs”—outranked by everyone from statisticians to actuaries. (Well, at least meeting planning is finally being categorized as a business job!)

Said the article: “Some would call this a logistical nightmare: nearly 50,000 registrants, more than 2,000 music festival showcases, almost 1,300 conference sessions, more than 1,000 exhibit spaces and almost 300 film festival screenings. But for Mike Shea, chief logistics officer for the popular South by Southwest annual conference and festival in Austin, Texas, orchestrating an event of this magnitude has become second-nature, though it’s not without its fair share of headaches.”

Super-Demanding & Super-Cool

In describing the meeting planner role in a recent article, Mediabistro had no shortage of phrases like: “not for the faint of heart,” but our favorite was definitely “super-demanding but super-cool.”

“When you have a roomful of people and things don’t go as planned—a supplier falls through, a speaker is late—an event planner has to find a solution before the crowd notices there’s a problem.”

The required skills to succeed as a planner are not easily described in your average job posting, as the article attests. To be a good meeting planner: 1. You can’t freak out when something goes wrong 2. Being calm under pressure helps 3. Being able to think quickly on your feet is important, too.

That’s right, and for us it’s just another day on the job—a job that no one will ever understand!

You Might Also Be Interested in These Articles:

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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.

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