Friday, March 12, 2010

When A Meeting Planner Says You're A Problem Attendee, We Are Not Flirting

I have always worked for male dominated organizations in my career so I have had my fair share of dealing with unwanted advances and drunken stupidity.  The conference that I am working on this week is for a group of younger people (ages 18-35) of an association.  It's a great group that helps builds leaders for the association.  I first met one of the attendees at last weeks conference when he was being a small problem.  Nothing major, but I told him he was trouble and that he needed to do exactly as I said.  To this man, I was flirting.

At this evenings event, he walked past me and grabbed a part of my anatomy that he had no business grabbing.  He was very drunk, so I kindly told him that in order to keep his hands, he needed to keep them off of me.  He was very apologetic at that point...more or less...but that's when I realized that he had taken my words the week before as my special way of flirting.  It wasn't.

To be honest, I was feeling kind of bad because I really hadn't been that nice to him the week before.  He's just one of those attendees that didn't pay attention to anything that had been sent and, more importantly, didn't care.  I'm against this behavior and try to do my part to discourage it.  Evidently I'm a miserable failure at that.  I will have to work harder.

I was probably a little meaner to him tonight than I needed to be when I told him only special boys get to touch me and he wasn't special enough.  He was sad and said "I'm not special?" to which I replied "you're don't eat the paste special, but that's not special enough".  Tomorrow should be fun.  With any luck at all he'll have forgotten the incident and we can move on with everyone's hands where they belong.

New rule for attendee packets: when the planner tells you to do something, it's not a pick-up line; we actually want you to do it because you are either being an obstacle or about to be an obstacle to our success. 

Welcome To My New Blog

The new blog December and January found me with a lot of time on my hands and my blog suffered.  February and March are killing me, but I have a lot to I am back to blogging.  For those new to the blog, I am an event manager, specilizing in business and associaiton events.  I don't do weddings! 

I have taken on a new client that has seven events this year, five of which are February through May.  The group is going through some transition internally including their meeting planner retiring after many years.  Luckily for me, she left behind great files.  But with their transition comes a lot of new ideas to try, so they are keeping me on my toes.

My first event with them was last week in Sacramento and I learned a lot about the group. 
  1. Always have coffee available.  ALWAYS.  For free or for sale, it doesn't matter as long as they can get it.  
  2. If on a budget for a reception, you must do passed hors d' ouevres.  If given access to a station, they will pile their plates with appetizers as high as they can...and they can pile high.  It's like a circus act.
  3. Need to solve the lunch crisis on committee days.  Attendees who don't register (because there is no cost and no penalty) come out of the woodwork, with spouses in tow, and there is no way to guess how many people you will be feeding until they show up in the buffet line.
  4. You cannot be overly direct or go over the agenda too many times with key staff.  Eventually they will tell you the plan in their head that doesn't jive with the actual plan and you can fix it.  Hopefully this happens prior to the meeting, when you hear "another group is in our meeting room, where should we go".  What?  You should go back in time to tell me that you needed another meeting room and that you had a room picked out in your head. 
 At the end of the event, no one knew the issues that arose and the bandaids we put on them.  You just have to laugh...and have a Plan B in your pocket.