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.
- Always have coffee available. ALWAYS. For free or for sale, it doesn't matter as long as they can get it.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.