Meeting planners are the movie producers of the corporate world. That’s what keynote speaker Tim Sanders calls us.
It’s an apt metaphor. We take a storyline or script dictated by others, hire people who can bring it to life, raise the money to support it, make sure things are on-time and under budget, oversee its marketing and make sure everyone gets paid. Then we move on to the next project.
What people get to see at the event is the magic: the surprises, the fun, the networking, the glamour. What they never get to see is how hard we work to make sure nothing falls apart.
But as experienced meeting planners like to say, “Shift happens.” No matter how well you prepare, something unexpected is going to happen. The mark of your power as a professional is how well you pivot, shift and turn an earth-shattering crisis into a bump in the road.
Hurricane Sandy is one of those crises. Who could have predicted that weeks after the storm, offices and schools would still be closed and a Nor’easter would come and undo all the cleanup that had been done post-hurricane.
I recently read a story about what one industrious planner did to salvage an event the last time the lights went out in New York City. I’m sure that in Sandy’s wake, there are hundreds of stories we could tell of how we ensured the show went on despite the behind-the-scenes chaos.
The biggest problem with being a magician is that we can’t brag about how we hid things from the audience to maintain the illusion. If we tell those tales to stakeholders or coworkers they might use them to criticize us or think that we’re bragging or complaining.
But you are safe here. In the #ShiftHappens brother and sisterhood, we appreciate the lengths you go to in order to avert disaster.
Have a story to tell about how you salvaged or are still working to salvage an event? Share it in the comments below or tweet me @PYMLive with the tag #ShiftHappens.
Plan well and prosper!
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