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Develop a HOT List for the Planning Process


Posted on June 24, 2007

By Arlene Sheff, CMP

Have you said “OH MY GOSH, I should have thought about that” or “OH MY GOSH, I should have remembered to do that” lately?

Everyday in the planning process, meeting planners strive to produce problem-free meetings. Sometimes, things just happen to fall through the cracks. By developing a checklist of those HOT questions to ask, HOT things to look for or HOT things to do, you can prevent adding items to your Lessons Learned list, after the meeting.

Here’s a list of items you may want to add to your HOT list.

REMEMBER to…

1. Include ‘24 hour hold’ on any meeting space that you don’t want to vacate at the end of your scheduled event. Forgetting to include these simple words might require you to tear down your AV equipment and vacate the room for another group’s evening event - then reset the room late at night for your next day’s program.
2. Allow enough time for AV set-up and tear down. Check with your AV/production company for their requirements.
3. Include rehearsal time in your contract. Presenters may need to familiarize themselves with the equipment or your entertainment may need time to rehearse.
4. Your contract is not binding until both parties sign the same document and initial all changes.
5. Establish credit with the hotel/venue/supplier by filling out a credit application or credit card authorization form. Allow time for processing.
6. Take shipment tracking numbers on-site and collect the same from anyone shipping to you – but prior to that, confirm with the facility how many days prior to your meeting they will accept boxes – and request the preferred way to address shipments.
7. Ask what other groups will be in-house the same time as your group, their number of attendees and what will be going on in the rooms that share your air wall.
8. Check a calendar to avoid booking meetings on conflicting dates, whether industry-related or religious. (Note: all Jewish holidays start at sundown the night before the date listed on most calendars.)
9. Consider renting radios/walkie-talkies to communicate on-site with your staff and/or hotel contact.
10. Develop a plan with contingencies for emergency situations.

My next column will include items for your HOT list of Surprise Charges, followed by items pertaining to On-site Management.

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Comments

Bonnie Wallsh

Arlene, I concur that it is crucial for planners who care about the diversity of their employees or membership to show respect and thoughtfulness by not planning meetings that conflict with major holidays. The National Conference of Community and Justice (formerly Christians and Jews) prints a religious calendar identifying holidays for 12 major religious groups.

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