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Planners who own the “why” deliver better meetings

Imagine an event professional. We will call her Jane. She has been in the meetings industry for more than a decade. She has a “favorites” phone list of suppliers who can make anything happen. Miniature baked Alaska for 1,000—check. Lighting that turns a ballroom into an electric daisy carnival—got it. Need a replacement for an AWOL speaker—Tony Robbins might be free this afternoon. Surveys give her events high marks. But she feels stuck.

Christy Lamagna can pinpoint the problem. “As long as she is a master of logistics, she is an order-taker,” said the author of The Strategic Planning Guide for Event Professionals and owner of Strategic Meetings & Events. “Executing events flawlessly is akin to crossing things off a grocery list. We need to own the role our events take in the success of the company if we are going to elevate the profession. She advises hitting pause on the logistics—the how, so you can rev up the why.”

Deborah Sexton, founder of DLS Associates and long-time president and CEO of PCMA, agrees. “We need to own our roles as business event strategists by telling the world, ‘We are not party planners; we can do more,’” she said.

A new sense of urgency has emerged, as some have predicted that automation could replace much of what planners are currently tasked with executing. John Nawn, founder of The Perfect Meeting, says, “This isn’t just about making meetings and events more efficient and effective—it’s about job security.”

It’s time for event professionals to move from the back room to the board room

The shift of the event planner role from an order-taker to a more strategic one must include greater management of event budgets. And with that, the consideration of financial risk management - making sure that client and vendor funds remain secure until program delivery. The creation of a secure way for funds to change hands between clients (corporations, associations and third parties) and vendors (hotels, destination management companies, audiovisual companies) was a concept developed by Meeting Escrow as a way to protect client funds and to make sure vendors are paid for delivered services.

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