Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Bottom Line On Professional Courtesy

It’s 2018 and the business world is constantly changing. People no longer walk around the office and talk to colleagues (many companies are distributed and workers are remote), and communication has become impersonal and technology-driven.

In my observation, people do not return messages in a timely manner (if ever), they send endless emails to communicate, and sometimes they become crickets. Professional courtesy seems to have fallen by the wayside. To see whether you have strayed from the basics professional courtesies, answer these five questions:

1. Are you reachable?
2. Do you welcome in-person visits with partners (or video chats if remote)?
3. Do you use the telephone/video chat to call people?
4. Do you answer the phone/video chat when it rings?
5. Do you return voicemails, Slacks, texts, email messages within 24 hours?

What’s your biggest professional courtesy pet peeve?

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

4 reasons you should NOT outsource your event to your office manager

Do you think outsourcing your event and meeting planning to your office manger, virtual assistant, or executive assistant will save you a whole lot of time and hassle? Think again.  Likely your office manager will likely be “winging it.” She doesn’t know the ins and outs of the meeting planning world. You will end up spending more time, paying more money, and be more involved than you really ever cared to be. 

Sadly, in many small and medium businesses the task of planning the company retreat or board meeting or conference is often assigned to office managers, receptionists, VAs and even sales professionals. This is a huge mistake as
you are pulling their time, concentration and energy away from performing their own set of important tasks. Plus, you are creating a level of expectation and responsibility that, in all fairness, does not live under the scope of their job description. Contrary to popular belief, everyone is not a meeting professional.

A meeting professional knows what to do and what not to do and is 100% focused on your meeting or event. Professional meeting planners are masters of juggling details, people and priorities. They don’t get frazzled. They just go on with the show!

Still not convinced?  Here are four reasons to hire a professional:

1.    Office managers do not have supplier relationships.
Professional meeting planners have built deep relationships with suppliers. Once you tell your planner the basic essentials like goals, date, budget, number of people, she can get to work straight away for you. And I really do mean straight away. With just the minimum parameters, she’ll be able to rattle off at least a half dozens perfect hidden gems that she will send RFPs. She’ll spend minimal time researching because she knows the properties. And, did you know that most site selection services are complimentary. So you won’t be paying a dime to hire a professional planner to source and negotiate the perfect venue, for a great rate.

2.    Office managers do not know the intricacies of destinations.
Professional meeting planners know that if you want to your event in Napa, for example, you best stay away from the month of October. All suppliers have windows they need to fill, and a professional planner will find those windows and negotiate the best rates, concessions, and deliver you a cost savings report. (all complimentary, btw) A professional planner also likely has relationships with third-party vendors in most major cities, and can leverage those relationships to get you the best bang for your buck. The work closely with CVBs to review the calendar so to avoid such conflicts as city-wides.

3.    Office managers do not know the questions to ask.
You don’t know what you don’t know. Negotiating contracts is a very important part of meeting planning. Your office manager probably doesn’t know what attrition is or to ask for more than 10%. Professional meeting planners know all the questions to ask and to be sure certain clauses are included in the contract. These clauses are things as a CEO you aren’t even aware of or thinking about.

4.    Office managers are not meeting planners.
Did you know that the position of meeting planner made the Forbes list for the top 5 most stressful jobs in 2017? Meeting planning requires expertise in communications, preparation, management, logistics, marketing and crisis management too. Because, with events, last-minute problems and emergencies happen — all the time. A professional meeting planner does more than plan your event or meeting—she focuses on the branding, marketing, reputation and future success of your business.

Meeting planning is one of the most stressful jobs around, however, professional meeting planners know how to handle the stress — and deliver memorable experiences. Dumping that degree of stress onto an individual not equipped to handle it with grace under fire is simply bad for your event or meeting — and quite frankly, bad for your business.