What do you do as a meeting planner when you’re the only staff member onsite and you get stuck at the registration desk? How do you truly manage the event, if you’re responsible for registration, too?
It’s not an easy task, certainly. Here are some of my suggestions.
- Create a “Back in 5 minutes” sign (a nice one, not a handwritten one), that you can post at the desk for those times when you need to be away from the registration desk.
- Use the 10-15 minutes immediately after a break (when almost all attendees are riveted to the presentation) to do room checks, meet with your host venue counterpart, call the front desk to check on VIP or speaker arrivals, read emails, check out of your room, or make photocopies of the evaluation forms.
- Create a solid relationship with your banquet captain. Be very clear about your expectations and your ability to review the setups. Knowing that if his team doesn’t get it right the first time they may only have 5 or 10 minutes to fix a setup will help convey the level to which you’re going to have to rely on him.
- Most important is preparation before you arrive onsite. Call your Conference Services Manager before you arrive to walk through the specs and your resume. This will help flush out any questions they may have even before you conduct the onsite pre-con – and sometimes brings to light items that might be otherwise forgotten entirely! It’s also another opportunity to reiterate the fact that you’ll be relying heavily on in-house staff for support.
While being in this situation is challenging, it doesn’t have to be disasterous. You CAN do both successfully!