The Complete Idiot's Guide to Meeting and Event Planning


If you are given the responsibility of planning a meeting for your business, you need to make your company look good. This guide gives you suggestions for planning the budget, negotiating a space to meet, choosing a caterer, setting up the room, and planning programs. You will be able to produce an event that is organized and within your budget.

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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Meeting & Event Planning, 2E

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If you are given the responsibility of planning a meeting for your business, you need to make your company look good. This guide gives you suggestions for planning the budget, negotiating a space to meet, choosing a caterer, setting up the room, and planning programs. You will be able to produce an event that is organized and within your budget.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780028640044
  • Publisher: Alpha Books
  • Publication date: 3/19/2001
  • Series: Complete Idiot's Guide Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 7.36 (w) x 9.06 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Robin E. Craven and Lynn Johnson Golabowski launched Alliance LLC Meetings Management in January 1997. (Alliance LLC organizes national and international conferences, workshops, and seminars.) Together, they plan meetings and events for corporations and associations. They are also partners in MeetingsCoachSM, a division of Alliance LLC. As Meetings CoachesSM, they share their meetings-industry knowledge and experience with meeting planners by providing timely, constructive, and affordable assistance on just about any meeting-planning issue or topic.

Robin and Lynn also speak and provide training for the meetings industry. They have written numerous articles and currently write columns for Midwest Meetings and Small Market Meetings. Both are active members of Meeting Professionals International (MPI).Robin resides in Richland, Washington. She has a Bachelor's degree in biology from Virginia Tech University and has more than 22 years of experience as a meeting planner. She is a past president of the Wisconsin Chapter-Meeting Professionals International and was the first chair of MPI's Information Technology Advisory Council. She is currently the president of the Alliance of Meeting Management Consultants.

Lynn has more than 24 years of experience in the hotel, meeting, and tourism industry. She has an Associate in Arts degree from Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois, and a Bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant management from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie. Her industry experience includes managerial positions in sales and marketing with Stouffers, Marriott, Hyatt, and Wyndham. This experience, from both sides of the meetings industry-supplier and buyer-brings a unique perspective to her role as a meeting planner. She is currently the executive director of Meeting Professionals International-Wisconsin Chapter.

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Table of Contents


1. What Is a Meeting or Event Anyway?

Flying High. United We Should Stand. The Purpose of a Meeting. What Are Meetings and Events? Who Are These Meeting Professionals? Least Common Denominator.

The Right Time. The Right Place. The Right People. The Right Leader. The Right Scoop.

The Big Event.

2. One, Two, Three…Goal!

Why Bother?

Big Picture. Little Picture.

Roll Up Your Sleeves.

What? More Objectives? A Tisk, a Task. Thanks for Your Support.

Who's the Boss?

3. Is It Worth It?

Who Cares? I've Gotta Attend Another Meeting? I've Gotta Plan Another Meeting? I've Gotta Fund Another Meeting? Don't Forget the Exhibitors and Sponsors. Measuring Return on Investment (ROI). Measuring Tools.

Hard Dollars. Soft Sense. Attendee Perspective. Exhibitor Perspective.

Use the Information!

4. Who Ya Gonna Call?

Web Sites. Associations.

Why Join?

Trade Publications. Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVBs). Destination Management Companies (DMCs).

To CVB or DMC?

National Sales Offices (NSOs). Industry Experts.

Ask The Experts. MeetingsCoach. Meeting Matters (MIMlist).

Meeting Management Companies (MMCs).

5. Technology Soft-Where?

Do It Yourself. Off-the-Shelf.

Room Diagramming. Name Badges. Turnkey Management.

Lots of Online Stuff.

Site Selection. Registration and a Whole Lot More. Everything Else.

Trends of the Trade.

The Registration Process. Site Inspections. Online Auctions.

6. An Event by Any Other Name.

The Smorgasbord. Identity Crisis. It's More Than Drink Umbrellas.

Think Outside the Box. Not Under One Roof.

A Marriage Made in Sponsorship Heaven. “Fun”-Raising. The Final Four.

Master Plan. Contingency Plans. Entertainment. Volunteers.

7. Supplier Secrets No More.

Walk a Mile in My Shoes. Your Business Under a Microscope. Hotel Tag Teams. The Details, Please. Sales Managers Just Wine and Dine-Not!


8. Creating and Following a Timeline.

Timeline Types. Key Elements, Key Dates. Begin at the End. Keep on Track.

9. Dollars and Common Sense.

Everything Has a Price. Up for Bid. Building a Budget.

Spending Money. Making Money. Fixed vs. Variable Costs.

Cost-Saving Ideas.

10. Inn Sites and RFPs.

Location, Location, Location. Write the Right RFP.

Meeting Scoop. By Fax, Snail Mail, E-Mail, or Online. Ask and You May Receive. Special Accommodations. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Bon Voyage!

Guided Tours. Surprise! Go It Alone. Front of the House. Back of the House. Site Checklist. Virtual Inspections.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions.

Inform the Suppliers. Announce Your Decision.

11. Negotiating the Best Deal.

Vendors You Need. Needs, Wants, and Everything Else. Everything's Negotiable (Almost).

Attrition. Meeting-Room Rental. Unexpected Charges.

Written Documents. Nonnegotiables.

Music Licensing. Service Charges, Gratuities, and Uncle Sam. Insurance.

12. Contracts: Signing on the Dotted Line.

It's More Than Dates and Rates. General Provisions and Guestroom Issues. Meeting Space Provisions. Food and Beverage. Exhibit Space Provisions. Bye-Bye. Beyond Your Control. People Provisions. More Legal Mumble Jumble.

13. Marketing, Marketing, Marketing.

The Marketing Message. Marketing Philosophy.

Scenario 1: You Have to Attend the Sales Meeting. Scenario 2: Please Come to This Meeting.

Don't Shoot the Messenger.

Hard Copy. Cyberspace. Ads. Media. If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em.

Timing Is Key.

14. Exhibits and Expositions: Should You Do It?

Exposition or Tradeshow. Confusing Considerations.

Location, Location, Location (Again). How Facilities Sell Exhibit Space. How You Sell Space to Exhibitors. Exposition Services Contractor (ESC).

Determining Potential Exhibitors. Exhibitor Prospectus. Rules and Regs. Issues Onsite.

Move-In. The Hook. Move-Out.


15. The Setup.

Seating Is Important. Math for Meetings. Generation What? Interactive Sessions. Go with the Flow.

Session Monitor Floor Plans.

Setting the Ground Rules.

16. The Stuff Meetings Are Made Of.

The Players. Name Badges and Ribbons. Totes and Carryalls. Awards and Recognition. Giveaways and Amenities.

At the Meeting. In the Room. The Selection.

At the Tradeshow. “Logo It”. Everything Else.

17. Yakety Yak.

Setting the Stage. Where Do You Find Them? Hired Guns.

Hiring the Hired Guns. The Dotted Line…Getting Together.

Breakout Speakers and One-Shot Deals.

Call for Presentations.

Meeting Scoop Sheet. Books, Tapes, and Other Sale Items.

Taping and Publication Release. Book and Tape Sales.

Getting Them There and Other VIP Issues.

Speaker Ready Room. Cancellations and No-Shows. Monitors/Facilitators. Speaker Support.

Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse.

18. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

Getting There. Meet and Greet. Ground Transportation. Driving Directions. Moving the Masses. City-Wides.

19. You Gotta Feed 'Em, Too.

Pop Quiz. A Few Rules to Get You Started. Breakfast. Breaks. Lunch. Dinner. Receptions. Tricks of the Trade. Banquet Event Orders.

Guarantees. Service and Presentation. Special Needs.

20. Seeing Is Believing.

What Is A/V Anyway? Know What You Need. The Visual Basics. The Audio Basics Audiotaping. Professional A/V Production.

21. Registration and Housing.

Designing Your Registration Form. Developing Your Database. Signup Made Easy.

The Old-Fashioned Way. Do It Online.

Heads in Beds.

Housing Reservation Forms. Housing Bureau. Rooming List. Call-In or Online.



22. The Final Stretch.

You're Here.

Setting Up Your Office. A Quick Tour. Your Master List. Convention or Meeting Resumé. Rooming List-Keep on Top of It!

Your Role.

Too Many Chiefs. You're Responsible.

Meetings About Your Meeting.

Pre-Convention Meeting. Daily Chats. Post-Convention Meeting. The Three R's-Review, Review, Review.

The Master Bill Before You Go.

23. Ready, Set, Go Onsite!

Registration Setup Considerations. Staffing and Training. Signage. Behind the Scenes.

Welcome to My (Early!) Morning. Mid-Morning Relay Race. Come and Get It!

Bumps in the Road. Problem Solving. The Home Stretch.

24. Yikes! Help! Emergency!

What Is a Crisis? Your Motto-Be Prepared. Written Plans. Professional Security Services. Other Minor Frustrations.

Last-Minute Requests. Oh Puleese!

25. It's Not Over Till It's Over.

Paying the Bills. Tipping…Didn't We Do That? Tabulating the Evaluations. Final Facility Reports. Your Final Report. Ethics.

To FAM or Not to FAM. The Debate on the Rebate. Other Ethical Issues.

26. For Suppliers Only (Planners May Take a Peek).

Five Ways to Lose a Customer. Six Steps to a Great Partnership. Know Your Property/Product/Service.

Site Visits. Know These Things, Too.

Prepare to Solicit. Educate the Customer.

Inquiry Calls. Preparing a Proposal. Contracts.

Anticipate Needs. Provide Their Meeting History.

Statistics. Observations.

27. Alphabet Soup.

Certification-Is It for You? Higher Education.

Degrees/Certificates. Distance Learning.


Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Conferences and Seminars.

Get a Job! Get a Life!

28. Oh, the Insanity of It All.

How Much More Can I Take? Who's Clueless? What's So Hard About That? Look Out for #1.

Get a Coach. Friends and Family. When the Goin' Gets Tough.

The Office Never Closes.

Juggling Multiple Meetings. Staying Ahead.


Appendix A. Sample Forms and Checklists.

Appendix B. Meeting-Related Web Sites.

Appendix C. Glossary.


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