Tips For Handling The Details

Welcome to the 2nd (1st post) in our series of Q&A sessions with professional Christian meeting planners. For this post we asked Melinda Mitchell to share with us how she deals with all the details of planning her events. Melinda is the meeting manager for Christian Medical and Dental Associations and is responsible for planning several meeting a year. Hopefully you will find her answers helpful!

MSM – What are your keys for covering all the event details and not letting something slip through a crack?

Melinda – I have time-lines and checklists that I work off of to keep me on track. There are different ones for the speakers’ information, exhibitors, and hotel details. I also use  Task Reminder in Outlook to keep me posted as to the next item on my checklists.

MSM – As we all know, mistakes happen. How do you recover once you realize a detail has been missed, either by you or the event venue?

Melinda – If I’m the one that has missed a detail, I try to admit it as soon as it’s realized and get with those it has affected. Then together we can come up with a resolution. If I discover the venue is the one at fault, I bring it to their attention and again work with them to come up with a viable resolution. It always helps the situation to be able to say “I just realized. . .” rather than “I’ve known about this for months but. . .”

On a spiritual note, it’s best to use the opportunity to show grace and patience when others are at fault because of the grace we’ve received.

MSM – How do you communicate conference details to your attendees?

Melinda – Our members/attendees are older so I am just now getting to the point where almost everyone has an e-mail address. The confirmation material is usually sent that way once they register and then later I may e-mail some last minute up-dates. We still use mailings such as brochures and post cards to promote the meeting, and then we use the Web site to relay more specific details and to offer an on-line registration option.

MSM – How often do you communicate with attendees before the event?

Melinda – We only communicate a couple of times before the event. Once when they register and then a couple of weeks before the meeting to let them know we’re looking forward to seeing them at the meeting.

What about you? What tips can you share that help you stay on top of all your meeting planning details?