Conference Event Planning – Front of the Line

If I’ve learned anything in my career, it’s that I can’t do it all. I can’t be in all places at all times. I know, shocking right? For that reason, and a plethora of others, I believe it is imperative to utilize front line (or on-site staff) for conference event planning.

In the interest of full disclosure, for about fifteen years, I ran the Operations Department of a full service Destination Management Company in a large cosmopolitan city. And during my tenure there I was in charge of and operated approximately two hundred and fifty programs a year. Although the majority of the programs took place in my home city, over the course of several years I traveled across the US planning annual meetings for certain meeting planner clients. To describe my life during those fifteen years, in a word, workaholic. And not by choice, but out of necessity.

No matter what our industry or position, we all deserve a reasonable quality of life. And to be honest, it took me a very long time to come to that realization. I have found by using front line staff (on-site staff) during conferences, seminars, events and pretty much any programs, you lessen the burden. Because no one can be in all places at all times.

Conference Event Planning – Right This Way

The person, or team, that coordinates the program and the front line staff who participate in executing the program go hand in hand. Like the song says “You can’t have one without the other”. You really do need both for the crucial success of your conference event planning.

Whether they are full time, part time, contract or freelance, having a list of go-to people that you can rely on makes all the difference. Having front line staff that you can trust to be your eyes and ears on site (when you can’t be there), relieves a HUGE burden when you`re “conference crazy busy” and right in the thick of things.

Conference Event Planning – Sign on the Dotted Line…

When hiring front line staff be sure to look for people that you know can and will fill your shoes when you are otherwise occupied. In other words, people that can follow direction, have attention to detail, are hard workers and obviously trustworthy.

Once you have your people on board, be sure to train them properly in the manner you want them to execute any given task. If you don’t provide them with the tools to perform as flawless a job as possible, you cannot expect them to accomplish what you envision. In general, be sure you are clear and share your expectations. It has been my practice to not expect any front line staff to perform any job that I myself am not willing to do. With each new program, sit down and review the details and provide as much information as possible. There is never a scenario of too much info. And always, be sure to work in the field with your team so they see by example the kind of work you provide and expect.

We can’t do it all that’s for sure. So by hiring people that are like minded hard workers that care about the program and the client and by setting a good example, success will be yours.

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