An Ode to Swans and Meeting Planners
You plan, you prep, you check and double-check rooming lists. The past months have seen a steady stream of site visits, detailed negotiations, and lengthy email threads. You’ve spent untold months, maybe years, making meticulous arrangements in the hope of putting together the perfect event…only to have the inevitable attendee, who had pledged allegiance to your event ages ago, cancel at the last minute.
It’s a miracle you still have hair left to pull out.
In an interview with Elite Meetings magazine, futurist Robert Talwar colorfully described meeting planning like this: “If a client sees something that looks like a swan gliding across the water, the meeting planner is the legs frantically paddling underneath.”
That sleek, graceful, calm-and-collected swan gliding across the water is the perfect event we all work so hard to achieve. But such poise does not come without its’ fair share of paddling.
As we prepare for our upcoming Elite Meetings Alliance this weekend at the Vdara in Las Vegas, I’m reminded of my crash-course in event planning. I’ve worked a handful of these events. I’ve experienced the late nights, early mornings, stubborn staff, and last-minute changeups. I know the truth.
The Meeting Planner is one of the hardest-working unsung heroes of the workforce. As attendees, we experience the glitz, glam, and flawless flow of an offsite event, but the wizard behind the curtain, the frenzied paddling of the regal swan, is the Meeting Planner who made it all possible.
Here’s to you—the coffee-chugging, list-checking, badge-assembling Swans of the working world: The Meeting Planner.
Written for Margaret Holsinger, the operative behind the Elite Meetings Alliance and our own in-house Swan.