All great meeting professionals have a few tricks up their sleeves to make events go smoothly. Some proactive measures are personal, such as always carrying an umbrella, while others reduce stress when dealing with logistical matters. Jennifer Sand, senior event manager at Event Strategy Group, offers the following suggestions to ensure you survive the New Year with poise, and deliver meetings and events with amazing returns on investment. Sand will be representing Lenovo for the 11th consecutive year at CES, the largest international consumer technology trade show, in Las Vegas Jan. 6−9.
Wear your own company-branded lanyard.
No one wants to walk around with a lanyard covered in the logo of your archrival. If more than one person is representing your company at an event, consider ordering enough for the entire group so you match.
Hire a private driver and car if your budget can afford it.
Having your own car on standby helps you get to and from your meetings in a timely manner and offers the option of getting your customers to you, as well.
Secure advanced dinner reservations.
Restaurants book up. Unless you want to host your customers at an early bird special or a midnight meal, make your reservations a few weeks in advance so you can get in at peak (and normal) dinner hours.
Carry shoe inserts, bandages, Neosporin & pain relievers.
The convention center is a half-mile long—at least it feels that long when you have to walk from one end to the other several times a day.
Monitor your movement with a pedometer/mileage tracking device.
You’ll be surprised how many miles you walk daily. Some of us do it in heels. You’ll be better able to justify a Vegas-sized dessert when you see how much ground you’ve covered.
Pack FedEx labels.
Always pack your own FedEx labels and pouches in case you need to ship something to yourself after the event. The business center at your hotel is likely to be very busy, so being one step ahead will save you some time.
Sharpies are must-haves.
The need to quickly hand-write a label comes up at least once every event. Whether it’s a box of samples, a key to a hospitality suite or a makeshift “do not enter” sign, a sharpie will come in handy more than once.
Cash is a planner’s best friend.
Throwing money at the problem really does work sometimes, so have some extra cash handy. Tipping a little extra could be the difference-maker in having your package delivered in time for your very important meeting or having your car pulled up by valet quicker so you can get to your next event on time.
Portable snacks help keep planners pleasant.
When you’re on your feet all day, running around, you may realize you’ve been too busy to eat breakfast or lunch. Having an extra granola or protein bar in your bag will save you from low blood sugar crankiness so you can remain your delightful self for your meeting.
Bring your patience.
When there are people everywhere, everything takes a little bit longer to do. If you have a little patience, you’ll end up seeing some really cool, new stuff and meeting some really cool people.