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Does your special event, meeting need a professional planner?

Planning a meeting or corporate event can be a daunting experience, especially when it’s something one doesn’t have much experience doing. All too often, the planning of critical company meetings is in the hands of an administrative assistant or secretary — and their regular workload is still hanging over their heads.

A well-planned meeting or corporate event should run like clockwork, with the emphasis being on the meeting itself — and the results. Because there is so much that goes into the planning of a meeting, many companies rely on professional meeting planners.

“A meeting planner already has all the contacts for everything you’ll need for a successful meeting,” said Deborah Simmons, who owns and operates Signature Occasions. While primarily a bridal consulting service, Simmons does a great deal of corporate planning, as well.

“It helps to have a ‘go to’ person, the one person who is in charge of a meeting. It’s difficult to tend to all the details and be a part of the program, too. Having a professional meeting planner frees up key employees to focus on their part of the meeting.”

Nice flow

A professional meeting planner provides services such as conducting research, budget management, time line management and contract negotiation as well as creating an event design, finding a venue and arranging for food, decor and, if applicable, entertainment. She may even handle registration, plan transportation to and from an event, arrange necessary accommodations for attendees, supervise at the site and conduct evaluations of the event. Some larger seminars may also present gift bags for attendees, so this would be an extra task to design and put together.

“The whole idea is to make sure the event ‘flows,’” said Simmons. “By using an outside planner, you won’t be taking internal people away from their normal duties to do something that may be out of their area of expertise.”

Attention to details

Angela Ward of Dream Events in Clinton agrees. While she’s fairly new to the corporate side of event planning, Ward has been planning weddings in the metro area since 1995. “If I can plan weddings, and tend to all the hundreds of little details, I know I can plan corporate events, as well.”

Ward said she can do everything from make arrangements for vendors, including catering, venue and entertainment, and she can supply reputable, quality speakers. “I did the same thing during my time at SkyTel. I helped plan the events held by the company, but I realized in doing so that it would probably have been better to hire an outside professional. I still had the same amount of work on my plate without the added burden of event planning.”

For larger meetings and corporate events, including conventions, the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau can usually lend a hand. The Bureau supplies name tags for attendees as well as “greeters” to welcome attendees and to check them in. It will also arrange a tour of area hotels and meeting venues.

For peace of mind and the attention to detail that will assure that any corporate function runs smoothly, a professional meeting planner may be the ideal choice for your next business event.

Contact MBJ contributing writer S.J. Anderson at andersonwrites@yahoo.com .

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