Event & Meeting Planning:
Worst Case Scenario Problem Solving
An Interview with Kim Moeller by Yvette Koth
I always approach teaching from a practical standpoint by giving real-world information that program participants can put to work immediately and that will make them more effective, save money, and add value to their clients and their businesses.
I usually open the class by proposing a problem, for example: The celebrity guest for the event cancels last minute (literally). What to do? Starting with a problem is realistic, because in the event and meeting business, problems occur far more frequently than people with limited experience in the industry would ever imagine.
It's important to understand that without knowing the goals and objectives of the event, effective problem solving is impossible. Rather than jumping directly into logistics, as planners often do, it is much more productive to stop and think about the strategy behind the event: What is the nature of the problem and how does it affect my goals and objectives?
This means that the same problem will have varied implications for different events. For example: The planned grand finale of the dinner event is the presentation of a flaming dessert, which the caterer suddenly cannot deliver. If the goal of the event was networking between participants and the introduction of keynote speakers, the type of desert may not be a key factor. If the entire event had been themed around the company being 'on fire' with success, or a new product being red hot etc., the flames would be of far greater importance. Those two scenarios clearly require different levels of problem solving.
Event and Meeting Planning is very much about Risk Management. Having a written plan for worst case scenarios is important, but it's not as important to have everything memorized (that's what reference materials are for) as it is to be able to think and ask the right questions.
The other must-have in this industry is a good network, and the classes are a great way for students to form their own professional networks.