The Changing Course of Events

Ever notice how many changes that take place during the course of planning corporate events? Organization and planning go hand in hand. At one time, strong organizational skills were the hallmark of a seasoned event planner. Today it's the ability to deal with change and still execute events smoothly and professionally.

We'll discuss tools and strategies for minimizing and dealing with change some other time. Today, our focus is the most common changes corporate event planners encounter.

Changes in attendance. Despite email, text messages, BlackBerries, and a multitude of electronic organizers, coordinating schedules, confirming availability, and pinpointing the number of participants is more challenging than ever. Attendance has a direct impact on budget and can modify the nature of an event.

Changes in event budgets. It is not unusual for a budget to be slashed before a meeting planner even has a chance to submit a proposal.

Delays in decision-making. Delays can mean starting from scratch as some of the event venues and hotels that were originally proposed are no longer available.

Date changes. I remember a client who changed the date 3 times in the first week.

A change in objectives. The client selects one program or theme and then makes a drastic change in focus after event planning has commenced.

Changes in the rooming list. This is never ending. There have been times when the rooming list is modified and, before the end of the day, it changes again. Even on the day of an event, it is not unusual to discover that some participants are unable to attend.

Changes in the event agenda.  Either there is an increase in the number of agenda items for business meetings or the time required for them. There is also its twin a drastic reduction in the time allotted. I once had a client call for a quote for a half day of team building during one of its internal sales conferences. As the date drew closer, the meeting agenda kept expanding. Eventually, there was only time for strictly recreational, after dinner entertainment.

Last minute cancellations.

Changes after the event has started. Sometimes, there are hourly changes in agenda items and their sequence or a decision is made to end early on the last day).

What are some of the factors precipitating the frequency of change for corporate meetings and events?

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