Back to School: MPI Competency Framework for Meeting and Event Planners

MBECSAt this time of year, now that the children are settled back in school, event and meeting planners should devote some time and attention to their own personal and professional development. An understanding of the competencies and skills required can be of great benefit in identifying areas for development.

Competencies: A cluster or group of skills.

Skills can be cross-functional (sometimes called generic, cross-functional, or soft skills) or related to specific jobs or job families.

In Meeting and Business Event Competency Standards, MPI has identified 12 competencies and 33 related skills that event industry professionals need to master to perform their roles competently.

Meeting and Event Planner Competencies

  • A. Strategic Planning
  • B. Project Management
  • C. Risk Management
  • D. Financial Management
  • H. Meeting or Event Design
  • I. Site Management
  • J. Marketing K. Professionalism
  • L. Communication

For event planners in leadership positions there are 3 additional leadership competencies:

  • E. Administration
  • F. Human Resources
  • G. Stakeholder Management

Each competency is further divided into skills. For example:

Competency: H. Meeting or Event Design

Skills:

  • 16. Design Program
  • 17. Engage Speakers and Performers
  • 18. Coordinate Food and Beverage Services
  • 19. Design Environment
  • 20. Manage Technical Production
  • 21. Develop Plan for Managing Movement of Attendees

Each skill is broken down into Sub-skills.

Skill: 19. Design Environment

Sub-Skills:

  • 19.01 Establish functional requirements.
  • 19.02 Select decor and furnishings
  • 19.03 Coordinate meeting or event signage

How to Use Competency Frameworks for Developmental Planning

Assessment: The first step is to determine one's level of proficiency for each skill. MPI has identified the Coordinate, Manage, and Direct (reflecting a level of proficiency to coach and lead others).

In assessing each skill, it is important to consider the Knowledge Level and the Performance Level (i.e. actual demonstration of skill proficiency).

This can be determined through a combination of self-assessment and assessment by one's immediate supervisor. Some organizations use 360 feedback to get input from collages, direct reports and even clients and suppliers.

Select Learning Activity: Next, the learning or development activities need to be selected. Often, when one thinks about learning and development attending a course or conference first comes to mind. The truth is that a lot of learning and skill acquisition takes place on the job. Ensure balance and include a variety of developmental activities into the plan.

  • Courses
  • Conferences
  • Workshops
  • Projects
  • Job Shadowing
  • Job Rotation
  • Temporary Assignments
  • Volunteer Work
  • Overseas Assignments
  • Coaching From Others
  • Coaching Others
  • Special Assignments
  • E-learning 
  • Self-study Modules
  • Books

Don't forget to take learning styles into consideration when formulating development plans and selecting learning activities.

Some helpful resources for selecting developmental assignments and activities include the Successful Manager's Handbook, the Successful Executive's Handbook and the Leadership Architect by Korn Ferry/Lominger. 

For more information and access to the full competency framework, assessment checklists, definitions, and a curriculum guide for educators, read the MPI Meeting and Business Event Competency Standards.

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