After years as an in-house planner, I wanted what my boss wanted: As much as possible for as little as possible. That is to say, the lowest room rate, the most meeting space, and the greatest number of concessions. And I wanted it all for as little money as possible. (Suppliers, puh-leeze stop rolling your eyes.)
When I became an independent planner, meetings were still my first priority.
My head filled with images of wonderfully planned conferences, everything flowing richly, like Willy Wonka's chocolate river, with a rainbow of attendees laughing loudly, mouths filled with perfect white teeth and hot hors d'oeuvres.
I had once dreamt of how splendid everything would be when I had no boss to stomp out my ideas. It was going to be perfect! Yeah, right.
I didn't have the day-to-day hassles of an in-house planner, but now I had two parties to please. I had to satisfy the supplier and my client. It was difficult and it caught me completely off-guard.
I discovered it takes patience, persistence, flexibility and understanding (and maybe even a bit of luck). A good ear also played a vital role; preparedness helped, too. I also found out it's not all about money.
This game of give and take wasn't all that bad, though. I was not directly dealing with office politics or an indecisive supervisor. In the end, a contract was signed and we moved forward with the planning, when I could imagine wonderfully planned conferences with smiling faces and overflowing dishes.
What do you think is best? Independence or part of a larger company?