There are two types of planners. The first type gets an assignment and decides on a series of logistical options to make the meeting happen. These planners fill an important function, and their work will always be needed. Every live meeting or event needs a venue, a room, a layout, a design and appropriate food, beverages, and accessories. This is an extremely valuable role, as it executes and implements plans.

The second type of planner has a very different job. These planners make it their responsibility to raise the assignment, the event, their own positions, and even the profession itself to the next level. They are concerned with fulfilling strategic objectives.

Accordingly, they are concerned with flow and feel, with impact and return on event (which combines ROI, return on investment, and ROO, return on objectives), rather than just a look. They nudge their way into the corporate culture to participate at the highest level possible to earn the trust and respect of senior management and to appeal to the needs and emotions of attendees. They know it takes more than logistics to produce events that engage attendees. They defend, promote, and budget bringing on a strategic event designer to brand and create the interactive experiences that hit all the touch points and messaging.

The strategic planners make it their responsibility to deliver a meeting or event that inspires and motivates to the point of effectively communicating the intended message and increasing the chances of achieving the intended business result. They need a village! As in the productions of a film, a play, or photo shoot, they know it takes a team to work together.

Whatever your role, do the best job you can and support the growing awareness of true strategic meeting and event design.

Titles of the Future
In the context of different types of planners, let’s think about different ideas for titles. At a conference about five years ago, I asked a room of senior planners to name some titles for the future: given your role, what would you call yourself and what would you call others around you? Here is a sampling (presume the director title is followed by manager and coordinator roles).

Director of Planning and Logistics

Director of Creative and Styling

Director of Experiences

Director of Visual Dynamics

Director of Sensory Engagement

Director of Risk Management

Director of Design and Flow (Kinetic Engineering)

Leave a comment below to let me know some that you can think of, or that you are.

Dianne Devitt