6 Reasons NOT to Become an On-Site Meeting Manager

Be Warned

Written by Lori Gershaw

Lori Gershaw started her career in the event industry in 1989 as an Independent Meeting Planner and grew her business into a full-service meeting planning company.   In 2003 she founded her second company, GCG Event Partners, a nationwide network of Independent Meeting Planners and On-Site Meeting Managers.

August 15, 2013

There’s a crowd at the Registration Desk and they’re getting restless.  You’ve got someone squawking about being registered yet they’re not on the list, the Banquet Manager is trying to get your attention to tell you they’ve run out of broccoli, and the LCD projector for some reason isn’t displaying the presentation despite the fact it worked just a minute ago.  Ugh!  What do you do?!  As they say, if you can’t take the heat, then get out of the kitchen!  Before you think it’s a breeze and anyone can do it, think again…

  • Calm, cool, and collected.  If you can’t remain calm, even under the most stressful situations, this job is not for you.  You are being counted on to be the voice of reason and if you can’t keep a level head about you when things go wrong, then you may want to consider a different profession.
  • Problem-solver.  You’ll be presented with a problem and all eyes are on you… what are you going to do?  It’s up to you to be able to apply common sense, define the problem, collect relevant data, establish the facts, and draw valid conclusions… and then do something about it!  If you get all frazzled when presented with a problem and don’t know what to do, then this job isn’t for you.
  • Leadership skills.  If you’re the On-Site Manager in charge, then people are relying on YOU to lead them, give direction, and proactively get the job done according to the client’s expectations.  If you’re a follower and expect others to tell you what to do, then this job isn’t for you.
  • Multi-tasker.  Things will be coming at you from every direction.  You’ll have to juggle a lot of balls in the air and you can’t drop any of them… all while keeping a smile on your face.  Are you up to the task?
  • Assertiveness.  Sometimes you need to politely, professionally assert your position, whether it is to stay within regulatory compliance or to keep the meeting running smoothly according to the client’s instructions.  Have you got what it takes without going overboard and offending people?  There’s a fine line and you’ve got to know how not to cross it yet still get your job done.
  • Eyes and Ears.  When it comes down to it, you’re executing plans on behalf of someone else, so you have to know when to alert the client and when to ask for help.  So if you’re the type of person who can’t admit you need help, or is afraid to report that something went wrong, then you may want to try a different profession.

Becoming an On-Site Meeting Manager takes skill, meeting planning knowledge and the right personality.  There’s so much more to it than what meets the eye and it’s not for everyone.  Feel free to add your own thoughts on what skills are required in the comments section below.  There are a lot more than 6!

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