You Know You’re a Meeting Planner When…

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Written by Geoff Woliner

Geoff Woliner is an Arlington, VA-based event emcee and founder of Winning Wit, LLC, a company which helps people write and deliver the best presentations of their lives through the application of stand-up comedy techniques.

September 3, 2014

  • You’re asked to do a lot more with a lot less. “Deb, we need to bring that meal cost down to 37 cents per attendee. And the Red Roof Inn is running some great group deals. I think we can get 4 in a room this year.”
  • The sound testing works perfectly. Until the speaker begins and no one can hear a thing. Including the speaker.
  • You’re asked to plan a conference in Minneapolis…in January. With a straight face.
  • The “special accommodations” of the keynote speaker require you to find a rare, $50,000 Persian rug for their suite at the Intercontinental.
  • You’ve carefully vetted the menu, and later find out the Council of North American Rabbis was served a shrimp cocktail appetizer with a parmesan pork entree’.
  • The Expo floor opens at 9:30 a.m., but is printed as 9:30 p.m. on the conference program.
  • The event you’ve planned for 5 years is finally happening at the NYC Javits Center. The week of the transit strike.
  • One of the conference attendees had too much to drink and fell asleep in the Marriott elevator. Then woke up and threatened to sue every person at the conference, including the valet parking team and custodians.
  • You’re told to plan next year’s International Conference at the Pumpkin Grove, Wisconsin Expo Center because the CEO has a summer cottage there.
  • Lower budgets demand more creativity for entertainment. “No ice sculptures this year. But Barry from accounting will do some card tricks for the opening cocktail reception.”
  • The keynote speaker encourages the use of social media in his session…and gets furious when everyone is ignoring him and tweeting during his speech.
  • The conference app works like a charm. For the 11 people who were able to download it.
  • You have to constantly police the Expo floor because MegaTech, Inc. in booth 1140 has sent 30 professional models all over the building to gather names and business cards.
  • Your client presents you with exact details down to the color of the rose petals in the fountain area, you follow them, and are still attacked for an event that “wasn’t my vision!”
  • One of the breakouts was led by a rogue presenter who used language that offended every person in the room, conference, state and country.
  • Shuttle bus #5 missed two hotels en route to the Orange County Convention Center. Including one that housed the entertainment for the opening keynote session.
  • At the big party, everyone tells you how much they’re enjoying the conference. Right before giving it a scathing review on the survey.
  • The beef tar-tar was a big hit during the opening night reception. Until it made 800 people violently ill that night.

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