Be the Optimal Partner to Association Meeting Planners: A Guide for Success

Being a successful speaker takes a lot more than being a subject matter expert or even mastering all the elements of stagecraft. 

Sure that’s all very important. 

But while the association world is huge (over 100, 000 associations in the US) – the meeting and events part of this world is much smaller. Your reputation will take you a long way up or drag you a long way down. 

So the question is how does a speaker build a stellar reputation and become in-demand in the association meeting space?

In short, it requires you to master the art of partnering. 

To be the optimal partner, it is crucial to first understand and address the various factors that contribute to the success of an event. 

Understanding the Meeting Planner’s Needs

To be an optimal partner, it’s essential to understand the specific needs and goals of the meeting planner. This includes gaining insights into their target audience, event objectives, and expectations. By aligning your efforts with the planner’s vision, you can effectively contribute to the event’s success.

If the planner’s goal is to create a networking event for young professionals, you can contribute by suggesting engaging icebreaker activities, recommending a suitable event space, and providing contacts within your network to help expand the attendee list.

For the planner it is important to see you as invested in the event’s success as they are. 

Effective Communication and Collaboration

Maintaining open lines of communication and collaboration is another key to building a successful partnership with meeting planners. Regularly share updates on your progress, ask for feedback, and offer assistance when needed.

One of the most simple things to do is text the planner when you arrive at the hotel or let them know if your plane is late or delayed. Don’t give them heartburn wondering if you are going to show up or not. Keep them in the loop. 

Another example might be if you are responsible for organizing a panel discussion. Make sure to keep the meeting planner informed about the confirmed speakers, discussion topics, and any changes or updates. This proactive approach will help ensure a smooth event execution and demonstrate your commitment to the partnership.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Let’s face it, at any event there are a lot of balls in the air. Events can be unpredictable, and being able to adapt to changing circumstances is a valuable trait in a partner. Embrace flexibility and be prepared to adjust your plans or responsibilities as needed.

Don’t be a diva! You need to roll with the punches.

If a speaker cancels at the last minute, be ready to step in and find a suitable replacement, or offer to restructure the event to accommodate the change. Your adaptability will be appreciated by the meeting planner and help maintain the event’s success.

This flexibility and willingness to make life easier for everyone will show a significant return as your reputation as a partner grows across the industry. 

Delivering High-Quality Content

Some speakers have a signature speech and deliver the same performance everywhere they go. But even if you’ve climbed a mountain or won an Olympic medal it’s important to understand your audience’s needs and adapt your content to the conference’s theme. 

When you’re tasked with providing content for an event, ensure that it is relevant, engaging, and valuable to the audience. High-quality content is a critical factor in attracting and retaining attendees.

Let’s say you are presenting a workshop on industry trends, conduct thorough research, incorporate real-world examples from the industry you are presenting too, and engage the audience through interactive activities or discussions. This will create a memorable experience for attendees and reflect positively on both you and the meeting planner.

Becoming the optimal partner to meeting planners is one of the best ways to grow your reputation and your speaking business. It’s an often overlooked  – but critical – skill that every speaker needs to master.

By adopting these strategies you will show planners that you are willing to go above and beyond the details in your speaking agreement and demonstrate your commitment to their event’s success. 

And that  should be your goal at every engagement.