If you are like most meeting planners, you know first-hand how to juggle hundreds of tasks and stay on top of all the to-dos and actions that have to happen, before, during and after your events.
We all have read dozens of articles on how to better manage our time. These articles tend to focus on personal time management skills rather than on technology.
For example, in the book titled Time Management for Meeting Planners by Judy Allen, the focus is exclusively on the meeting planner themselves. The book does a great job talking about task prioritization, structuring your work load and how to reduce stress-inducing time challenges.
These are all useful skills, and all meeting planners should be aware of how time challenges can escalate quite quickly.
Today’s cloud based technology tools have made huge inroads on helping the busy meeting manager stay organized and more productive in numerous ways.
Event management technology comes in many shapes and sizes, however it’s important to be aware that not all technology can improve your efficiency and productivity. It’s important to have a clear concept of what your technology goals are, and to understand how to leverage your technology platforms to make your job easier and more efficient in many ways.
How does technology impact your efficiency?
It’s all about working smarter and more efficiently. Most apps and management platforms will save you lots of time, but only if they offer workflows and processes designed for maximum efficiency.
Some of the areas to consider include:
- Can you design brands and styles that can be re-used without extensive setup or programming?
- Can you design communication templates that can merge data and display responsive graphical designs?
- Can you build agendas and setup up sessions and functions in one centralized process?
- Does your data exist in multiple data sources or is it centralized in a single database?
- Are you working with separate apps for specific functions or are you using an integrated management platform?
Today’s newest cloud based management platforms are bringing a whole new level of productivity and efficiency to today’s meeting planners.
In the past several years, development of both mobile apps and integrated management platforms have reached new heights in connectivity, social media and overall increases in efficiencies and workflows.
One exciting new trend is the development of mobile app technology geared for meeting organizers and their teams. Imagine the efficiency of carrying a tablet instead of a notebook full of printouts, and your tablet offers a real-time connection to every piece of attendee data.
You can look up an attendee record, collect payments, send out communications and disseminate information all from a central portal on your tablet.
Real-time run sheets offer the organizer and their team the ability to track and manage the 100s or even 1000s of tasks that typically take place at a conference or event. You can see if a task is past due, and you can easily communicate with your team when following up on tasks and assignments.
Another technology that is gaining prominence is generation of real time alerts. Whether you receive an email or a text, meeting organizers can be alerted for any number of different situations. Are your hotel rooms getting close to a sellout? Get an alert BEFORE that happens. Did a VIP check into the conference? Get a text on your phone so you can meet them on the show floor. The possibilities are endless for keeping connected and up-to-date.
Reporting is another function that we all use. However, if you are using an integrated platform, imagine the usefulness of getting reports from any phone or tablet, always up-to-date and accurate. In a platform that integrates onsite check-in, you can get up-to-the-minute reports on your check-in numbers, badges printed, function attendance and more.
Most new apps and management platforms are built on state-of-the-art cloud platforms, which means you can multi-task much easier than you could with the more traditional web-based services.
New technology offers meeting planners the ability to open and access data from multiple events, and run multiple functions at the same time. This level of multi-tasking and efficiency represents a major shift from older technologies still in use today, where you typically can open or access one record at a time.
It’s an exciting time to be a meeting organizer – new technology, including apps and management platforms that are offering services and functionality unheard of even a few years ago.
The work doesn’t change – we all know a meeting planner’s day is busy and fully engaged. However, managing your time more effectively through the use of today’s technology makes all that hard work easier to do, and possibly saves you some time as well.