Just the tip of the iceberg.
As I excitedly sat down to read my first article published in Midwest Meetings I realized that I had just touched the tip of the iceberg of knowledge and skills that meeting planners apply to every meeting. This iceberg includes knowledge of food and beverage, contracts, negotiating, concept and design, finances, coordinating suppliers, objectives, government regulations, economic changes, logistics, and meeting the needs of the organization and the attendees. Did I forget anything? Is your head spinning yet?
1. When preparing and storing food what is considerered the temperature range “danger zone” that allows bacteria to grow?
A. Between 40-140° F
B. Between 80-120° F
C. Between 100-150° F
The correct answer is A. Food left in the “danger zone,” grows bacteria that can make your attendees very sick. Even though you may not be doing the cooking and serving it is important to be aware of health and safety concerns. This also demonstrates the importance of working with reputable and quality suppliers.
2. The correct term for mixed vegetables is
D. Vol au Vent
The correct answer is B, Panache. Mesclun is field greens for salads, Vol au Vent is puffy pastry shells filled with creamed meat or custard dessert and Medallion is a small round piece of meat. Menu planning is important because of the cost and the high expectations. Gaining this knowledge may require some testing. The good news is taste testing may be some of the best tests you will take as a meeting planner!
3. An informal academic or research meeting for the purpose of discussion in order to find areas of mutual interest through exchanging of ideas is a
A. Buzz session
Colloquium is the correct answer. Today’s participants want to take an active role in their own learning and all of the above options are program formats that include audience participation. Based on the expected outcome these program formats include the audience, keeps their interest, and allows sharing of ideas.
4. When Americans enter a room or an area most will naturally go
C. Either way, no way is more dominate
Most Americans will go right when entering a room. This information was shared at a recent MPI meeting. The value of this relates to placement and layout. If you have something that you want every attendee to see or do, place it to the right. If you have something that is of lesser importance, place it to the left.
5. You are preparing a staging guide and need to define “down stage left.” The correct definition would be
A. Left rear stage as you face the stage
B. Right rear stage as you face the audience
C. Left front stage as you face the audience
C is the correct answer. It can be complicated when talking stage terms and directions. Be sure that everyone is on the same page of the script when finalizing staging.
6. A Cyclorama is
A. A raised speaker’s platform
B. Type of lectern
C. Platforms of varying heights used together to create a stage
C is the correct answer. Qualifying the client and their needs is important to ensure the use of the right equipment and the right set-up. It’s all in the details.
As a long-time meeting planner these questions may have seemed very simple. But for someone new to the industry the questions may have seemed a little challenging. As an experienced meeting planner what a great opportunity it would be for you to mentor and guide someone new to this career! As a professor teaching meeting and event planning classes, I am excited that students new to meeting planning will be able to explore below the waterline with professionals who will mentor and guide them through the calm but sometimes rough waters of meeting planning. I hope you enjoyed the journey beyond the tip of the iceberg and that you have the opportunity to share your skills with someone new to the industry!
Rita McClain, CTC, MBA Professor
AIB College of Business Event, Hospitality and Tourism Associate Degree
As a professor teaching event and meeting planning classes at AIB College of Business in Des Moines, IA for 15 years, I know the value of a strong educational foundation for students desiring a career as a meeting planner. My goal in the classroom is to prepare students to be successful by introducing them to the necessary knowledge and skills meeting planners must know to organize successful meetings. I strongly encourage my students in the Event, Hospitality and Tourism associate degree program at AIB College of Business to continue their education once in the industry through the many certification programs available to meeting professionals.