Most people in my profession cringe when asked: “what do you do?” Why? Because the ‘easy’ answer, “I’m a meeting planner” gets the response – “oh, a party planner, what fun!” The more complicated answer “I’m an experience curator” or “I’m a connection facilitator” or “I’m an event professional” get blank stares. How to best describe what we do?
Recently, I heard the best description – meeting planners are MAGICIANS! At first thought, it made sense, but when the ‘speaker’ (spoken word artist, Steve Connell of Spoken Cinema) began expanding upon this, I was hooked and I’m sure the delivery method helped. If you’ve never seen a spoken word performance, imagine visual poetry – an artist is delivering a message perfectly timed with words or images behind them on-screen – it’s an amazing (and magical) piece of choreography (bet you didn’t know words could be choreographed!).
Steve posited that our parents were the first magicians – creating magical experiences for us from presents from Santa to elaborate birthday celebrations. As kids we just saw the end product (the gifts that appeared under the tree or fabulous parties) – we had no idea the amount of work it took to find and hide the perfect gifts or source the right decorations and entertainment.
Flash forward to today – grow-up meeting professionals do the same thing. Whether on the planner or supplier side, they perform ‘magic’ that their customers ooh and ah over, yet have no idea about all the preparation and effort that went into it. A performing magician needs to learn his/her craft from another and practice, working on timing, costumes, and props. A planner magician needs to do the same, learning from someone who knows the ropes, practicing their craft and working on scheduling, vendor management, décor, props, production, registration – you get the picture. Both types of magicians never let the audience see them flustered and can improvise where needed and the audience is none the wiser.
I’ve pulled a rabbit out of my hat more often than I’d like to admit – how about you?