• The Importance of Leaders Asking, “What If” Questions

     
    FROM THE Fall 2017 ISSUE
     

    How Anticipation Proves to be a Strategy that Pays off in the Long Run

If I've learned anything in the 21st century, it’s to anticipate. The events of 9/11 knocked us all off our feet, but there were some good lessons to be learned. 

I read fervently the story of one group meeting in the Marriott at ground zero and how they managed to get out of the building that horrific day. Our department gathered to watch the continuous reports. That’s when we began to ask ourselves, “Could this happen to us?” We then decided on where to meet outside of the hotel if we had to evacuate.

Anticipation is the act of thinking things through to the possible end (or ends, depending on the action). Asking yourself “what if” questions can be daunting, but it’s worth the effort. Once you have thrown the covers off the scary outcomes, you can sanely shed light on how to avoid those situations and deal with them if they happen. 

Most meeting planners know to get a list of pharmacies, urgent care facilities and hospitals, in case an attendee becomes ill. Also, being aware of the safety procedures of the venue should be a given.  

A good leader not only anticipates the possibilities, develops a plan for the possibilities, and then rehearses those plans with staff members. Everyone on staff needs to be able to act without hesitation, because your attendees are going to look to you and them for what to do.

Anticipation does not have to be for emergency situations only. Anticipate the user experience with your websites and registration systems. Then, do the same for their physical experience at the event. 

It goes by many names, so what I like to call the Daily Operating Guide provides me a minute-by-minute breakdown of what is going to happen during an event. This ever-changing document takes a while to put together, but it also helps me determine (anticipate) where there could be gaps (like I need to be in two places at the same time). 

Of course, there will be times where you simply cannot foresee something happening. If you have been practicing anticipation, you will be able to stay calm and react appropriately. Your followers will be counting on you.

TRACEY B. SMITH, CMP, CMM, HAS BEEN PLANNING MEETINGS, CONFERENCES AND SPECIAL EVENTS FOR 20 YEARS. SHE WON THE VISION AWARD FOR EVENT OF THE YEAR IN 2011 AND HAS BEEN NAMED PLANNER AND SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR. SHE IS A GLOBAL EMERGING LEADERS COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTOR BASED IN CENTRAL TEXAS. 

It’s bluebonnet season in Texas! That time of the year when Hill Country roads are clogged with cars full of amateur photographer parents and their pint-sized Texans, jostling for position in fields of sky blue. While our love of our state flower shows no sign of ever slowing down, when it comes to the floral displays at galas and fêtes across the state, we can be a fickle bunch. So, Texas Meetings + Events magazine spoke with the experts to get the scoop on this year’s floral trends.

(Interviews have been edited for flow and clarity.)

 

Animals aren’t just for kids. People of all ages enjoy connecting with them, and humane animal exhibitors like Tiny Tails to You often have specific packages geared toward adults. Here are five tips on how you can make any event unique and unforgettable with the addition of cute, cuddly animals.