Did you realize there are 33 essential skills you must master to be an efficient and effective event organizer?

The Meeting and Business Event Competency Standards (MBECS), which were created jointly by Meeting Professionals International and the Canadian Tourism Human Resources Council, are broken into 12 categories. They are: strategic planning, project management, risk management, financial management, administration, human resources, stakeholder management, meeting or event design, site management, marketing, professionalism and communication.

Within each category, critical subskills are defined. If you want to earn your Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation, you should become familiar with all of them, because the Convention Industry Council is realigning its CMP Blueprint to match the MBECS.

If you think the 88-page document defining the MBECS is a little hard to read, you’re not alone. That’s why we’re creating a new Advice section on PlanYourMeetings.com that will be called “Meeting the Standard (MBECS).” Every month, we’ll share real-life stories from the trenches that correlate to the 33 essential skills and multiple subskills needed to excel at this profession. For example, instead of running a dry how-to story about the nuts and bolts of creating a crisis management plan, we’ll tell you how one planner used hers after a VIP jumped into a pool during an on-site function and drowned.

Our goal is to create an online library of flesh-and-blood stories that help you learn from your peers and put the standards into perspective. If you have stories you’d like to contribute, please send them to [email protected].

For our 2012 PYM Annual, “The Anatomy of a Meeting Planner,” we’ve arranged the 33 skills as a periodic table of elements required to do your job successfully and surrounded it with stories and case studies that we think you’ll find illuminating. Here’s a brief look at everything you are expected to master for each event (click to enlarge). If you’re not already a subscriber, you can claim your free copy on our subscription page.

Here’s a transcription of the 33 skills. As we start to run MBECS stories, we’ll start to link them back to this list. So bookmark this page, and it will become an organic learning library for you. Plan well and prosper!

Strategic planning

1. Manage strategic plan for meeting/event

1.01. Develop mission, goals and objections of meeting/event

2. Develop sustainability plan for meeting/event
3. Measure value of meeting/event

Project management

4. Plan meeting/event project

4.01 Develop a project plan

4.02 Develop quality standards and procedures

4.03 Develop theme for event

4.04 Develop a procurement plan

4.05 Establish milestones and a critical path

4.06 Develop integrated communication plan   

4.07 Develop evaluation/audit procedures

Risk management

6.01 Identify risks

6.02 Analyze risks

6.03 Develop management and implementation plan

6.04 Arrange security

Financial management

7. Develop Financial Resources
8. Manage Budget
9. Manage Monetary Transactions


10. Perform administrative tasks

Human resources

11. Manage human resources plan
12. Acquire staff and volunteers
13. Train staff and volunteers
14. Manage workforce relations

Stakeholder management

15. Manage stakeholder relationships

Meeting or event design

16. Design program
17. Engage speakers and performers
18. Coordinate food and beverage services
19. Design environment

19.02. Select décor and furnishings

20. Manage technical production
21. Develop plan for managing movement of attendees

Site management

22. Select site
23. Design site layout
24. Manage meeting/event site
25. Manage on-site communications


26. Manage marketing plan
27. Manage marketing materials
28. Manage meeting/event merchandise
29. Promote meeting/event
30. Contribute to public relations activities
31. Manage sales activities


32. Exhibit professional behavior (requires 12 sub-skills)

32.01. Projecting a professional image

32.02. Demonstrate leadership

32.03. Demonstrate ethical behavior

32.04. Work with colleagues

32.05. Work in a diverse environment

32.06. Manage time

32.07. Manage stress

32.08. Professionalism – making decisions

32.09. Solve problems

32.10. Keep up to date with changes in the industry

32.11. Facilitate continuous improvement


33. Conduct business communications (requires 6 sub-skills)

33.01. Communicate verbally

33.02. Conduct business communication

33.03. Use communication tools

33.04. Make effective presentations

33.05. Plan and conduct meetings

33.06. Establish and conduct business relationships