After 960 presentations at conferences and conventions, I have a fairly good idea of what type of meeting planner is a good client and best to work with.
1. A good client completes my pre-speech survey.
A less-than-good client, even after asking them a couple times, does not get around to completing my pre-speech survey. So I ask if we can cover the Qs during a phone call, and that usually works.
2. A good client has accurately gauged their audience’s needs, but this is something you generally come to realize on site, and afterward.
A less-than-good client offers clues if they have insufficiently gauged audience needs, including not being consistent in what they tell you about the group, or seeking to micro-manage your presentation in the pre-speech stage.
3. A good client does not over-schedule their attendees.
A less-than-good client over-schedules their attendees, which is evident in the pre-conference schedule or flyer that they’ve posted. If you’re presenting early in the conference, fine. Presenting later, in a too-packed conference, could mean that the audience is in extreme over-drive by the time you say word one.
4. A good client allows me free reign with handouts.
A less-than-good client micro-manages the handouts, which might be evident in the weeks leading up to the engagement, but possibly might only be apparent once on site. Please square up the disposition of the handouts long before you step on the plane.
5. A good client, related to No. 3 above, offers a good flyer and good write-up.
A less-than-good client offers a poor flyer and/or poor write-up, which you can discern via this year’s or even last year’s conference announcement and supporting literature. There is not much you can do here, but forewarned is better than nothing.
6. A good client arranges the meeting room as I’ve requested, or tells me in advance why this cannot be done.
A less-than-good client ignores the room arrangement request. So you have two options, 1) strive for a solid two-way understanding in advance of how you need the room to be set up, and confirm this early, or 2) arrive extra early in case a major room re-assembly is needed.