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Plan Before Negotiating Events

February 27, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 178

Many organizations hold numerous events, for any number of reasons. Sometimes, these events are held as member benefits, while at other times the intent is fundraising. At still other times, the event may be educational or training in nature, and often an event may serve multiple purposes, or entirely different purposes from what I just listed. Sometimes events are for small groups, while other events may be massive. Events also vary significantly in their budgets, etc. For more than three decades, I have been professionally arranging, organizing, coordinating, and/ or consulting regarding events. I have been involved with events for as little as about twenty five attendees, and as large as several thousand. What I have come to realize is that any chance of success is always dramatically impacted by the quality and nature of the negotiations.

1. Before negotiating, organizations need to know what they want, what they need, and what they can afford. They must examine their goals for the event, and their priorities. What are they happy with from prior events and what are they less than thrilled with? If this is an annual or periodically repeated event, such as a conference, convention, fundraiser, etc., has their attendance and their results been improving, stable, or have they seen diminishing returns? If their success rate has been decreasing, to what do they attribute this? Everyone involved with planning and organizing this event must be on the same page in terms of their vision for the goals and purpose of this event.

2. Great events have themes that attract people to take notice, and feel welcome. The theme of the event must be incorporated into all pre- marketing for the event, as well as carried over into the event itself. This may include decorations, colors, foods served, etc.

3. What is the budget for the event? Creating a budget should serve as a method of prioritizing and organizing activities, programs, and concepts. Projected revenues should always be done on a conservative basis, and must include any fees charged for attending, subsidies, advertising, sponsors, etc. Expenses should be looked at from a worst case scenario, because it is always better to err on the size of caution when creating a budget. This helps to determine what needs to be negotiated, what is the greatest priority, and what are the options.

4. What's needed to make this a great event, and what needs to be negotiated? Which items have the highest priorities and are thus determining the game maker versus game breaker approach to effective negotiating. A negotiator must fully understand in which areas there is more flexibility, and which there are less.

5. Professional negotiating includes all aspects. No area should be left without negotiating! If this event is being held at a hotel, and guest rooms are needed, planners must understand the price level that is needed to attract attendees, and further avoid deterring attendance by being too highly priced. If this is a multi- day event, planners must take into consideration any complimentary or subsidized rooms that need to be provided, as well as the costs of meeting rooms, etc. Far too many organizations overlook items such as audio- visual costs, only to be shocked when they realize how high these costs may be. Like everything else, audio- visual is also negotiable. Negotiators must address the costs of food and beverage, and know how to work with banquet/ catering departments to come to a mutually agreeable solution that works for both sides.

The most important message I am trying to send is that planning is vital to successful negotiations. Negotiators must be armed with as much pertinent information as possible before commencing negotiations, so as to be as well prepared as possible. It is vital to remember that it is always easier to negotiate before a contract is signed, than it is after one is signed, and far more advantageous to pre- negotiate as many items as possible. Organizations should either fully explore their needs, or utilize the services of a professional event negotiator, so as to put themselves in the best possible position for success.

With over 30 years consultative sales, marketing, training, managerial, and operations experience, Richard Brody has trained sales and marketing people in numerous industries, given hundreds of seminars, appeared as company spokesperson on over 200 radio and television programs. He's negotiated, arranged and organized hundreds of events.

Richard's owned businesses, been a COO, CEO, and Director of Development, as well as a consultant. His company Website is, and he can be followed on Twitter @rgbrody. For great information on many topics, visit PLAN2LEAD's Facebook page and LIKE (

Source: EzineArticles
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