From the Archives: Event Planning

This post was orginially posted on Feburary 14, 2011 by Kathy Craney.

This morning as I was getting ready for work, I was watching a Milwaukee news program and saw an interview from the Milwaukee NARI Spring Home Improvement Show. They have over 330 exhibitors and more than 700 booth spaces as well as speakers, competitions, etc. Home improvement may not be your particular interest, but have you ever thought about what goes into planning an event and who coordinates all those people/spaces/etc? An Event Planner, also known as a Meeting or Convention Planner.

Other Titles:

  • Corporate Planner
  • Government Meeting Planner
  • Convention Services Manager
  • Conference Coordinator
  • Education Planner
  • Manager of Registration
  • Education Seminar Coordinator
  • Conference Services Director


1. Many employers prefer applicants who have a bachelor’s degree:

  • Marketing
  • Public Relations
  • Communications
  • Business
  • Hotel or Hospitality Management

2. Experience planning meetings for a university organization or club (Also think Internships!)

3. Useful Skills:

  • Excellent written and verbal communications
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Good at establishing and maintaining relationships
  • Detail-oriented
  • Ability to multi-task
  • Meet tight deadlines
  • Maintain composure under pressure
  • Quantitative and analytical skills
  • Computer skills
  • Speaking multiple languages may be a plus

Job Prospects: Employment of meeting and convention planners is expected to grow 16 percent over the 2008-18 decade, which is faster than the average for all occupations.  Opportunities will be best for individuals with a bachelor’s degree and some meeting planning experience.

For Further Information:

  1. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition Meeting and Convention Planners
  2. For information about meeting planner certification, contact: Convention Industry Council, 700 N. Fairfax St., Suite 510, Alexandria, VA 22314
  3. For information about the Certified Government Meeting Professional designation, contact: Society of Government Meeting Professionals, 908 King St., Lower Level, Alexandria, VA 22314
  4. For information about internships and on-campus student meeting planning organizations, contact: Professional Convention Management Association, 2301 S. Lake Shore Dr., Suite 1001, Chicago, IL 60616-1419
  5. For information about meeting planning education, entering the profession, and career paths, contact: Meeting Professionals International, 3030 Lyndon B Johnson Fwy., Suite 1700, Dallas, TX 75234-2759
  6. Additional career information about meeting and convention planners