Michelle Eggert, CMP, CDS
Michelle Eggert, CMP, CDS 

If your event planning approach is anything like mine, I start contemplating how to improve my next event even before the current one is over. So you can imagine after 20-some years in the event planning business (but who’s counting?), I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks that have served my clients well. I thought I’d share my top three—plus a bonus tip—whether you’re new to the profession or you’ve got 1,000 events on your resume.

Let”s get started! Read on.


Even if you’re an optimist by nature, it helps to expect issues and be ready for them so that you’re prepared to handle any situation. It’s a good idea to have an emergency back-up plan so there’s a chain of command for who is responsible, and for what, in case an emergency arises.

I should add that planning for the unexpected might be the easy part. Perhaps more challenging—but equally as important—is to stay calm, collected and professional when something goes awry. Never lose your cool. Always remain in control.


Everything you’re planning—and I mean everything—will take longer than you think. For example, if you anticipate that budgeting will take four hours, plan on eight. In my experience, every task takes about twice as long, from site visits to client meetings, to menu planning and conversations with AV people. So be kind to yourself and budget enough time to do your job thoroughly.


When you’re planning your budget, be sure to incorporate one set of numbers that separates everything by line item, such as food and beverages and linen rentals, and the total cost of all those items. The second set of numbers should include all these items plus taxes and gratuities. Those are the numbers you’ll share with the end user. On the other hand, the convention services manager that you’re working with will want to know your budget for all those line items before taxes and gratuities. Keeping both sets of numbers at your fingertips will save you time and keep the lines of communication open between you, your client and the venue’s management.



I promised you a bonus tip too. It’s short, but I could argue that it’s the most important of all.

Your reputation will follow you wherever you go.

Take your time when planning. Always try just a little harder. Work with venues and partners that take your event as seriously as you do. Surround yourself with people who come through, time after time. Above all, let your passion show.

Best wishes—and happy planning!


Michelle Eggert has more than 20 years of experience in event management in the non-profit, corporate, association and religious markets. Before joining ConferenceDirect, she spent several years in corporate catering and sales at an independent hotel in the Milwaukee area, was employed at Strong Capital Management, and the March of Dimes, Southeastern Wisconsin District. Contact Michelle via her website http://michelle-eggert.go-conferencedirect.com


For details on arranging your next event at Monona Terrace in Madison, Wisconsin, contact Laura MacIsaac, Director of Sales, lmacisaac@mononaterrace.com or 608-261-4016.