Do You Plan Meetings For Companies Outside of Kansas City?

Missy Johnson, CMPPost written by Missy Johnson, Principal, MJMeetings, LLC | Meetings Consultant | Gourmet Food & Wine Enthusiast | Sports Fan

With Year 3 of MJMeetings underway, I’ve started to realize that even some of my friends don’t really know what I do.

In fact, I recently had a friend ask me if I can plan meetings and events outside of the Kansas City metro area. The answer?

YES! Not only do I work for clients outside of Kansas City, but I work anywhere my clients host meetings and events

In fact, my physical location in Kansas City has very little to do with where most of my meeting planning experiences have been.

Fiesta Americana Grand Coral BeachA couple of quick examples:

-Last Fall I planned a large four-day conference at a lovely resort in Cancun for one of my association clients and their 750 attendees.

-I also helped plan a corporate incentive trip for 100 employees in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic for a client based in California.

I certainly have Kansas City clients, but I also have clients in San Diego, Minneapolis and Chicago, to name a few…and all of them host meetings and conferences all over North America and the Caribbean.

In other words, I go anywhere and everywhere my clients need me and I’m happy to do it.

In my years in the meetings industry, I’ve learned that being professional, experienced and strategic is paramount. Smart companies and associations know when they need a consultant on their team with these qualities and they will go anywhere to find them.

And me, my laptop and my phone will go with them!

To learn how to get more out of your meetings and events, call me at 913-645-6649 or email me at

My Job Is To Make You and Your Company Look Amazing

Missy Johnson, CMPPost written by Missy Johnson, Principal, MJMeetings, LLC | Meetings Consultant | Gourmet Food & Wine Enthusiast | Sports Fan

Sometimes when I tell people I’m a professional meeting and event planner, they look at me like I’m speaking a foreign language. I see their minds trying to process and visualize what exactly it is I do and why I’m in business.

The next thing often out of their mouths is “Oh, you plan weddings!” No, I don’t plan weddings….but if you’re looking for that, I’d be happy to introduce you to my wonderful friend Beth Chappelow.)

As I enter my 3rd year with MJMeetings, it’s clear to me one of the biggest challenges I face in growing my business is that MANY PEOPLE DON’T EVEN KNOW MY PROFESSION EXISTS!

What makes that fact even more ironic is that my profession is consistently rated as one of the Top 10 Most Stressful Jobs. For 2016, Event Coordinator comes in at #5, just behind military personnel, firefighters, airline pilots, and police officers.

So why do so many decision makers in business not know my profession exists? Simply put, they don’t know what they don’t know. As a result, many businesses make someone in their office do the work (and take on all of the stress that comes with it) of a professional meeting and event planner. Just a few of the problems with that age-old and often misguided approach include:

(a) It’s not their full time job.
(b) They don’t have the training, skills, experience or professional credentials of a meetings professional.
(c) No one in the company knows if they are doing it well or saving money by asking the right questions (I saved a company $250,000 in one year by renegotiating several existing meetings contracts). Additionally, they often have no idea as to whether they’re getting the right kind of ROI for their meetings and events.

How do I explain my profession to people who haven’t ever heard of it before? It’s simple…

My job is to make you and your company look AMAZING at professional face-to-face live experiences.

Set TableBusinesses of all types are involved in live events, meetings (Board, Sales, Annual, etc.) and trade shows. My job is to ensure you and your company have all the tools to make these events match your business objectives, enhance your brand, execute flawlessly so your guests are totally engaged, and make sure you stay on budget.

Here are a few examples of how I help my clients with all or some of these pieces needed for a successful live experience:

  • Creation/Strategic Development of the Idea
  • Budget Development/Tracking
  • Venue/Vendor Research, Negotiation, Selection, Management
  • Invitation Creation/Delivery/Tracking
  • Brand Engagement throughout all elements
  • Logistical Planning of all details
  • Management of event, staff, vendors and attendees on-site
  • Post-event surveys, budget tracking and ROI wrap-up

I handle everything so you can focus on brand messaging, networking with your guests and making sure the big picture of your business objectives are met during the event.

To learn more, call me at 913-645-6649 or email me at

Dear P-Nation: It’s Not You. It’s Me.

Missy Johnson, CMPPost written by Missy Johnson, Principal, MJMeetings, LLC | Meetings Consultant | Gourmet Food & Wine Enthusiast | Sports Fan

If there’s one thing I know to be true about myself, it’s that procrastination is my friend. I mean a REALLY good friend.

Throughout my life, I’ve seemed to operate better under the pressure of a deadline than when I have plenty of time to complete a project. Whether for work or home, I just can’t get my brain to focus on a project if there’s no time-frame to complete it.

This isn’t a new problem for me. My friend Procrastination (let’s call her P-Nation) has been with me since my teenage years, and even though I routinely resolve to not let her get in my way ‘the next time’, she always does.

She’s wonderful at distracting me when I’ve set aside time to work on a project and she’s also great at talking me into doing something more fun instead of the sometimes-boring-but-necessary project I really should be doing.

Well, NO MORE!

And this time I mean it. P-Nation is going to be taught a lesson or two and it starts now! I’m employing a few new strategies to combat her persuasions and un-friend her:

Effective Calendar Management!

This may sound pretty easy, but it also works. If I schedule time on my calendar to get a project done AHEAD of when I need to do it…it usually gets done. Now I may move the appointment on my calendar from one day to another or from one time to another, but as long as I don’t delete it, I will always follow-up on what I’m supposed to do.

Tomato Timer –

TomatoTimerI’ve recently found this easy tool on the web and the logic is simple. Set the timer to focus on a project for 25 minutes and then the timer re-sets for a 5 minute break. You can take a longer break if needed, but this way you are forcing yourself to work uninterrupted for a defined period of time. Focusing my mind for small increments of time works really well for me.

This is the time of year that I always seem to have many outstanding projects to complete. Some of them are items I wanted to get done before the end of last year that didn’t (like finally organizing all of my recipes both old and new in one place for easy access) or projects that require a little more time and focus than I typically have (like refreshing my LinkedIn Profile).

So I’ve really taken to my NEW friends, Calendar Management and Tomato Timer…and my old friend P-Nation isn’t too happy about it…but she’ll get over it. In the end, it just feels great when I schedule focused time to work on projects and cross them off my ‘to-do’ list.

Who’s with me on this? Anyone else really suffer from too much time with P-Nation or other annoying “friends”? What other strategies do you use to combat her persuasive ways? I’d love to hear from you!

Make New Friends But Keep The Old.

PCMA pic 2jpgPost written by Missy Johnson, Principal, MJMeetings, LLC | Meetings Consultant | Gourmet Food & Wine Enthusiast | Sports Fan

I recently got back from the PCMA Convening Leaders annual meeting in Vancouver and wanted to share a few lessons learned.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, this conference has served as “my New Year’s cleanse” for each of the last 15 years. It consistently refreshes my mind, body and spirit and gives me new motivation as I start each new year.

This year, my attention was divided between two areas:

-Assisting PCMA in running a successful conference as I helped manage the logistics in a few breakout rooms.

-Maximizing networking with old friends and new.

PCMA Logistics

The logistics management work I did allowed me the opportunity to hear several great speakers in the educational sessions. Most were considered “thought leaders” and gave me insight and inspiration that I was craving.

PCMACL2016For example, I learned about creating brand advocates from Johnny Earle, the creator and founder of the cult brand, Johnny Cupcakes, who inspired me to not be afraid and just go for it.

And Mel Robbins taught me about the four-letter F-word (FINE) that I should banish from my vocabulary and what it can mean for my psyche and overall attitude.

These are just a few examples of the great main stage speakers who were brought to the conference by great speakers reps like my friends Tim Mathy at Speak Inc. and Tom Neilssen at BrightSight Group.


PCMA picWhile networking, I kept thinking about that old song from when I was a girl scout, “Make new friends but keep the old…one is silver and the other’s gold”.

I really wanted to re-connect with old friends in the industry who I might only see once or twice a year.

And of course I wanted to meet several new people and foster those relationships for years to come. I’m happy to report that both goals were accomplished.

I feel a renewed sense of connection to those in my industry who truly relate to my challenges and frustrations in this industry. That alone made the trip worth it. Feeling connected to those who ‘get it’ is invaluable.

My cleanse is complete. Time to move forward with purpose, optimism and passion…

2016: Here I come!

PCMA Pic3PCMACL2016 (5)

My New Year’s “Cleanse” for the Last 15 Years: PCMA Convening Leaders

Missy Johnson, CMPPost written by Missy Johnson, Principal, MJMeetings, LLC | Meetings Consultant | Gourmet Food & Wine Enthusiast | Sports Fan

Every year the second week of January is circled on my calendar and blocked off. It has been since January 2000 when I became a member of the Professional Convention Management Association.

PCMA’s annual meeting, titled Convening Leaders, is the highlight of my new year. It’s in Vancouver, British Columbia this year.

Of course I enjoy the senior professional-level education that’s offered and the eye-popping opening/closing receptions that showcase the latest and greatest trends in our industry.

But the real draw is the amazing networking opportunities that happen over four straight days of focused, face-to-face time with 4,000 of my closest friends and peers in the industry.

We all love and appreciate the opportunity that PCMA provides for us to see one another, share ideas and reconnect. PCMA is very intentional about structuring the conference agenda with tons of built-in networking time with longer than average refreshment breaks, “can’t miss” evening receptions and bite-size learning opportunities that encourage engagement. They do this because members continually request and appreciate it!

PCMA Convening LeadersLet’s be honest, there’s just something inspiring about being able to share a giant, collective ‘hug’ with the ones who truly understand you and your workplace stressors. (Did you know that Meetings Professional is consistently listed as one of the Top 10 Most Stressful Professions?)

As much as we can connect by phone, email and online social platforms throughout the year, looking someone in the eye and really connecting face-to-face is so much more powerful. It’s the special power of meetings, conferences, conventions and seminars. The educational content is important and meaningful too, but the connections are so much more lasting and valuable.

So over the next week I’ll be learning, engaging, networking and socializing with some of my ‘besties’ and I’ll come back feeling rejuvenated, focused, inspired and connected. It’s the best way I can think of to do a New Year’s ‘cleanse’ for the mind, body and soul.

Vancouver…and Convening Leaders…here I come!

3 Lessons When Planning An International Meeting

Missy Johnson, CMPPost written by Missy Johnson, Principal, MJMeetings, LLC | Meetings Consultant | Gourmet Food & Wine Enthusiast | Sports Fan

I recently returned from working with a client at a lovely five-star resort in Cancun, Mexico. Each day the skies were clear, the sun was warm and the water was crystal blue.

These are the wonderful benefits that hosting your meeting or event in paradise can bring, but, I also learned some important lessons about working outside U.S. borders. Here’s the top three:

1. Communication is Critical

While I pride myself on having excellent communication skills (I have two communications degrees after all), there are just some things that are simply “lost in translation”. For example, in working with the a/v company, I had requested a floor stand for the microphone in the audience and they thought I wanted a table-top mic stand.

For whatever reason, the words I used to describe it made it sound like something different to them. I learned quickly that I needed to ask my contacts if they clearly understood what I was communicating and try to get them to repeat it so I could ensure we were, in fact, on the same page. Patience is the key here!

Cancun2. Conduct a Daily Master Bill Audit

Because this meeting spanned six days, I requested to do a daily audit of the group’s master bill with a representative from accounting. I’m really glad I did.

It was so easy to correct small errors from the previous day’s charges while they were still fresh in my mind and while the hotel still had an opportunity to correct them without major approvals.

The small errors I detected over the six days added up to several thousands of dollars by the time the meeting ended.

And while I’d like to think that I would’ve caught them all upon final bill review, it certainly made my review of the final invoice much quicker…and gave me (and ultimately my client) greater piece of mind.

3. Keep Credit Cards Safe

While the restaurants at the resort were wonderful, there were a few times we ventured outside the hotel to eat. In the span of 10 days, we had TWO credit cards that were compromised because the numbers had been stolen from vendors outside the resort.

In hindsight, we could’ve easily used cash for these meals and avoided a host of headaches. Sadly, tourists are an easy target for this in Mexico and other parts of the world. Somehow you never think it will happen to you…until it does.

Have you planned or attended a meeting outside the U.S. lately? What lessons did you learn?

5 Reasons I Freaking LOVE October!

Post written by Missy Johnson, Principal, MJMeetings, LLC | Meetings Consultant | Gourmet Food & Wine Enthusiast | Sports Fan

It’s October and it’s my favorite month of the year!

It’s been that way since I attended the University of Kansas where the hill-topped campus boasts thousands of mature trees turning beautiful autumn colors and putting everyone who sees them in an amazing mood for 30 days! October reminds me that life is really good and that I should slow down and be grateful for all the blessings in my life.

Here are a few things I’m grateful for this October:

MY HUSBAND MIC – 24 years ago this autumn I met my husband, Mic. He’s the best husband and partner I could have ever hoped for and is so supportive of me and MJMeetings in every way. His birthday falls in October (10/5) and so does our wedding anniversary (10/11) so he also loves this month. In fact, this year, he’s come up with his own personal hashtag! #Mictober

frontporchCOOLER TEMPS
– I love it when the air turns crisp, the humidity dials down and the biting insects go away. Being outside in the cooler weather is so pleasant and makes for an enjoyable month of dining al fresco, taking long walks with our dog Hinrich and enjoying a cocktail or two on our front porch. #FrontPorchFridays

FALL ACTIVITIES – Our calendar always fills up with lots of fun activities in the fall…the Plaza Art Fair, the American Royal BBQ, golfing with friends and watching Chiefs football. I look forward to these events all year long so when fall arrives, I’m ready. #FunWithFriends

MicMissyKROYALS – Once again this year, our Kansas City Royals are in the playoffs and I couldn’t be more excited to enjoy what I hope is a wonderful playoff run for our team! This team is really fun to watch because they have so much fun when they play together…reminding us all to have fun at work. #ForeverRoyal

CLIENT WORK – Yes, this month I’m very thankful to be busy with work for my wonderful clients! I’m working on projects/meetings for four different clients right now and, although juggling between them is sometimes a challenge, it’s also invigorating to be faced with such an awesome challenge. I’ll be traveling to Cancun, Mexico for one of the meetings at the end of the month so I’m also grateful that my work travel takes me to such great places! #MeetingPlannerPerks

Do you enjoy Fall as much as I do? Share your comments below and tell me why.

Enjoy October everyone! I know I will!

How I Find Inspiration By Keeping My Eyes Open

Missy Johnson, CMPPost written by Missy Johnson, Principal, MJMeetings, LLC | Meetings Consultant | Gourmet Food & Wine Enthusiast | Sports Fan

As a meeting planner, I’m the worst type of attendee to someone else’s event or meeting. Why? Because I’m always looking around and analyzing the final product, the a/v production pieces and the overall look and feel of the event.

But lately, I’ve been looking around at other events with an eye towards inspiration for new twists on my own meetings and events. Here are just a few examples:

The 67th Annual Emmy Awards

While watching the 67th Annual Emmy Awards Show a few weeks back, I noticed a few things I could incorporate into my own meetings. For those who also watched, you might have noticed that the award nominees were all seated towards the front of the theater and on the ends of rows. This makes for easy and quick access to the stage for the winners and less waiting for the audience.

Also, the live band was arranged on a large platform above the main stage. I’m sure it was expensive to create but it gave me an idea to arrange live performers on balconies or high platforms above the main stage at my own events.

A Taste of Leawood


While attending A Taste of Leawood, a fundraiser done by the Leawood Chamber of Commerce, I was pleasantly surprised by the natural flow of the event and the lack of bottle-necking around the restaurants who were sampling food for guests.

The clear signage hung high above all food tents was easily visible from near and far and told guests exactly who was sampling food at each tent. Signage can often make or break and event if done well or done poorly. It’s great when you can get it right and this event did.

The Kansas City Royals

As a HUGE Kansas City Royals fan, I’m obviously very involved in watching the daily happenings of the team and keeping up with what’s going on. I’ve taken inspiration from the Royals organization on effective email marketing as they do an amazing job of staying in touch with their fans through e-marketing.

Since I’ve purchased game tickets from the team, I’m signed up to receive their marketing emails. Not only do I get messages about purchasing tickets at discounted rates for upcoming games, but I get reminders to vote for my favorite players in national award races, discount codes to purchase team gear through their online store, and messages of thanks for simply being a fan. The key takeaway is to stay in touch regularly and sometimes just reach out to say hello.

It’s cool how you can just look around at the things you see on a daily basis and draw inspiration for your own life and work from the people and events you immerse yourself in.

You just have to be looking for it!

My Top 10 RFP/Contract Negotiation Tips (Free Resource)

Post written by Missy Johnson, Principal, MJMeetings, LLC | Meetings Consultant | Gourmet Food & Wine Enthusiast | Sports Fan

Over my 20 years of meeting and event planning, I’ve learned hundreds, if not thousands, of strategies to best execute meetings and events to maximize ROI.

Missys ToolboxThe tools provided in this and future blog posts will provide a high level overview and help you plan your next meeting or event.

Today’s Tool: Top 10 RFP/Contract Negotiation Tips

Please let me know if there are specific tools you’d like to see in future posts. Also be sure to subscribe to my blog to automatically receive updates in your inbox.

If you have any other questions, please contact me at 913-645-6649 or

I’ll Book Your Next Meeting For FREE!

Missy Johnson, CMPPost written by Missy Johnson, Principal, MJMeetings, LLC | Meetings Consultant | Gourmet Food & Wine Enthusiast | Sports Fan

Did you know that venues will often negotiate complimentary rooms for staff to stay in during your company meeting or conference?

Did you know that audio-visual companies typically offer discounts to groups who use a/v equipment in multiple meeting rooms each day?

When you use an experienced meeting planner to book your organization’s meeting or conference, these are just a few of the benefits you will enjoy. For years I’ve successfully negotiated these kinds of complementary concessions on behalf of my clients.

And it gets even better. What’s the biggest benefit to you and your organization when you use an experienced meeting planner to book your meeting or conference?

You don’t have to pay me to do the work! Yep, that’s right. Instead, the hotel or resort pays me directly. This is very common in our industry and is known as a “sourcing commission”, which is paid to the person who books it by the hotel or resort where the meeting is booked.

FREEThis is a great benefit for businesses, associations, etc. who don’t have the budget to work with a meeting professional on a regular basis but who want to enjoy the benefits that one can provide.

I’m going to say it again. Work with me to book your next meeting or conference and it won’t cost you a dime. Plus, you’ll get all the benefits of a professional contract negotiator on your side.

Not only will I save thousands of dollars that you would’ve spent on your meeting, but I will also help you mitigate the risks involved when entering into a conference contract.

All at no cost to you. Trust me on this one….the benefits of having me do your sourcing will far outweigh you trying to do it yourself!

Want to learn more or ready to get started? Call or email me today at 913-645-6649 or