How I Taught An Executive That Her Admin Wasn’t The Answer

Missy Johnson, CMPAuthor: Missy Johnson, Principal, MJMeetings, LLC | Meetings Consultant | Gourmet Food & Wine Enthusiast | Sports Fan

Most chief executives I’ve met think their administrative support staff are invincible. Make no mistake. Many of them are incredibly talented, which makes them great at supporting others in the workplace.

However, through no real fault of their own, they don’t often have the specific skillsets necessary to effectively plan meetings and events.

Recently I had a conversation with a chief executive that shed light on the fact that the skills and technical expertise I possess are VERY different from that of her admin. She seemed entirely unaware (even surprised) that the skills and expertise I bring to successful meeting and event planning weren’t things that her admin could do.

I went on to explain the many things that I could bring to her organization that her admin wouldn’t, such as:

Savings Negotiator

Much of my role is negotiating better deals with hotel venues, caterers, decorators, trade show vendors and more. When you spend as much time as I do negotiating deeper discounts, you learn very quickly what vendors are willing to discount…and what they aren’t. Years of doing this has taught me that I know what to ask for and what to avoid.

ROI Master

With savings comes a return on investment. I’m able to demonstrate the ROI for every single meeting I plan because I know what fixed costs have been reduced due to my relationships with vendors. I’m also able to demonstrate the value of my time to each client with this data-driven report.

Risk Manager

Through my knowledge and experience, I navigate tricky contract clauses and limit risk on behalf of my clients. We have some very industry-specific language in vendor agreements for meetings and events that can proactively limit liability and manage risk.

Big Picture Thinker

Planners by definition are meant to plan ahead for all scenarios and identify blind spots. We’re able to strategically and proactively plan for all possible scenarios while also paying attention to the details. I call it “big picture planning” and it only comes with years of experience planning meetings of all shapes and sizes.

These examples helped the executive see that her admin, while amazing at what she does every single day, doesn’t have these critical skills. She also realized that by allowing me to focus on their meetings it would free up her admin to work on the tasks she was actually hired to do in the first place!

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