This guest post is by freelance writer Gina Smith.
With today's technology, we are no longer confined to collaborating with talent from within our zip code. We can reach out globally to organize the best team for the job. While there are tremendous advantages to working with people remotely, it also presents its own set of challenges. Meeting and event planners in particular must explore ways to keep contracted talent in sync with staff to ensure a smooth outcome. Here are some strategies you can use to help keep outsourced personnel in the loop.
Conduct an Initial Meeting with Everyone
Although it sounds obvious, conducting an initial meeting will everyone involved is an important step many event planners skip. As someone who has not only managed large-scale events, but who also has been outsourced to help others promote and coordinate their events, I've seen this lack of an initial meeting with all key staff and talent be the one common denominator with most outsourced jobs. If you can coordinate an initial, in-person meeting at the event site, that would be ideal. If this is not feasible, then set up a meeting where everyone can participate via teleconference. During this time, you must clearly outline the objectives and expected outcomes so everyone is on the same page. You also need to specifically define everyone’s role so there is no overlap or misunderstandings when it comes to responsibilities. Not doing so can result in duplication of efforts, or worse, a power struggle between various parties. Skipping this crucial step is like building a house without first setting a solid foundation.
Develop a Set Meeting Schedule
Outline a set meeting schedule so all parties can plan to participate. This is especially important for outsourced talent because they often have obligations outside of your project. Establishing a pre-set meeting schedule will promote meeting attendance. Again, these meetings can occur via teleconference for those unable to meet in person.
Conduct a Walk-Through with Everyone
This also sounds obvious, but the walk-through is one “meeting” that many people (especially outsourced talent familiar with the site) tend to miss. Everyone who is critical to the project needs to meet together on site at least once prior to the event. This is a time to conduct a dry run of the proposed schedule and identify potential roadblocks. If one key member of your team, outsourced or otherwise, is absent, you could miss recognizing possible issues.
Schedule Planning Meetings During Event
Key staff and outsourced talent should convene at least once during the event. During this time, each person should discuss their area and communicate any challenges and/or kudos with how the event is progressing. This is an excellent time for the entire team to troubleshoot problems, if necessary.
Outsourced talent for meeting and event planners may include areas such as: registration, audiovisual, site coordination, publicity, catering, and any number of event-specific roles. Although you may outsourcing to a large company for some of your roles, do not be afraid to make it a requirement for a representative to participate in meetings during the planning process. While their function may not require them to be involved with every planning meeting, they do need to be present during the initial meeting, walk-through, and any sub-meetings specific to their area. If they are not willing to be involved with pertinent pre-planning meetings, you may want to consider a different vendor. Keeping outsourced talent in the loop can be challenging, but following these tips can help promote communication, foster better coordination, and help you produce a successful, enjoyable event. Good luck!
Gina Smith writes freelance articles for magazines, online outlets and publications including Global Response. Smith covers the latest topics in business, golf, tourism, technology, and entertainment.