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I've said this before but it bears repeating because it's as relevant today as it was a year ago when I wrote it...

One year ends; another year begins. It happens all the time. We make plans. We set goals for ourselves for business or pleasure, perhaps for our families.

As one year closes and another year begins, we take stock of how we faired in the goals department and figure out what we’d like to accomplish in the New Year.

In the past I’ve not been one to focus much on “goals” per se from a personal perspective, rather my concentration has been more on “to do” lists. But since writing my book and listening to other authors talk about their goals – writing another book, blogging more, participating in book fairs to sell their books, etc., I’ve had a change of heart – or a new awakening. More than “to do” lists, GOALS merit more thought and more planning (but also require a “to do” list of tasks in a specific order to get them done).

Throughout my meeting planning career I was taught that GOALS needed to be SPECIFIC, MEASUREABLE, ACHIEVABLE, RESULTS-ORIENTED, TIME SENSITIVE (and come with a TIME TABLE).

Goals once set can be hard to realize if your reach is too high, too bold -- so be realistic. Once you reach a goal, you can always shoot for more; shooting too high at the onset on the other hand, can set you up for failure and that’s not where you want to be. It also helps to have someone in your court to hold you responsible to your goals, so share them with someone you can count on to keep you accountable.

Setting goals is one way to REBOOT and RETOOL. But, there are other things you can do to continue to LEARN AND GROW in your existing work environment or in preparation for a new adventure that will add value to you, your team or your internal customers now. And, any of these can easily be turned into goal statements by making sure they are -- what again? SPECIFIC, MEASUREABLE, ACHIEVABLE, RESULTS-ORIENTED, and TIME SENSITIVE.

  • Keep your career in permanent BETA mode by continually reading, attending in-person professional development conferences, listening to webinars and podcasts. Challenge yourself by trying new and different things.


  • Merge and purge files, declutter your office.

  • Research and site new venues.

  • Review existing policies and procedures and best practices. Upgrade accordingly.

  • Implement new ideas to enhance or change what’s been done in the past. Keep it fresh. Keep it simple.

  • Refine and streamline planning processes and associated working documents (such as your Meeting Time Line, Overall Meeting Action Plan, Request for Proposal (RFP), and Daily Function Detail Meeting Plan).

  • Upgrade your technology skills.

  • Volunteer your time, energy and expertise. Learn from others.

  • Take time for YOU. Do things you enjoy doing to stay healthy and upbeat.

It’s important to your personal and professional well-being to stay connected with others. Surrounding yourself with upbeat people, will help you sustain your passion (and may just shed some much needed sunshine on another’s person day as well).

If a speaker reaches out, take their call, read their collateral, offer to watch their video.

There are a lot of good speakers with inspirational messages on their videos or in their books that just might help you get through a bad day, not to mention be a great fit for a program somewhere down the road.

If a hotel sales person or some other supplier reaches out, take their call. You'll both feel better.

I did this when my job was transitioned because I wanted to LEARN something new; I had the time; I wanted to feel connected and be connected.

It’s a WIN-WIN all around.

Independent planners or other consultants can do all of the things I identified above but here are a few additional ideas to help you create interest and added value.

  • Review and update your existing email distribution and/or prospect lists.

  • Reach out to existing clients; keep them updated on what's happening.

  • Reach out to past clients. Perhaps their situation has changed since last contact; your call could serve as a reminder should they need assistance now or in the not too distant future. Or, perhaps there's someone new in the position; this is your time to introduce yourself.

  • Review and update your website.

  • If you blog, review existing blogs, update the ones in need of a refresh and then re-post.

  • Blog more. What do your readers what to/need to hear more about? What new information and ideas do you have to share with them?

  • If you like to write and haven't yet been published, consider writing an article or a guest blog, or perhaps a book. (If I can do this, you can too.)

  • Connect with your hotel, restaurant or other past vendor contacts asking to do a site visit; write a review and then blog about it.

  • Cross market your services with your suppliers.

Take stock of the things you can do better, the changes you can do now to prepare for what’s next.

Read about how I made the transition from one career to another and what I learned along the way that made me a successful meeting professional in my book, “The Meeting Planning Process: A Guide to Planning Successful Meetings.”

With this book, you’ll:

  • GAIN the structure and tools needed to succeed as a meeting professional.

  • BRING order to the planning process; ELIMINATE the panic, chaos and fear that comes from taking on a new project.

  • KEEP focused, on task, and on time.

REBOOT and RETOOL and be prepared!

Wishing you all a very happy healthy, safe and productive 2024.



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