Meeting Masters, Inc. (MMI) President, Diane Fulton, was recently featured in visitRaleigh's Meeting Planner Spotlight. In her interview with Loretta Yingling, the national sales manager at the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), Diane discussed how MMI started, the reasons behind the team's success, and why holding the ILTCI conference at the Raleigh Convention Center in 2022 was such a fabulous experience. MMI looks forward to hosting many more successful meetings and conferences in Raleigh, North Carolina in the future. Check out the Meeting Planner Spotlight on Diane now!
MMI's Tips for Surviving this COVID-19 New Way of Life
A little over a month ago, I was preparing for my busy spring season. I filled my days finalizing BEO, giving guarantees, and confirming vendors and registrants. Then that coronavirus we all heard about that had seemed a world away spread a bit too close to home, and clients and attendees started to worry. My usual busy season prep suddenly turned into a month of reading and rereading force majeure clauses. I was compelled to have SO MANY difficult conversations with clients and hotels.
Just when I thought I had handled the current situation with grace and compassion for all involved, reality set in. The coronavirus - COVID-19 - changed the entire world as we know it. For everyone. Now I find myself with little to no face-to-face interaction with the outside world as I work from home in what is the new normal for many.
I did not handle it well. Let’s face it: meeting planners are extroverts. All of us in the hospitality and events industry are. We THRIVE on talking to what feels like 10,000 people a day, solving event-related crisis, and hitting 20,000 steps on our Apple Watch before noon. SOCIAL DISTANCING is MUCH NEEDED, and we all need to do our part to stay home… but I’d be lying if I said this whole situation was easy for me to accept with a career based ENTIRELY on creating SOCIAL GATHERINGS.
As this new reality set in, I worked through the Kubler-Ross models’ five stages of grief:
I gave myself a Netflix binge day or two, (highly recommend The Great Interior Design Challenge!) but knew I must use this time to find fresh ways to provide better service to my clients - and to take better care of myself. Now is the time to focus on how to make the best of our new normal. One without deadlines, interaction, eating out and visiting the gym. The only way to succeed in this new way of life is to create a daily routine.
Structured days are much needed for planners like me who do not do well with “open play” time...