Sheila O'Connor Director of Events and Conferencing Midland Lutheran College Fremont, Neb.
Don't be afraid to jump in with both feet. As far as meeting planning goes, it's not much different from planning other types of events. I find it very rewarding to work with religious meeting planning; it's challenging, but fun.
I think the biggest difference withis the inclusiveness. The events we plan and are a part of, we see more connecting time. In the corporate or business setting, they'd call it networking. It's more fluid, going from event to event. Like maybe we'll say, ‘We're having a great discussion, how do you feel if we wrap it up in 15 minutes and move on to the next event?’
David Baumfield Event Coordinator LIFE Outreach International Euless, Texas
I'm just starting my second year, so I'm relatively new. During my first year I found out that it's really just getting into the mind-set of planning way ahead. I'm already planning on the '07 calendar. Do all the prep work you can. If ever there is a slow moment, use it to get ahead on the next project.
There was one complication last year for an event in Canada, and that was making sure things are covered with customs. It's something to be sure not to forget. Make sure the airports do customs. Figure out who does and doesn't.
We flew into a regional airport and found out it didn't do customs, so we got back into the plane and went to an international airport and then back to the regional.
Rhonda Gaines Conference Coordinator International Christian Leadership Connections Shawnee, Okla.
If you're doing a conference for God, one of the biggest things to remember is no matter what the logistics are and what the problems, give it to God and it will work out in the end.
You do get stressed — it's probably one of the biggest things you fight. Just having the knowledge that God is in control and it will work out is a stress reducer.
Jonnie Smith Jackson Vice President at Large International Association of Ministers' Wives and Ministers' Widows Inc. Canton, Ohio
When going to the RCMA conference for the first time, I tell them to take advantage of all the things available, such as Behind the Scenes. It makes you appreciate what people in hotels and restaurants have to do.
The classes are absolutely vital. In fact, recently I was working on a state convention for my organization and I used some of the skills I learned at RCMA. It's overwhelming, so pay attention, take notes, and listen. Take advantage of everything.
Tiffany Harris Venue Coordinator Joyce Meyer Ministries Fenton, Mo.
Organization and communication are key — whether it's religious meetings or not.
I have a lot of lists, and they're very organized — questions that I ask at every place we're going to, and things that have come up over the years.
I love communicating by e-mail because it's always in writing. I'm very forgetful; I have to write it down. Then if you don't get an e-mail, I'll do a follow-up call. You have to be persistent.
Ted Hallenbeck Publications Director North American Association for the Diaconate Providence, R.I.
You've got to make something interesting, market it attractively, and give something for them to do.
One thing that has proven valuable in several organizations with which I'm involved is communicating through e-mail and conference calling. It helps to keep the planning costs down. This works especially well when people already know each other.