Meetings rarely come off without glitches,
largely because of their greatest imponderable: attendees, whose
needs and attitudes can’t always be anticipated. To find out how
planners deal with problem attendees, M&C conducted an online
survey in May.
Half of the 408 respondents say they are asked to solve
attendee problems often or frequently during a typical meeting day,
but only 12 percent report problems typically requiring more than
an hour to solve.
Comparatively few lower-level employees (cited by 20 percent)
or VIPs (14 percent) are the troublemakers. Middle managers (cited
by 37 percent) and executives (29 percent) need the most attention.
But take heart: When solving these problems, 49 percent of the
respondents say they are thanked often or always.
Still, sometimes wisdom alone cannot prevail; 13 percent of
those surveyed have called security or the police to handle an
incident involving an attendee.
For example, one planner reports, “A brawl broke out in the
lobby after a cocktail reception. One attendee ended up with a
fractured hand and a broken nose. He could not be bailed out [of
jail] for 12 hours and missed the remainder of the meetings.”
Sometimes attendee behavior defies logic. Reports another
planner: “The attendee was a lawyer who could not understand that
the hotel was sold out. She refused to take a free night at a
nearby hotel. She started to turn off all of the lights and take
off her clothes and sleep on a sofa. We called the police, and she
spent the night in jail.”
Have you ever had to compensate a supplier for damage caused by an attendee? Yes: 14% No: 86%
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