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Do you “date” you clients? I don’t mean this literally as clearly that would not be wise. What I do mean, though, is do you behave the way you might on an important date? Do you remember, when you were single, or are single and you’re on a date, how the conversations go?

I’ll be you don’t just sit and talk about yourself endlessly, now do you! When you’re on that date with that person who hopefully will be Mr.or Ms. Right, you smile and ask questions to find out about that person. You know, things like what they like to read, what music they like, where they go on vacation, how many siblings they have, how close they are to their family You gradually find out a little bit about what makes your date tick. Then you find out, where, you might fit into the scheme of things. If you find that you don’t fit into that person’s world, probably end the date early and don’t call them again, or agree to another date.

How does this relate to you as a meeting or event planner? Simple.

When you meet a new potential client or a new boss, or stake holder within your company or association, follow some of those dating ideas. Ask questions, see what they like or don’t like. Find out what they really need or want at that meeting or event and you’ll soon know whether, if you’re a third party planner or other supplier, whether or not they need you. If not, then move on. If you see that there is a need, ask for that second date.

What if the client is a current client or it’s your boss. Do just about the same, but this time you have some background about the situation and the person. It’s very important to have that date, though, as you might uncover a hidden agenda, or something that your boss really wanted, but never verbalized before.  This cold be a winning scenario for you.

Bottom line, for all meeting and event planners: Don’t take everything for granted or think that YOU know what the client wants. Ask questions, listen carefully. You just might find that you’ve either been barking up the wrong tree or make a huge discovery about their events that could make you look like the best planner ever!