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type A planners

Tips for Working with Type A Meeting Planners

As meeting planners and partners, we are meeting and cultivating relationships with people every single day.  Some of our persuasive sales and service tactics work well with some, but not so well with others.  We’re dealing with a myriad of personalities and we all respond differently to emails, voicemails, networking receptions and the like.  In fact, I’ve often been labeled as stand-offish and hard to get-to-know.  I’m trying to do better and be more sociable, but during business hours I have a strong drive to stay on task and tend to business at hand, not relationship building.  I think other Type A Meeting Planners would agree; there is a time and place for the relationship building and a time to get the business signed, sealed and delivered.

As defined by Psychology Today, Type A personality traits include hostility, impatience, difficulty expressing emotions, competitiveness, drive, perfectionism and an unhealthy dependence on external rewards such as wealth, status, or power.  (yep, sounds about right).   Defined by Wikipedia, Type A and Type B personality theory describes two contrasting personality types. Personalities that are more competitive, highly organized, ambitious, impatient, highly aware of time management and/or aggressive are labeled Type A, while more relaxed, less “neurotic”, ‘frantic’, ‘explainable’, personalities are labeled Type B. (still sounds about right; I like the word ‘neurotic’ for type A).

While it may be difficult to administer a quick personality test to your clients before you start interacting with them, you can get a sense of the type of planner they are within the first few minutes of interaction.  (Spoiler Alert – most meeting planners tend to be Type A given they are perfectionists, highly organized and highly aware of time-management)

Now that you know you’re dealing with these perfectionist, neurotic, frantic planners, how do we get our messages to break through to them?

Here are some tips on how to communicate with Type A Meeting Planners during business hours:

  1. Make your email actionable – this speaks to the time-management and organized skillsets of Type A meeting planners – by including a clear CTA on your note makes it easier for Type A Planners to respond quickly and clearly.
  2. Schedule stuff in advance – the time management piece is really kicking in here – Type A Meeting Planners are future planners; sometimes with their own events years out.  Extend them the courtesy of scheduling your call, site visit, lunch date and FAM with plenty (and I mean plenty) of time.
  3. RFP responses are clear and concise – RFP systems like Cvent make viewing RFP responses easier and easy-to-compare with other priorities.  Type A planners like facts and figures.  Providing a 400 word summary about the ‘majestic hills that shadow the Jack Nicklaus designed golf course that backs onto one of seven of your infinity salt-water pools that are fragranced with fresh lavender’ may work for Type B peeps, but not Type A.  Got a golf course that isn’t riddled with gopher holes?  Perfect for the first response to an RFP.  You can build on that info with subsequent communications with a Type A meeting planner.
  4. Bullet points are awesome!!  Type A meeting planners LOVE bullet points – quick, easy to read, easy to respond.  Love them.
  5. Introduce yourself clearly, with full name and organization – this speaks to the frantic and neurotic Type A traits.  If you call a type A planner, please introduce yourself with your full name and organization – Susan Smith with XYZ Hotel in Whoville.  Avoid saying “hi its Susan”, and leave type A planners trying to figure out which Susan you are.  (You are exempt from this if you are a friend of the planner and you know they will recognize your voice, etc)
  6. Save the personal stuff for other times – Type A meeting planners can be very social and personable, but tend to keep that part separate from the work at hand.  While it may be tempting to ask how their long weekend was, or how their new puppy is doing when they answer your call, your call or email should focus on the task at hand before addressing those questions.  Type A meeting planners love those questions during in-person, relaxed networking events.

As a Type A Meeting Planner myself, I find my strongest business relationships are with those that started out on the right foot with the above tips during business hours.  If you do catch me at a networking event, please do ask how my new puppy is doing, I’d love to show you pictures :)

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