What Every PCO Should Know About Professionalism As A Conference Organiser

Attending conference related information forums there are an increasing number of conference organisers who introduce themselves as “definitive”, “expert” or “professional” in their field – whichever that may have been ….. albeit, having been that kind of professional for two months, sometimes six!

At one of these meetings, a particular self proclaimed wedding organiser was asked a few questions on their area of expertise. The response was a common one ….. the question :

“If you were approached by a client requesting information on wedding venues in the Muldersdrift area, where would you recommend?”

The reply was embarrassing in its extended silence which was eventually broken by the question: “Where?”

The sad reply was “The Wedding Mile of Africa!”

This pretence is dishonest, unethical, lacking in integrity and just plain misrepresentation.

Examples of inept management ability in planning conferences / events / weddings / team building are endless. The query posed here is …..”What has happened to integrity, professionalism and honesty? Where have ethics gone and since when has it become acceptable to pose as a professional without obtaining the basic knowledge to do the job?”

This is an uncompromising industry that doesn’t allow for errors, mistakes or glitches. We are dealing with people, meeting venues, conference centres, conference facilities, food, budgets, time and deadlines.

If you don’t know how or what to expect, you are going to get egg on your face and a very unhappy or very angry client or supplier. You are also going to affect the reputation of other event planning companies.

Entry levels of knowledge and professionalism should be demanded as they are in other industries. If you open a supermarket, certain minimum standards are not only required but demanded. Open a car franchise and open your wallet – the standards required are onerous and hugely expensive . But in the conference organising industry anyone can set themselves up as a “professional” offering “educated information and advice” to clients. Even becoming an estate agent or hairdresser – minimum standards are required and exams are set.

The people who suffer are those who are truly professional, adhere to the requirements of the representative association, pay their dues to land and country ….. and those who request the service, knowledge and advice.

Please leave me your comment below to let me know what your experience has been with other players posing as special events coordinators or conference oganisers.

About Vicki Hooper


Victoria (Vicki) Hooper has worked in the conference industry since 1993. She started working with Venue Finders. In 1994 she formed her company Venue for Conferences in Africa. Prior to this Vicki worked in the fields of journalism, marketing and human resources. Her experience in these varied fields is extensive. Follow Vicki on Google+

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