Clever Carly: Why Self-Awareness Is Key to Better Meetings

Research shows self-awareness is key to success—try these three strategies to boost self-reflection

Hello, planners!

A large part of growing in our roles as planners extraordinaire is learning from past mistakes and tweaking processes accordingly. One way to do that is through gathering attendee feedback: Surveys, brief on-site interviews, even reading attendees’ body language, are all tools that help inform future planning. 

But another major component is having the self-awareness to recognize pain points on your own. (In fact, in one study of senior executives, a high self-awareness score was the strongest predictor of overall success.) Because attendees only see the final product of our labors, if you rely on their feedback alone, you ignore opportunities to fix or streamline any hiccups that exist within the planning process itself. 

Now, you might be thinking, “As long as I get my work done and the event falls into place one way or another, why does it matter?” 

It all comes back to efficiency: The more effective your planning process, the stronger the event and the less stress for you

So, take the time to check in with yourself. These three strategies can help cultivate self-awareness—and set you up for bigger and better events in the process:

Get reflective. 

You send out post-meeting surveys for attendees to reflect on their experiences, so why not try answering the same questions yourself? They say hindsight is 20/20—with the event in the past and the pressure off, getting contemplative can help you flag moments that could have gone better, as well as brainstorm solutions for next time. 

Keep a log.

For planners who can be a little forgetful, track the planning process in real time. Take five minutes at the end of each day to write down a couple of things that went according to plan and a few more that were not so on target. It might seem like an extra step in the process, but come the end of the meeting, you’ll already have thoughts about areas to prioritize for the next event before attendee feedback even starts rolling in. 

Talk with your team.

Because throwing events is a team effort, get the group together for an event post-mortem. Use this time to share what went well and identify areas that need improvement. Getting colleagues’ perspectives will offer a fuller picture of the planning process as a whole, but also, the more brainpower in the room, the more ideas on how to fix any problem areas. 

Now, self-awareness isn’t always about pinpointing the negative—it’s also about giving yourself kudos on what went right. And as you reflect and refine over time, weaknesses can turn into strengths, too. 

Plan well,
Clever Carly