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Wednesday,November 20,2019
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Interview with a Meeting Planner

The government designated this year as visit Korea Year 2001.Many international conferences will be held and those attending will need activities separate from the conferences. However, many people have still little understanding of the convention industry. Click on Job in this issue will lead you into the world of Meeting Planners..................................................................Ed.
What Works Does a Meeting Planner Do?
A meeting planner has the prime responsibility to plan and host international meetings and conferences. He/She takes all necessary steps to make them successful. In other words, a meeting planner provides comprehensive services including budgeting, financing, planning, promotion, administration, and covering every possible need for any kind of conference or exhibition.
A meeting planner is also called a professional convention organizer, which means a person or an agency organizing conventions. A convention is a general and formal meeting by a government or social groups in order to provide information on a particular matter or to ask consent on policies among the participants. It is usually used as a term to include all kinds of international conferences.

Merits and Difficulties
The forms and kinds of international conferences are very diverse and their subjects are almost always different. A meeting planner performs new projects each time and can meet many people in various fields. It is not boring but rather thrilling and interesting.
However, a meeting planner is required to be most careful in preparing for every project. A meeting planner is caught up in all sorts of routine work during his/her first few years as a beginner. They have worked for 20 years as a meeting planner. It took me about ten years before I became proficient in the job to some degree,?said Kim Kyong-ok, the president of the COVAN International Inc. (www.covanpco.co.kr).

What Salary Does a Meeting Planner Get?
The salary depends on one's status and capability. Our company enforces the intern system from six months to one year. Interns draw an annual salary of twenty-one million won, she said. The salary would be raised as the importance of the job increases. However, it is said that the salary is not important for real international professionals.

If You Want to be a Meeting Planner:
According to Ms. Kim, the basic qualities needed to be a meeting planner are:
1) Enjoy meeting various kinds of people. A meeting planner meets many people, both natives and foreigners.
2) Be good at speaking and writing in English and at handling a computer. It is fundamental for a meeting planner to speak and write English and use a computer.
f You Want to be a Meeting Planner:
According to Ms. Kim, the basic qualities needed to be a meeting planner are:
1) Enjoy meeting various kinds of people. A meeting planner meets many people, both natives and foreigners.
2) Be good at speaking and writing in English and at handling a computer. It is fundamental for a meeting planner to speak and write English and use a computer.
3) Have excellent oral and written communication skills. Persuasive power is important for the job and it come from those skills.
4) Have leadership skills and be determined. A meeting planner organizes and leads various people while holding conferences with them.
5) Have a cosmopolitan outlook and international manners. Thus, you need to study other countries?cultural backgrounds.
6) Free yourself from obsolete ways of thinking and pursue creative thinking. It is true of other jobs as well.
Of course, you can develop those qualities through your steady effort. Applying career and experience learned in related fields is useful to a meeting planner. And you have to learn everything step by step, she said.

The Present and Future of a Meeting Planner
Countries famous for their developed cultural industry are also famous for hosting many international conferences. The job is highly specialized and pro-active in those countries.
Even though Korea has a 30-year history in the convention industry, we are just beginning to learn the importance of the industry. The government included the convention industry in the tourism industry, which they have been developing since 1987. And the government and self-governing bodies are supposed to build convention centers like ASEM Convention Center in Seoul, which are essential to develop the convention industry, in each city by 2009. Thus, a career as a meeting planer has great promise at home and abroad.

Closing Remark
The culture industry is usually called "the last industry in the 21st century",and many countries are encouraging in service industries to expand. Under those circumstances, it is indispensable to attract many foreigners to one's country to convey a positive image to other countries. Thus, international conferences, in which various intellectuals and professionals from other countries participate, are very good opportunities to advertise one's country throughout the world.

Kim Dong-ho  dgudp@yahoo.co.kr

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