On the Bookshelf

By Lain Ehmann

The best teacher may be experience, but why not save yourself some time by taking advantage of other people’s life lessons? Here is a roundup of some of the best books for sales meeting planners. Among these volumes you’re sure to find at least one that will help you get the job done quicker or better.

  • Hotel Management and Operations, 3rd Edition, Denney G. Rutherford, ed. (John Wiley & Sons, 2001). The first rule of negotiations is know thyself. The second? Know thy opponent. Though it might seem unnecessarily confrontational to view hotel management as your opponent, in actuality venue representatives are trying to get their hands on as much of your cash as possible. That’s why trying to understand things from their point of view might be just the background you need to make you a savvy consumer – and negotiator. Created as a college text, this hefty collection of articles by industry names will give you an overview of what it’s like to run a hotel, as well as what the experts have to say about you, the pesky meeting planner.

  • Quick Team-Building Activities for Busy Managers, Brian Cole Miller (AMACOM, 2003). Whether you’re meeting for a few hours or a few days, author Brian Cole Miller has a variety of team-building activities you can integrate into your get-together with little expense or time – and he promises results in just 15 minutes. With activities arranged by function (communication, getting to know each other, dealing with change) and so on, and with specific purposes listed upfront, this guide can help you pick the right activity for your group and your goals.

  • Guerrilla Travel Tactics, by Jay Conrad Levinson and Theo Brandt-Serif (AMACOM, 2004). Who doesn’t want to save money on travel? Keep more cash in your budget and out of the airlines’ hands by flipping through this collection of advice by the gurus of guerrilla business warfare. The book covers airlines, car rental companies, hotels and how to complain the right way to get results.
  • Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies, Susan Friedmann (Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2003). Though it’s tough to recommend a book that starts by insulting the reader, this book does give an easily accessible general background on planning your next – or your first – event. Though more of a Meetings and Events 101, even those who’ve worked in the field for years will find some new information or, at the very least, some old information presented in an organized, easy-to-read format.
  • The Business of Event Planning, by Judy Allen (John Wiley & Sons, 2002). Whether you’re planning an event for thousands or for just a handful of VIPs, author Judy Allen promises to give you the know-how to create a successful event. She covers topics such as preparing a proposal, safety issues and technology, with applicable, illustrative case studies.
  • Retreats That Work: Designing and Conducting Effective Offsites for Groups and Organizations, by Sheila Campbell and Merianne Liteman (Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer, 2003). Starting with nine reasons to hold a retreat and progressing through setting goals, designing the retreat, facilitating the proceedings and more, this book is indispensable for those planning or executing retreats of any size. The authors offer practical tips and activities for different types of retreats such as strategic planning, culture change, creativity and innovation and so on. Particularly useful is chapter nine, “How to Recover When Things Go Awry.”