Does your next event require a bit more umph than you think you and your team can offer? Do you want to create a dynamic meeting but don’t even know where to start? Depending on your needs you might consider using a meeting facilitator or a meeting consultant; but what exactly do each of these roles offer?
Merriam-Webster’s definition of a Facilitator is that they are “…someone who helps to bring about an outcome (such as learning, productivity, or communication) by providing indirect or unobtrusive assistance, guidance, or supervision.”
The definition for a consultant is: “One who gives professional advice or services see: Expert.”
What does this mean for what they can offer for your next event?
A facilitator is great when you believe you have the answers within your team but just need someone to help process or communicate it. Facilitators are effective at helping build bridges that allow more interaction between your team so that they can achieve levels of performance they normally wouldn’t on their own. This is best utilized for meetings that require team building, interaction and idea sharing for you and your guests.
A consultant brings in a significant industry or topic-related expertise outside of your wheelhouse. They are great when you believe you DON’T have the answers within your team. They can be utilized to either analyze your existing structure and guide you through steps needed for change or they can lead you and your team into creating something new from scratch.
As Kristen Arnold from Extraordinary Team puts it: “I use the distinction of being the ‘guide on the side’ facilitator vs. the ‘sage on the stage’ consultant”
Our friend Erin Henderson from The Wine Sisters is a perfect example of someone who holds both roles.
For the IACC World Conference and Copper Skillet Cook-Off held at Vantage last year we had Erin as a facilitator. She, on top of being a world class sommelier and wine educator, is also a seasoned journalist and public speaker, skills that we knew made her a wonderful Master of Ceremonies for the events held during the conference. We had all the information and events in place, we just needed her fun wit and experience relaying information to help create a dynamic event.
Alternatively, we have partnered with Erin and utilized her wine expertise to create The Wine School at our venue. A dynamic learning experience where guests get to discover all the aspects of wine and wine making while sampling them. We have also recently joined forces with Erin and the Wine Sisters to create our Virtual Holiday Party Packages. A fun and interactive virtual wine, cheese and charcuterie workshop that is the perfect solution to getting safely together this season.
She is the expert (aka consultant) and took the reins to help create a program and guide us on what was required for these events by working in tandem with our Executive Chef Kyle to create a menu that would compliment her wine choices for the lucky participants.
When looking for outside help with your events its important to be mindful of what your needs and limitations are. Whether you go with a facilitator or a consultant be sure to communicate what your goals are so that they can help you achieve them successfully.
Wishing you all well with your next big event!
-Written by Patricia Serodio from Vantage Venues