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What Every #EventProf Must Know About COOs

Blair Pettrey

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Everyday event professionals engage and interact with c-level executives from reporting to those who oversee the event companies and businesses they represent or potentially selling services to a c-level executive or interacting with these ‘round-table’ professionals onsite at an event.

However, with the multitude of “C’s” in the world – it’s not always known exactly what that C-level executive’s role is. Knowing exactly what a C-level executive does, and what their role means, is essential for any professional, but especially the event professional interacting with said, c-level executive.

This week we are focusing on one of the most commonly involved professionals when it comes to any event or meeting – the Chief Operations Officer, also known as the COO.

The reality is, what precisely a COO does vary from company to company. A COO at a large, Fortune 500 company may have entirely different duties, direct reports, and requirements than a COO of a startup.

COO Founder/Owners at Startup’s differ from COO of Large Corporations

As Nathan Bennett explained back in 2006 – defining and categorizing COO’s is a difficult task:

When you start to examine COOs as a class, one thing immediately becomes clear: There are almost no constants. People with very different backgrounds ascend to the role and succeed in it. This variability makes the job difficult to study; it’s hard to know whether you are making proper inferences when comparing one COO with another.”

Strategy + Organization + Administrative + Financial + Sales + Marketing + …

For event professionals trying to follow along – and didn’t catch the drift already, COO’s roles and responsibilities not only differ company to company but can even shift at the same company through time and personnel.

The Agilest Person in Any Company

COO’s – whether wearing the many broad hats that they do at a smaller company or having a singular focus at a larger corporation, know how to do one thing better than any other person at a company: be agile.

Agility is essential for the COO as they must quickly and seamlessly move from wearing the multitude of hats they wear. At MeetingPlay, our COO must be able to quickly 'turn on' the developer mindset and hat, then the event sales professional hat, then the event onsite support hat, then the in office overseer, and the list goes on. Agility is a must - regardless of the size of the company that a COO represents, but particularly as a COO/owner of a startup. 

How Event Professionals "Sell" the COO

Meeting with MeetingPlay’s COO, Lisa Vann, I asked her, in brief, and generalizations (meaning whether it was the COO of MeetingPlay or Trump International), how an event professional could best present and/or sell their services/solutions to a COO. Lisa responded:

Unlike other c-level executives, the COO wants to share the pain points of past events – and what they are looking to get from future events. If I were trying to sell a service or solution to a COO in regards to events, I would be inquisitive – asking questions and listening for answers, rather than coming in with a particular sales presentation/pitch/deck.”

In the same capacity, event professionals should be keen to listen to concerns and struggles when engaging with COO’s when onsite for events or conferences. This allows the COO to know that needs are met and desires are heard.

In Conclusion

MeetingPlay builds custom mobile event apps for events and conferences, in addition to a multitude of other event technology services and solutions, including pre-conference registration and event registration systems. Our team of event professionals brings an abundance of talent and experience with them, ensuring success for the event professionals and the events they put on. As MeetingPlay’s COO, Lisa Vann oversees and ensures our company’s success, wearing a multitude of hats (and has the time clock to prove it!).

This post is part of MeetingPlay’s ‘Event Professional to C-Executive’ series. View other posts on this topic here.