Glossary of Terms for Conference and Meeting Planners


Activity: A sequence of progressive tasks that provide systematic experiences to achieve learning. In Critical Path Analysis this refers to activities that consume time and resources.


Adult: People who have come into that stage of life in which they assume responsibility for themselves and usually for others, and who have at the same time accepted a productive role in the community.


Adult Education: The action of an external educational agent to purposely order behavior into planned systematic experiences that can result in learning for those for whom such activity is supplemental to their primary role in society. It normally involves some continuity in an exchange relationship between the agent and learner so that the educational process is under constant supervision and direction.


Adult Learner: A person who often attends a short-term educational meeting or training session to obtain new information, knowledge, and or skills. However, an increasing number of adults are finding ways to acquire new information on their own.


Advisory Council: A group of people created to give advice on a project, program, or organization.


Agency: An institution or group, formal or informal in structure, formed and operating to alleviate and serve specific needs of individuals in a neighborhood, community, or area. It also can be a group of dedicated people identified with a specific area of services.


Awards: The recognition of participants, sponsors, meeting officials, or community members in formal ways through such devices as pins, plaques, certificates, or cash grants. Often a special recognition or award ceremony will be planned as part of the meeting.


Brag Board: A large bulletin board used for displaying materials or ideas that have succeeded for an organization.


Break Out Rooms: Meeting spaces available for when participants meet in small groups to discuss different topics or to participate in workshops or seminars.


Cash Concessions: Food sold a la carte for quick handling of conference participants during meal or break times. Ideally located in high traffic area.


Change: Willingness to experiment and try new things. It also can be the outcome of an educational or societal endeavor.


Change Agent: Any individual or group that performs purposeful educative activity designed to influence change in a practical or specific situation. Sometimes the term is used synonymously with facilitator, instructor, leader, planner, or teacher.


Clientele or Customer: That specific sub-group of the population for which an institution, agency, or professional practitioner targets some change effort.


Closed Session: A session that is available only to those with tickets or special invitations usually obtained before the meeting begins.


Committee: A group of people who make decisions, plan activities, and acquire resources. Many short-term meetings are planned, at least in part, by a committee.


Complimentary Rooms: Rooms that are used by a group free of charge for officers, receptions, special guests, etc. The industry standard "comp. rate" is 1/50 (one complimentary room for every 50 rooms/night paid for by guests).


Conference: A group of people who come together for the purpose of gaining knowledge and information in a particular subject. Often mutual problems are discussed with a goal in mind of achieving reasonable solutions. Conferences can range considerably both in time and in the number of participants.


Conference Theme: A special focus for a short-term meeting around which general sessions, many other sessions, special characteristics of the meeting, and the public relations efforts are woven.


Constraints: Limits beyond which a change agent can go. They are usually economical or political in nature.


Convention: A gathering of representatives from local branches of a parent organization having a common purpose. Participants discuss and act on problems of common interest and concern.


Course: A planned sequence of educational activities leading to the acquisition of a skill, body of knowledge, or set of attitudes usually over a predetermined period of time. Sometimes the term is used synonymously with class, program, or training session.


Craft Corner: An area established for displaying crafts, typically created by volunteers, for sale as either a fund raiser or to represent the talents of participants.


Criterion: A standard against which some judgment or decision usually is based. The criterion can be conscious or unspecified, but it usually exists.


Critical Path Analysis: The logical sequencing of a series of events necessary for a successful meeting or activity such that the most efficient route to a culminating point can be determined or calculated.


Data Base: The accumulation of information about participants and the meeting that aids in registration, report writing, and budget planning. Ideally, such databases are created on personal computers for use in subsequent meetings.


Decision Making: Connotes a conscious and deliberate choice of one alternative from among two or more possible alternatives.


Device: Instructional aids that extend or increase the effectiveness of a teaching techniques, but do not teach by themselves. Examples are an overhead projector or a particular workshop seating arrangement.


Direct Billing: All charges for a hotel's services are billed directly to an organization's or company's master account. Credit applications generally must be completed 30-60 days prior to the event. A list of rooms for people to be directed billed usually must be provided to the hotel 30 days prior to the event.


Evaluation: The systematic process of judging the worth, desirability, effectiveness, or adequacy of something according to definite criteria and purposes. It is possible, however, to carry out goal or criterion-free evaluations for purposes of determining value or worth from the views of participants.


Event: A special activity that takes place during a conference or meeting for purposes of gathering people together or focusing attention on an area, such as the opening of exhibits. In Critical Path Analysis an event refers to the exact start or completion of an activity and does not consume time or resources.


Exhibits: An area set aside at the meeting site where vendors, professional associations, and sponsors display materials for educational purposes, sale, or publicity purposes. Individual booths are often made available for individuals requesting or paying for exhibit space.


Facilitator: Individual who serve as catalysts to make particular actions or learning experiences possible through their presence and/or instructional knowledge.


Goal: Something toward which some effort is directed. This also can be known as an aim, action, or objective.


Guarantee: A number of participants declared as the minimum for a particular meal or other event. The sponsoring agency typically must declare this minimum several days prior to the event and pay that amount even if fewer than estimated participate. A certain percentage (5-10% typically) over that number is prepared for but there will be an additional charge.


Institute: A formal program designed to provide a series of meetings for participants who desire instruction and information on a particular area of interest. Such programs tend to be short and intensive in terms of the training offered.


Keynote Speaker: One or more specialized speakers who present a talk at a general session. Often these are notable individuals who draw attention and participants to the meeting.


Learning: The acquisition of knowledge, attitudes, and skills. It also can mean the mastery of intellectual behavior in which facts, ideas, or concepts are manipulated, related, and made available for use in some way.


Logo Line: Various products placed on sale during a meeting that portray a sponsoring organization by its logo or title.


Master Account: A special account number established for direct billing by the sponsoring group during the time they are using a hotel's services.


Meeting Planner: A person whose primary job responsibilities are the planning and management of short-term educational meetings. They might be an employee of the organization sponsoring one or more conferences or other types of meetings each year or employees of a convention center.


Meeting Site: The area, hotel or convention center and city, where the meeting is held. The actual meeting facilities generally are included as part of the site resources.


Message Board: A large prominently displayed board used for displaying messages, attempts by people to contact each other, and important notes about changes in a meeting or its special features.


Method: The relationship established by an institution between a group of participants and some body of knowledge to promote new learning. It also is known as the way in which a group of participants is organized for purposes of conducting an educational activity, such as a conference or workshop.


Needs: The gap between conception of a desirable norm and the actual status or a person or group of people. It is sometimes known as the gap between what is and what should be. Needs can be felt (perceived), real (actual or demonstrable), or unfelt (unrecognized but present).


Objective: The description of a desired outcome of a course, program, or meeting. They can be stated in behavioral, terminal, information, or program terms and sometimes are known as goals.


Open Refreshment Bar: Providing an opportunity throughout the day for participants to obtain refreshments. Early morning might offer coffee/tea; mid-morning the adding of juice, fruit, and muffins; early afternoon coffee/tea; and mid-afternoon soda, cookies, peanuts, and vegetables.


Participant: A person who takes an active part in an educational activity, program, or meeting. The term also can mean client, learner, or student.


Planning Process: An activity carried out over a period of time whose objective is to produce an organized and rational system for achieving defined goals.


Presenter: A person who conducts a meeting session, seminar, or workshop.


Program: A total set of arrangements, methods, objectives, procedures, resources, and strategies aimed at moving a learner or client through a series of learning experiences or educational activities.


Program Development: Growth or change in the structure, function, or organization of an agency's plan of procedure based on the passage of time or coordination of various separate plans.


Publicity: The organized effort made to market or advertise a short-term educational meeting. This can be in the form of paid ads, mailings, articles in periodicals, buttons for people to wear, or special events.


Registration Fee: A charge assessed individuals or their sponsors for the right to participate in an educational experience. The fee may be nominal, covering primarily the costs of registration, or may cover any of several major expenses, such as the cost of instruction, meals, lodging, overhead, etc. Whether or not the meeting should break even or make a profit also needs to be considered.


Residential Conference Center: Physical facilities devoted solely to the purpose of participants learning while in residence.


Resource: A factor whose characteristics appear to be of value in helping to meet needs, such as money, facilities, equipment, etc.


Resource Person: An individual whose experiences and knowledge are of value in helping to plan, operate efficiently, provide specific instruction, or solve particular problems.


Room Block: A specific number of guest rooms from a hotel inventory that is set aside for a particular group at a special rate. The meeting planner must specify the number of singles (usually a king sized bed) and doubles (usually two queen sized beds) desired. Typically a cutoff date of 30 days prior to the event is established for holding these rooms. An industry standard is that if 80% of the room block is used, there is no charge for meeting room use.


Room Pickups: The actual number of rooms used for a short-term meeting by participants, staff, and guests. The number of "comp." rooms earned are figured from this total.


Sequence: A series of successive learning experiences at increasing levels of difficulty so as to provide broader and deeper treatment, problem resolution, or learning.


Short-Term Educational Meeting: A generic term that represents such meeting formats as conferences, conventions, institutes, seminars, and workshops.


Sponsor: A person or agency that lends prestige, encouragement, administrative support, and/or financial assistance necessary to increase the success of a program or meeting.


Sunset Time: A specific time established for ending a function or activity.


Swap Shop: Placing several tables near the exhibit or registration area so people can bring brochures, newsletters, and other free materials for distribution about their organization.


Technique: The relationship established by an educational agent to facilitate learning among participants. The term is also used to indicate the ways in which instructors establish a relationship between themselves, learners, and learning task, such as a lecture or role-playing activity.


Tracks: A group of related meeting sessions; sometimes known as a theme, strand, or concentration.


Workshop: A meeting of people who work together in small groups on common problems/interests; also sometimes known as a scheduled seminar in a specialized field for participants learning in group settings.



Created January 1, 2009

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