If you are interested in learning more about selecting sites and negotiating the terms of hosting a business meeting or other event, you should meet Global Campus instructor Mandi Graziano.
Mandi, an acclaimed sales coach and top hospitality and conference expert, teaches MP 104 “Site Selection, Negotiation and Legal Issues,” an online course that is a prerequisite for the SDSU Global Campus Professional Certificate in Meeting and Event Planning.
We asked Mandi four questions about her class, the program, and the meeting and event planning industry.
1: What skills and knowledge will students learn about in your class?
There are endless knowledge nuggets in this class. We split the class into 2. The first part is all about how to look for, scout, and evaluate a venue/hotel as a site for your meeting/conference and event. Students learn tools to use to look, specific questions to ask, red and pink flags to pay attention to, and nuances of building deep relationships with industry partners on how to pick the right venue. The second part is all about contract negotiation. We go through a live contract. We pick it apart, study each section, and I explain the legal terms and how they are applied, how to speak about them as a negotiator and I teach them swaps. If you can’t get this, here’s what you can ask for instead. We use a pro/con chart and rating system at the end of each site. We use a contract negotiation prep form to go into the negotiation. We talk about live negotiations versus email negotiations and prep people to be on both sides of the table as a venue, hotelier, or meeting planner.
2: How does your class prepare students for real-world applications or future career opportunities?
The whole class builds up to the final class where we do a mock site inspection and mock contract negotiation with a real hotel and real hotel salesperson. This alone prepares you for real-life experiences on how to interact, build relationships, ask for what you want, swap out for other things, and make the overall deal a win-win. We also have guest speakers at each class that are high-level meeting planners or hotel leadership managers. This is a live interview Q&A where the students can ask them whatever they want about how to advance their career or enhance their role in their current job.
3: What is one piece of advice you’d give to a student who is considering enrolling in this class or program?
Come ready to learn, have fun, network and interact. I give a lot of space for students to interact with each other, our guest speakers, me, and anyone in my network. They have full access to anything I have access to. What you put in is what you get out. The students that come ready to interact always get the most out of it and are still in touch with me and many of our past speakers.
4: How does your class incorporate current industry trends or advancements to keep the content relevant and up-to-date?
Since I am in the field and live site inspections and negotiations are happening throughout the class time frame, I share those at the beginning of class. I share a live contract, I share live trends. Whatever is happening in real-time in the industry at that moment, students have full exposure to it in class and even after class.