Transferable Skills and How to Use Them

Transferable Skills and How to Use Them

Meeting planning is a remarkably broad career, one to which many who enter the profession came from elsewhere, have the responsibilities as part of other jobs (marketing and HR as examples) and is often considered a profession of generalists.

If there’s something to be done, meeting planners (which I use instead of "professionals" because the latter often includes sales and marketing, catering, convention services, production, AV, etc. that are sometimes more specialized) often are tasked with "other duties as assigned" because we have so many transferable or cross-over skills.

We are problem-solvers who can often think through how best to solve problems.

In the March edition of Friday With Joan we looked at "Strengths and Talents" (You may still enter your Strengths and help us look at the talents of those who plan meetings. You'll receive personal worksheets from Core Clarity for doing so. Follow the instructions here).

Building on the Strengths newsletter, for this April 1st edition (no foolin’...) of Friday With Joan, we look at transferable skills. It was interesting to interview colleagues who have gone in an out of meeting planning and related areas to see what skills they use and which ones transferred.

What’s a transferable skill? If you’ve read any version of What Color Is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job Hunters and Career-changers you’ll recognize the concept. This was one of the most useful articles I found in researching more about transferable skills.

(There's even an app for that!).

I went through this list of transferable skills and thought "WOW! Meeting planners have most if not all of these!" Everything we do—negotiating, management (project, people, financial), recruit and personnel, even repair equipment—is among the skills seen as transferable. I wonder in how many other professions that can be said?

The question then becomes where would we go and how would we use the same skills?

Many of us stay in the same broad hospitality and meetings industry. Others, like my colleague and friend, Amy Beaulieu (one of four colleagues—Amy, Bill Reed, Jacy Hanson, and Reiko Tate—interviewed), took her skills to a nonprofit where she became a health educator. In that role, her communication skills allowed her to represent the organization in television and other interviews, in fundraising, and in working with the medical community.

In my own career—as a meeting planner, business owner, facilitator, trainer, educator, writer—I’ve moved into each area within the broad hospitality and meetings industry, taking with me what I’ve learned, using my strengths and talents, and finding new ways to grow.

One of the writers I’ve found most helpful is Barbara Sher, and in particular Wishcraft: How To Get What You Really Want (Note: One of my favorite exercises in the book was looking at a perfect day—from what I’d wear, to where I’d be, with whom I’d interact, etc., and then asking those who know me to do the same. On almost every area, there were matches.)

Where have you gone with your careers? What skills have you taken with you? How have you put your talents (“Strengths”) to work?

Share below with others so we can all grow.

As always the views expressed are my own and may not reflect those of Meetings Today or Stamats. You can respond to this below in the comments section or by emailing me at, especially if you want your comments to be posted anonymously.

Posted by Joan L. Eisenstodt

Follow Joan on Twitter: @joaneisenstodt

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