CORPORATE meeting planners are continuously mired in details, trying to keep it all together for the next meeting, and already worrying about the ones after that.

You need to learn how to work "smarter", not harder, in mastering details. These eight tips show you how.

1. Do a post-mortem

After every meeting and event, do an "after action analysis". Write down what went right, what went wrong, what you would do differently if you were planning the meeting today, and which vendors made your life easier.

2. It's not always about price

In hiring vendors, do not always go for the lowest price. Whoever you hire affects your image. Reliability and follow-through are more important than a lower bid. Everyone is downsizing and looking for new ways to cut costs, but a vendor at a lower price may not be the answer.

3. Show appreciation

Learn to make other people heroes. Whether dealing with vendors or people in other departments of your own company, if the person works hard and well, write a note of thanks to him and send a copy to his boss.

4. Brief your speaker

Make sure your speaker knows the preferred terms used in your company, for example, your colleagues meet "clients" not "customers".

Also, tell the speaker about his audience. For example, mention that the women in the audience are members, not spouses - especially if yours is an industry that is typically dominated by men. One professional speaker was not warned and spoke "down" to his audience, making them feel bad, and making the meeting planner look bad.

5. Update the speaker

If you do mailings before a meeting or convention, be sure to put the speaker on the mailing list. This way, the speaker knows what else is going on at the meeting, what the various topics are, if the schedule has been revised, and if his speaking time has been changed.

6. Keep track of main players

If you are expecting a speaker to arrive the night before an event, leave them a note asking them to let the meeting planner know they have actually arrived. If you know the speaker has in fact arrived, you will undoubtedly sleep better. Leave an emergency number where you can always be reached.

7. Don't save the best for the last

Often, corporations take their top performers to a fancy resort for meetings that last for several days. They have one important outside speaker and they want to send the employees back to work with a bang.

You will get more value for your money if you schedule the speaker on the first day instead of the last. At the end of the conference, the employees may be tired, hung over or worried about packing and making it to the airport on time.

8. Use e-mail

Get online with networks of meeting planners who can share their experiences. Find a group similar to yours and find out the names of the most successful speakers they have used and which vendors made their lives difficult or easy.