Meetings Mayhem

Meetings Mayhem is what happens when you tumble dry the principles of Murphy’s Law with surprising mishaps experienced by hospitality, meetings and events, and entertainment industry experts, and then have a professional meeting planner collect and fold them into a passion project ready-made as a “how to respond to nightmare scenarios and come out a winner” book. I vacillated between laughing out loud and gratefully moaning, “Thank goodness it wasn’t me in that situation!”

You don’t have to be in the aforementioned industries to appreciate that “no matter how well you plan, there is always something beyond your control that can drastically upend at the last minute.” What author and professional meeting planner Terry Matthews-Lombardo, CMP demonstrates is that no matter how dire the situation might seem, the anecdotes contained within the pages of this easy-to-read 182 pages are an amusing guide for what-to-do-if…

Full disclosure, I have known Terry for more than 15 years through Meeting Professional International Greater Orlando chapter, where she was one of the founding members and chapter President. We subscribe to one another’s industry-related blogs. Hers is Terry has also hired me for events as Natasha, The Psychic Lady, so she kindly asked if I’d write about some of my event experiences from an entertainer’s perspective (chapter 13, page 87, just sayin…)

Within these pages, you can read about stage floors falling through and sweeping guests along with it, or LED screens shredding on the top deck of a ship shortly before VIP guests arrived for a July 4th spectacle. There are true tales of celebrity talent disappearing for an impromptu shopping trip without staying in communication or making a prompt appearance for rehearsals. How about trying to cater a foreign embassy bash for dignitaries while unaware the embassy was on high alert from an attempted coup d’etat, or when a client insists on the program going forward when every weather report details impending disruption?

As humorous as these stories are to anyone not in the position of having to find an immediate solution, the pot of gold is that in each case, the planner was able to creatively work around all obstacles. In all instances, the end result was more incredible than the original. This book is a meeting planning 101 guide for students (detailing lessons learned from the experience), a reminder of what-can-happen for current industry professionals, and a checklist for event hosts to examine their planner’s emergency preparedness experience.

Meetings Mayhem is sold on ebook or paperback and can be ordered from bookstores everywhere. Here are some links: :;;

Karen Kuzsel is a writer-editor based in the Orlando area who specializes in the hospitality, entertainment, meetings & events industries.  She is an active member of International Live Events Association and Meeting Professionals International and is now serving on the 2021-2022 MPI Global Advisory Board for Independent and Small Business Owners. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. Karen writes about food & wine, spas, destinations, venues, meetings & events. A career journalist, she has owned magazines, written for newspapers, trade publications, radio and TV. As her alter-ego, Natasha, The Psychic Lady, she is a featured entertainer for corporate and social events.;;; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady.