Planning and executing meetings and events is no easy task and requires a PLAN and a PROCESS and a TEAM of experts to make it happen and for it to be deemed a success. If you fail to plan appropriately, you are setting yourself up to fail and who wants to do that? Not me and hopefully not you.
So, what do you need to do to prevent failure when planning a meeting, to insure success instead?
For starters, you need a design or planning team to help flush out goals and objectives and key messages. Remember goals must be specific, measurable, achievable, results-oriented and time-sensitive and begs questions such as:
- Why exactly are we doing this meeting?
- How/who will determine a meeting’s goals and objectives and the key roles people will play in the process?
- How will key messages be delivered and by whom?
- What new knowledge and/or understanding of revised protocols will attendees take away from the meeting?
- How much time is needed to cover each topic?
Wait – there’s more. Who is your target audience? Once you have identified your goals and objectives and key messages, you’ll be in a better position to determine who to invite to the meeting, how many people you’re talking about, how high up or down the chain of command do you go.
My Overall Meeting Action Plan template is a great tool to help you document this all out. Next, you need to consider where to hold the meeting: What type of venue will work best to help you accomplish your goals and objectives? City or suburban hotel, conference center or a resort perhaps?
- How many and what type of guest rooms will you need and for how many nights?
- How many meeting rooms?
- Is it just one general session room and no breakouts?
- If breakouts are required, are they needed all day, every day or ……?
- How should each meeting room be set?
- What type of audio-visual equipment, staging, and production will each room require?
- Do you require a 24-hour hold on space?
- Extra time for pre and post set up and tear down (especially true for large-scale stage productions)?
What about your food and beverage needs?
- Do you require food and beverage service?
- Same room as general session or separate?
- Buffet or sit down?
- Evening functions?
Will there be any time for recreation?
Understand that if you don’t have a clear understanding of your meeting room needs from the start and you go to contract and then somewhere along the line, changes happen, that the venue you’ve chosen may no longer work for you. Then what? You need to think this through very carefully. My Request for Proposal (RFP) template will help you define your guest room and meeting specs for the venues under consideration lessening the chance for any misunderstandings.
Seems overwhelming doesn’t it? It does and it will unless you first have a PLAN and a PROCESS in place to help you.
My book “The Meeting Planning Process: A Guide to Planning Successful Meetings” was written for just this purpose.
It should give you the structure and tools you need to keep you and your team focused, on task, and on time. The all-important Meeting Time Line template will help you identify tasks, assign the right people to the right tasks and help you keep track of when assignments are due.