A Successful Meeting is One That is Well Planned
The act of “planning” is a multi-billion dollar industry in America. Think about all the tools, the apps, the devices, and even the professionals that define a series of steps to be carried out or goals to be accomplished.
If you’ve ever coordinated a meeting, a special event, a wedding, anything, really… then you know that planning is an essential part of the process. Winston Churchill’s old saying, “He who fails to plan is planning to fail,” couldn’t be more accurate.
I’ve been in the planning business — planning meetings, specifically — for the past nine years. I enjoy helping individuals and companies work through the dozens of details and pull off successful, stress-free conferences.
I’ll share two tried-and-true tips with you in the hopes of making your next meeting planning process easy…
- Get to know your Conference Planning Manager. This person may also be known as the catering manager, the meeting manager, the event manager, or something similar, depending on the venue. No matter what his or her title, this person is your closest ally in the meeting planning process. He or she will see to it that your every detail is carried out. Exchange emails, talk on the phone, and better yet, meet in person if logistics allow. You want to be very comfortable with the person with whom you’ll be working closely during the weeks ahead. The better you feel about the relationship you have with your conference planner, the more confident you’ll be that your details are covered and your meeting is bound for success. Not to mention, the more relaxed you will be before, during and after your event.
- Develop the Agenda. Having your meeting agenda ready to present can save you a lot of time and a lot of back-and-forth discussions with your planning manager. At the time of reserving the meeting space, having the basic agenda with session start and end times, a head count of attendees, your preference for seating arrangements, etc., can be so helpful for both you and your conference planner. It helps you sort through the pertinent information, and it helps your conference planner ensure that the meeting space you’ve reserved is the best fit for your group. Then as you continue the process of working through the details (menu choices, audio-visual needs, exact number of attendees for each part of your event, etc…) with your conference planner, an exact and detailed meeting agenda is crucial. Of course, we all know that last-minute changes happen. I’ve learned to expect them! Usually they’re based upon something out of your control, but being armed with an agenda from the very beginning will make the planning discussions go smoother and faster for everyone involved.
I’m with Winston Churchill on this one: a successful meeting is one that is well planned.
Tracy Neumeister is a Conference Planning Manager at IACC-certified Lied Lodge & Conference Center in Nebraska City, NE. She has helped plan hundreds of meetings and builds lasting relationships with her clients. Contact Tracy and let her help you with the details of your next meeting.