It doesn’t matter if your meeting is a gathering of 10 people for a peer review or an association event for 10,000 individuals - basic meeting planning and logistics are still the same. Given that premise, I recommend you follow the event planning checklist below, in sequential order, as one step builds upon the other.
Here are your six steps to executing a successful meeting or conference plan:
- Define Your Purpose.
What are you trying to do – solve a problem, inform your team or bring your association members together for the annual meeting? Make sure you know the WHY before you start in on the “who” and “where”. If you cannot clearly identify the purpose, consider canceling the meeting altogether.
In addition, have some idea who needs to be there and how long the meeting will be. For a small meeting where a decision must be made pronto, your time should be as short as possible. For multi-day conferences, continue to check that your content aligns with your purpose.
- Identify the Type of Meeting You Need.
Due to advances in technology and busy schedules of most individuals, face-to-face meetings may not be necessary. Here are four questions to ask yourself:
- Is another form of communication just as effective - conference call, Google Hangout or a webinar?
- Is the topic of the meeting complicated or confidential? If it is either, a F2F conference works best.
- Is this a brainstorming, strategic planning or group facilitation meeting? Again, face-to-face will probably be the most productive option.
- Is this a trade show and/or networking function? As much as virtual vendors have tried, these types of functions depend on F2F interaction.
- Develop the Right Content and Right Roles.
What does your agenda look like and who needs to deliver it? According to Harvard Business Review, you need three people in a meeting to participate in the following roles:
- Facilitator or Subject Matter Expert – this is the leader of the meeting and the one who orchestrates its pace and interaction.
- Timekeeper – someone who can keep the meeting on track. This person is responsible for starting and ending each session on time.
- Monitor – this is the person who reads texts and tweets about the meeting and either answers them directly or engages the participants and presenter in the discussion. If you provide tablet rentals for your attendees, they can be active in the social conversation on a real-time basis.
- Determine Where The Event Will Be Held and Then Book It.
Are you holding the meeting on or off site? Make that decision swiftly and then book the room or venue. Get everything in writing and keep your confirmation information on file with you.
- Identify and Rent The Right Technology.
What kind of apps and setup do you require to make your event successful? What about audio visual rentals? Make sure you give your AV team plenty of time to set-up, test and strike your equipment. If the budget allows, have the technology specialists remain onsite to troubleshoot problems you may have.
Check out the meeting space and determine if the venue’s Wi-Fi is fast and secure enough to meet your needs. If not, look into wireless Internet rental options.
- Invite the Right Attendees and Reach Out to Them Multiple Times.
With a small meeting, invite individuals who can make a decision or need to hear the information. In a large meeting, make certain you invite your niche market. Don’t try and make your meeting all things to all people by inviting those outside of your target market.
Once identified, reach out to potential attendees at least three times. I recommend you email them 30, 14 and 7 days prior to the event. For those coming to your meeting, send them a confirmation email 24 hours before your event to cut down on the no-show factor.
Hartford Technology Rental is Your Conference and Meeting Specialist
Need help deciding what you need for your next event? Give Hartford Technology Rental a call today at 888-520-5667. Let us know what type of meeting you are holding and we will work with you in selecting the right equipment to make your next event a great success!