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7 Mistakes to Avoid When Planning a Meeting

7 Mistakes to Avoid When Planning a Meeting

Want to annoy attendees, alienate speakers and drain the event budget? Then spend as little time as possible planning your next event or rush all your decisions to the very end.

Planning a meeting, whether it is a training session for twenty or a convention for 20,000 can be very stressful; especially if you have had things go wrong in the past. However, one thing I have learned over the years of executing 1,600+ events is, if I spend most of my time in the planning phase, the execution process becomes a breeze.

Here is a list of the biggest mistakes my event planner colleagues and I have made in the past and how you can learn from them.

7 Lethal Mistakes

Mistake #1: Not having clear goals and objectives.

Do you even know why you are holding this meeting? Or who should attend and what the key takeaways are? It is important to have a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish and how you will measure success.

Mistake #2: You don’t have senior management buy-in.

Whether it is in the conception stage or throughout the planning cycle, it is vital to keep senior management informed about any challenges and changes you have along the way.

My recommendation is for you to send a weekly email and meet with the management team on a monthly basis leading up to the event in order to keep the communication lines open.

Mistake #3: Too short of a lead time.

Quality events take time and having too short of a cycle causes rushed decisions which lead to sloppy planning. The rule of thumb is: The larger the conference, the longer the cycle.

For a small to medium sized meeting, you need at least 60 days to plan a great event. For a large convention or trade show, one to two years is typically the norm, especially with international conferences.

Mistake #4: Packing the agenda with lecture-oriented speakers.

Time and time again, attendees state they come to meetings to learn and to network. If your agenda has very few breaks or networking opportunities, attendees will be turned off and not return for your next conference.

Be sure to give attendees time to network and make your sessions interactive. Utilize iPad rentals for a variety of apps including gamification, polls and social channels.

Mistake #5: Spending too much money on celebrity speakers.

A good portion of your budget can be spent on a known entity in the attempt to draw more attendees to your conference. The problem may be the speaker will not resonate with your audience or be consistent with your theme. If you hire a celebrity, review their presentation and make certain their message will align with yours.

Mistake #6: Skipping site visits.

Nothing cements in your mind whether a venue is right for your meeting or not, like a site visit. Make sure you take the time to meet with the sales, catering and general manager. Go over your list of questions and write down their responses.

Be sure to go on a site visit before you sign any contract – you need to see the property in a 360 view before committing significant budget dollars to the site.

Mistake #7: Not paying attention to your A/V requirements.

Make sure you know how many projector rentals, computers and other event rentals you need to make your meeting and trade show go off without a hitch. It is important to know your exact requirements and get them in writing from your presenters, sponsors and the event emcee several weeks before your meeting date.

Hartford Technology Rental Will Help You with Event Success

Before your next meeting or trade show, call us at 888-520-5667 or contact us online and let us show you how we can make your next event stand out from the rest and well within your budget guidelines.