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What to Do When Your Meeting Logistics Go Awry

What to Do When Your Meeting Logistics Go Awry

Every planner I know (including me) has personally experienced a major problem at an event. One or more of the scenarios depicted below either happened to me or one of my professional colleagues.

But rest assured, there is always a Plan B. The key is to be able to implement that plan, sometimes on a moment’s notice, with a team that can make it happen. With good planning and excellent communication that sets the right expectations from the very beginning, even a meeting that has taken a severe left turn can be brought back on course.

Simple Solutions for Potential Meeting Mayhem

Scenario #1: Your speaker is going well over their allotted time, impacting the rest of the day’s schedule.

You have planned everything down to a science in order to pack all your information into a robust schedule. You even went over the schedule, at nauseam, with the presenters. The problem is you have one or two who are just not getting off the stage no matter how many signals you are giving them from the back of the room. What was supposed to be a 20-minute presentation has morphed into an hour long drip of stories and antidotes.

Here is what you need to do:

First, if the presenter is using PowerPoint, make it part of the contract that they must send you their presentation at least 10 days before the meeting. Take the time to review the presentation and count the number of slides. If they have 50 slides for a 20-minute talk, you know there is a problem. Send it back right away and ask them to cut it to 10 slides.

Second, if they are still going over at the meeting, have the emcee come back on stage. Hire an emcee that can wrap up the presentation and let audience members know this speaker will be available for Q&A at the break.

Scenario #2: You start the meeting late.

Attendees can be conditioned to a certain start time. For example, if you always start your meeting 15 minutes late, most meeting participants will show up 15-30 minutes late. The problem with starting a conference late is everything else gets pushed back and the poor speaker, who is at the end, has 15 nanoseconds to complete his speech.

Here is what you need to do:

Start your meeting on time! Do it every time and people will learn to follow suit. In addition, presenters will feel more respected because you have given each of them their allotted time slot.

Scenario #3: Your presenter doesn’t show up.

It happens. They get sick, miss a flight or get stuck due to weather problems. Or they double-booked or simply just forgot.

Here is what you need to do:

First, if they are paid, you need to make sure to write in their contract that they will forfeit their fee completely if they are a “no show”. In addition, you need to obtain from them a list of three other speakers they think could be their understudy, in the event, they can’t make it.

Second, if you are holding your meeting in a strange city, talk to the local Chamber of Commerce or CVB and find out who their local subject matter experts are in the topics you need covered. Talk to the potential fill-ins and find out if they are available should you need them.

Third, if your presenters are not paid but you are covering their airfare and hotel stay, make certain they arrive several hours before their presentation, or better yet, the day before. Most presenters miss flights because they are cutting it too close to the presentation time.

Scenario #4: The event rental set-up time goes way over.

This happens for a lot of reasons:

  1. The AV company has someone new or they understaffed the setup time
  2. The AV company was not allowed into the room when originally planned or
  3. The planner didn’t factor in different labor costs during different time periods and was trying to stay within budget.

Here is what you need to do:

Find out how when the rental equipment is coming in and how much time the AV provider needs to set up the event properly. Factor in an additional hour for set up, even if you don’t need it. Better to be set up early than have attendees stream into your event while the techs are on stage.

Most AV techs need a specified period of time to setup and test the event rentals. These things cannot be rushed, nor do you want them to be.

Hartford Technology Rental Can Help Stop Your Worrying

Don’t fret about your event! Call 888-520-5667 or contact us online and let us show you how we can make sure your next meeting won’t go awry!