So, you are tasked with planning an important meeting. Maybe it’s an annual shareholders meeting, or the industry’s biggest trade show where your company must “wow” them with a creative dinner presentation. Maybe it’s a sun-filled sales incentive reward trip that allows you to further connect with your biggest sellers. Regardless of its type, it has to be perfect and you only get one chance to get it right.
What are some tips for success?
Establish, at the beginning of the planning phase, the meeting’s purpose. What do you need to accomplish? Make sure all your materials, outings and one-on-one breakouts support your intent.
Stick to your agenda; start and end on time. There’s nothing worse for attendees than showing up for an early-morning educational session only to learn the keynote speaker will be 15 minutes late. Their time is valuable and it’s rude to keep them waiting.
Don’t over schedule the agenda, leave room for open discussions. The best meeting sessions are those where attendees can ask follow up questions and truly be a part of the content. Provide enough time for their voices to be heard so you’re not just talking “at” them.
Communicate clear guidelines for each meeting speaker. Let presenters know up front how much time they will have, the tone their presentations should take, and any audience insight they can use to further refine their presentations. Provide them ample practice time, especially when teleprompters or other technology will be used and stay nearby during the presentation in case they run into trouble.
At the meeting’s conclusion, enforce follow up assignments and tasks. Your meeting is not a wrap until the last attendee request has been fulfilled, the last booth display is safely back on the truck and the last guest has their airport transportation instructions. Once back at the office, evaluate what went right and what you need to pay more attention to next time.
Have fun! Take some time to look around and enjoy how your hard work is creating a memorable experience for your guests!