Planning a Successful Meeting
It’s only 20 minutes into the corporate team building meeting, and restless audience members are shifting in their chairs. The rambling speaker has yet to make a point. Screeching feedback from the microphone is more than a little irritating. At this point, the speaker may as well be background noise. Eyes are focused on the clock and exit doors, and minds are wondering what’s on the menu for lunch.

Unfortunately, the hypothetical poorly planned fiasco above has played out in corporate meeting halls before. But, a strategically planned event with a realistic budget to meet company and guest objectives can be meaningful and memorable for both.

Finding a Rudder
Meetings reflect strongly on a company’s image – for better or worse. So find a rudder and steer clear of serious pitfalls that leave attendees wanting to abandon ship. No matter if it’s a product rollout reception, an awards-night banquet or a team-building seminar, certain questions must be answered whether using a professional meeting planner or taking on the event in-house:
  • What is the purpose of the gathering?
  • How can a planner get the maximum return on investment in terms of time and money spent planning the event?
  • How can a planner make the event interesting for all involved?
  • What mechanism – corporate video, training manual or corporate skit – best conveys the meeting’s message?

Fun and Games
Anything creative designed to reinforce the message is a plus. Combining learning with fun and games is a tactic some companies like to take. Attendees enjoy learning through some form of entertainment instead of dry data and figures on a chart.

Props also can help reinforce key learning points. Rather than a fancy or expensive aid, a simple visual that captures attention and makes a point can be effective. The following tip list can help make a meeting or event a success.
  • Before committing money, set goals regarding the message attendees should retain from the experience.
  • Consider how to measure the value of the meeting to management. The nature of the meeting will help dictate the facility and other activities.
  • Determine preferred dates and compile a list of venues, overnight needs, and food and meeting space requirements. This list should include issues such as accessibility, parking, transportation and proximity to other related facilities and activities.
  • A meeting budget and understanding of internal capabilities will help determine the types of external vendors to use.
  • Seek input from all groups attending the meeting in order to define the agenda and appropriate meeting tools.
  • To mitigate the serious nature of some meetings, build in humor, surprise, small gifts and elements of fun when appropriate.

Smooth Sailing on a Theme
No matter the size of the budget, companies can adopt a theme to help differentiate their meetings or events. From invitations to table centerpieces, a company can distinguish itself through a process called branding.

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