Top Ten Meeting Planning Tips
With over 20 years of meeting planning experience, we’ve built an extensive knowledge base of how to organize the perfect meeting or conference. At this point we feel it’s only fair to share!
Top 10 Tips for getting the most from your meetings:
1) Determine the meeting or event objectives.
2011 meeting surveys indicate the top three reasons to attend meetings are in order of importance Networking, Education, and Destination. Although not surprising results, it is important to align your strategies to these findings.
Doing the same old thing? If you’ve been doing an annual meeting for some time what are the top three things your members, clients, and/or partners want to see that is news or new? What can you learn from them by polling?
2) Who should attend? Form a Frequently Asked Questions and Top Reasons to Attend Prospectus that clarifies the value of your meeting, and post it prominently on your site and/or collateral. This is often used for your members to achieve expense approval to attend your conference and is a good exercise for you and your board.
3) Choose the right destination and venue.
Select a venue that will match your needs. Look for a venue that reflects the energy you are trying to generate with your attendees. Ask for destination highlights, such as video or power point, and incorporate them into your collateral.
Site Selection and Request for Proposal- the best way to get what you want, need and desire from your destination is to do your homework and put together a great Request for Proposal (RFP) that provides a detailed overview of your group, your specifications, and your history. This is an important step even for meetings in Montana! If you would like more information on a standardized form for RFP’s please request here.
4) Determine the 12 “touch points” for marketing your conference and don’t miss any of them.
You may be surprised to learn that the first 3 touch points need to be presented at this year’s meeting for the next year. Don’t miss these first and very important opportunities to market your next meeting. If you would like more information on the 12 touch points request here.
5) Schedule breaks often throughout the day for attendees and vendors.
Regular breaks enhance productivity and networking is still listed as the NUMBER ONE reason to attend meetings. Allow time for attendees to choose quiet moments with colleagues, face time with vendors, or to check-in with the office. Breaks help people to think more clearly and to be more productive.
6) Food and Fun. Never underestimate its power!
A quality menu selection enhances the atmosphere as well as sustains the energy level for the work ahead. Offer a unique range to keep everyone satisfied. Ask about the power foods for meetings! Schedule plenty of time for interactive activities that highlight the destination while providing key networking time for your attendees and guests.
7) Contests, Gifts and “Feel Goods”, don’t forget them.
Humans are competitive by nature, pick a “contest winner” daily with creative ideas that promote and enforce your education points and increase the overall sense of moral. Consider asking your hotel (most have automated switch boards) to send a personal recorded message from your president as a good morning or welcome message to your group. Personalization goes along way.
Don’t forget to provide different methods of giving and receiving feedback from your meeting or conference. That said, venues need to know how well they did as much as the meeting planner’s host organization.
9) Use an integrated registration system
Today’s registration systems provide much more than online registration for your attendees. With powerful messaging tools, important collection features such as daily meal counts, seamless hotel reservations, and many reports that a planning team shouldn’t do without, you can cut labor and costs considerably. If you’re going without this important tool we can help you “sell it” to your owner, President, executive board by proving the ROI.
10) Stay focused on your customers and partners at the meeting!
This can be a challenge, but if you cover your bases from the start, your meeting can be a headline and you can be the hero in the story. Don’t get caught up in chasing details, busses, or hotel issues. You can easily retain help for the details that bog you down, but it’s impossible for someone else to mind your client’s interaction and educational experience.
Consult A Meeting by Design, your 3rd party meeting planning expert!
A Meeting by Design, we are a unique “high-touch” meeting planning firm that provides a complete meeting toolbox. With over 20 years of local and international experience in meeting consulting, planning and executing, we bring our team and toolbox of services such as an integrated online registration tool, lodging management, site inspections, contracting tools, onsite staffing, 24/7 call center and more to your next meeting. Our services are ala carte; our meeting techs utilize targeted expertise to provide only the tools and service you need! Call today @ 1-888-995-3088 for more details and quotes.