When planning a meeting, it’s important to think like a Boy Scout. In other words, be prepared. You want to ensure that all bases are covered and nothing is left to chance. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed at times, so don’t fret if you get bogged down in the details.
Below are some helpful tips that may or may not stand out as obvious to you when planning meetings and events.
- Flow of the Event. You have the perfect vision of your attendees entering the venue from the main door, and then stopping by the silent auction table before finding their seats. The tables fill the room perfectly and the dance floor is correctly positioned right in front of the band. Have you given any thought to the evacuation plan? Of course this is something that you hope you never have to use, but having an evacuation plan – and informing the appropriate people about said plan – will ensure the safety of your attendees in the off chance that something does happen. I experienced this first-hand a few years ago at Midwest Institute when a tornado threatened to break up our Big Bash celebration. Luckily, the storm never got close enough and we did not have to evacuate, but the plan was in place just in case.
- Weather Conditions. The obvious consideration is typically given to outdoor functions regarding coverage for rain. But what if it’s a beautiful, sunny day and a cold front hits? Have you already confirmed if the venue has heat lamps or if they will recommend a place to rent them?
- Music. It’s great going into an event knowing that the DJ/band/karaoke provider that you’ve hired will know exactly how to read the crowd. But have you secured the proper music licenses from ASCAP, BMI, and other required entities? If you plan to have music at your event, this should be at the top of your to-do list.
- Food and Beverage Service. Whether serving a plated meal or a buffet, hosted or cash bar, I think everyone can agree that food and beverage service can enhance or hinder one’s event experience. Have you secured double-sided buffets, arranged for alternative meals for guests with dietary restrictions, and asked the servers to walk around with pre-poured glasses of wine to help eliminate lines at the bar? All of these things can aid in creating a positive attendee experience.
Hopefully these tips have either taught you something new or will simply reinforce the importance of what you already practice. Of course living in the real world, we all know that inevitably something will go wrong…so don’t forget to be prepared for that!