Every veteran meeting planner has some tricks up their sleeves, but there are some major elements that even seasoned professionals tend to forget about. Before you plan your next meeting, you may want to make sure these four things are covered:
1) Plan to feed people:
No matter how short you think your meeting will be, never expect that your attendees will arrive full and able to go an hour or two without getting hungry. Offer food that can be eaten quietly (no noisy packaging) and fairly mess-free (let’s not get spaghetti sauce on our neighbors, okay?). Bonus points if it’s healthy and not loaded with sugar – unless you don’t mind sluggish guests after they sugar crash.
2) Outsource technical tasks:
Unless you moonlight as a technical guru, one of the most tedious parts of meeting planning is addressing technical difficulties. “Who knows how to set up the equipment? What if it doesn’t work? I forgot to bring a cable that I thought was useless, but it turns out the presentation won’t work without it!” Do yourself a favor and leave it to the experts. There are many companies that specialize in AV, including AV equipment rentals. This will save you from buying and warehousing expensive equipment that you may only use once, and takes the pressure to get things working off of you.
Do your attendees have transportation to and from your meeting? If there is anyone coming in from out of town, make the meeting as stress-free as possible. For attendees staying at nearby hotels, arrange for shuttles or taxis to bring them to and from the meeting. If your budget allows, hire private drivers to take guests back and forth and be sure to coordinate this will your finance department to make sure it’s covered – your guests shouldn’t have to pay to attend your meeting.
4) Plan for long-distance attendance:
Nowadays there are a ton of ways to include long-distant team members in on-site meetings. Work with a third-party AV specialist to set up a live-stream of your meeting, or to discuss your videoconferencing options to make your meeting completely interactive for long-distance attendees. You can even host a webinar element of your meeting and make it available for download after the meeting ends. Sometimes, family or other commitments can make it difficult for team members to travel. Rather than an “in-person or bust” model, offer some options for these individuals if they would like to attend but are unable to.
1) Always expect hungry guests. It’s better to offer a snack than have attendees in a hungry brain-fog.
2) Know when you need help. You cannot be in expert in everything, so don’t be afraid to hire technical experts to fill in where you can’t.
3) Make transportation easy for your guests. Don’t make it their responsibility to figure out their own logistics or ask them to shell out their own money to get to and from your meeting.
4) Be inclusive of individuals who may wish to attend but are not able to travel.
Need help with your meeting AV? Vernon Computer Source offers complete AV bundles to make sure your meeting goes off without a hitch. Get started with a quote, and be sure to come visit us at Expo! Expo! this month – we’ll be at booth #407 to discuss what short term rentals can do for meeting planners.