Planning of meetings :Often posted in cramped cubicles, a popular placard sardonically jokes: “Meetings: the practical alternative to work.” But as far as event managers are concerned, a new definition is in order. Simply stated, a meeting is a gathering of individuals to achieve a common aim. In business meetings, leaders use oral communication, audiovisual productions, group discussions and other methods to accomplish corporate strategies. Idyllically, meetings spawn practical programs and marketable tactics. Realistically, meetings can be monotonous, time-sucking marathons of corporate hash. An event manager must dispel these negative notions and stimulate professionalism and creativity. The two premises behind meetings are teamwork and passion. Both give vitality and energy to a corporation. Without meetings, corporate vision is lost, and employees labor for a paycheck rather than a shared dream.
Preparation should begin 6-18 months beforehand. Facilities, audiovisual rental equipment (which may include online conferencing equipment), caterers, tables and chairs, parking permits and accommodations need to be determined well ahead of time.
Define the vision. Is it corporate growth? A product launch? After selecting a mission, deify it. Center all strategies on this central concept.
Depending on client requests, an event manager may need to solicit businesses for sponsorships. If so, present sponsorship as proactive advertising to educated people in-the-know – an opportunity to be seized with vigor.
Choose a facility that is apposite to the vision. Producing a new line of burritos? Dine Mexican. Considering an IPO? Think of NASDAQ- and NYSE-reminiscent sites.
While a complete menu is only obligatory for business dinners or all-day meetings, there should be an array of refreshments. Hire a caterer to provide light and simple culinary treats and do not ignore consider diet concerns (e.g. gluten-free, trans fat-free). Do not leave dishes on tables.
Depending on the duration of the meeting, transportation and accommodation may be vital concerns. At the minimum, select a venue with a nearby parking lot. If parking permits are required, then mail those to attendees as soon as possible.
Attendees should be alerted of the meeting 2-3 months beforehand. Formal invitations should be sent by direct mail, while a polite e-mail or phone message will otherwise suffice. Send periodic reminders that prominently display dates, directions, agenda, and other important information.
When attendees arrive, there should be a registration desk with name badges, itineraries and other information presented to them. Then, invite them to “invent, innovate, and design” – the new and improved definition of “business meeting.”