I realize that some receiving this newsletter are professional planners. But for those that are not, and yet find themselves involved in planning a large meeting, I hope these top 7 ideas are helpful.
Date check: Sure you know to avoid choosing a holiday date. But also be aware of any major sporting event, or local flavor events such as parades or festivals. Any of those can cause logistics problems if travel is involved between venues.
Site check: If it’s a large meeting you most definitely want to do a personal viewing. Yes, even if it’s far away. Why take the risk that everything won’t be fine on the day of the event or rely on someone else’s judgment? In addition, checking out the scene beforehand allows you the opportunity to meet and build a rapport with the staff you’ll be working very closely with on the day of the event. So budget that in!
Enough time: Putting your meeting together takes time, and the more you have, the better the chances of making fewer mistakes. Handle details in the early planning stages. Leaving the basics to the last minute will undoubtedly cost more money, as you’ll probably incur rush charges, and it will definitely add unnecessary stress to your life! Checklists and the ability to delegate will be helpful. Let others do the running around on your behalf, but always have a visible presence in the background making sure that everything runs smoothly.
Specific contracts: When dealing with vendors large or small you want to have the contracts spell it out exactly. Avoid phrases like “to be determined at a later date” or “to be negotiated”. These are nebulous terms that can be interpreted in their favor, not yours. Besides when it’s spelled out everyone can relax knowing exactly what is expected of them.
Plan B: Even well organized events can have a glitch sneak in. – Nine months ago you came up with the idea to send the executives off for an afternoon of sailing. But you just found out the morning of the sail that the boat sunk a couple of hours ago while docked. Without a backup plan you panic (never a pretty site) and have the possibility of it causing a domino effect for other areas of your conference. Having a contingency plan puts your mind at ease.
Ooh, the budget: Yes, you’ll be watching the budget. But not to the exclusion of quality. Cheap prices and good quality usually don’t correlate. So the next time you’re tempted to make a buying decision based entirely on price, think again.
Timely marketing: It’s all about marketing and communication. The longer you wait to inform potential attendees, the stronger the chance that they’ll have made alternative plans for your meeting dates. Communicate your message in plenty of time so that your event is their number one priority.