Published June 16, 2017
If you’re a seasoned meeting professional with more acronyms behind your signature than you can count, this column may be a bit basic for you. Maybe you’ve got a well-oiled meeting planning machine and you’ve created your own one-sheet or playbook that you live by. But, if you’re a new kid on the MP block, or if you’re looking for one little nugget to add to your planner repertoire, read on because I’ve got a handy tip sheet you can grab an idea or two from. From facility to food, marketing to mingling, here are 10 tips to consider when the initial call comes in asking YOU to plan an event or meeting!
- Contact details: just the basics here—date and time of event, primary and secondary contacts, event location and event purpose. This is simple information to grab and most definitely needed from the gate!
- Event Scope: here’s where you’ll include how many guests will attend, if meals will be served, what type of transportation is needed, the layout of the facility, A/V requirements, safety precautions, etc.
- Guest accommodations: where will your people by staying? Is there a conference rate? Is breakfast included (it should be by the way)? Is parking extra (it shouldn’t be, by the way). All these little details will be asked the minute you send the group block to the tribe. Be prepared to answer–or better yet, include all of those things in the initial lodging email. People will appreciate it!
- Budget: no one wants to talk about money right in the beginning, but it’s necessary. You can’t host a lavish event with a poor man’s pocket, so go in knowing what you’re working with.
- Marketing: how will this event or meeting be shared with others? It’s important to jot that down early so you’re using proper channels, hashtags and marketing strategy to ensure premium attendance.
- Supplies: everyone needs a supply list from packing tape to red pens, aspirin to phone chargers—here is where that list should reside so you can keep track in one location.
- Important dates: from the date when all contracts will be due, to the final site walk-through, jot those dates down in one spot, add them to your calendar with notifications, and never miss a beat.
- Extra-curriculars: social service projects and pre- and post-conference activities are really trending right now. From mid-day yoga breaks to scavenger hunts or pay-to-play-time in the local shelter’s sponsored puppy lounge, add in some suggestions for clients they might not find on their own to mix up the traditional day-long speaker/meeting setup.
- Plan B: everyone needs one! Have you seen the wedding moments when the bride is whisked away by the ocean waves which just yesterday were lazily lapping onto the sun-kissed shore, but today are pounding the beach with gale-force winds? Maybe a weather glance, back-up facility and a slight bit of alternate planning can make all the difference.
- Notes: here’s the spot for ideas, suggestions, tips, housekeeping items and more. Let the loose ends find a home in this spot.
Karen Crane is the Director of the Merriam Visitors Bureau in Merriam, Kansas…next door neighbors to Kansas City! Learn more about Merriam at www.exploremerriam.com.