Planning a successful meeting can seem like a daunting task. There are so many details to consider. So where do you begin? Let Norris Conference Centers’ over 26 years of hospitality experience come to your rescue! We can show you how to plan a successful meeting step by step. For more complete information on planning events of all types, including our check lists, please visit our How to Plan an Event page.
Planning a Successful Meeting is a SNAP:
- Selecting the appropriate location
- Negotiating the right price
- Arranging for the necessary services
- Planning the Event Logistics
Selecting the Appropriate Location
There are many factors to consider before making a final selection of a venue. You will want to make sure the space isn’t too large or too small. Verify the location is convenient to your attendees and has ample parking. Identify if the facility can meet your room setup and equipment needs. These are but a few of the factors. Many more are available on our Site Selection Check List. You will also want to set up a Site Inspection with your salesperson to verify these factors. Consider printing out, highlighting your specific needs and taking along our Site Inspection Check List to make your visit more productive.
Negotiating the Right Price
Now that the venue has been selected, you will need to make sure it matches the dollars you have to spend. Most people have been taught successful negotiating means never disclosing your budget. However, you can waste a lot of your valuable time if you are looking at a facility that normally charges $1,000 and you have $500 to spend. If you are uncomfortable sharing your bottom line dollar amount, then tell the sales person roughly what you spent last time. Make sure you are a match early on and you’ll save time and frustration. Ask about Complete Meeting Packages (CMPs), which can include everything you need for a meeting in one per-person price.
Communicate clearly and make sure everything is outlined. Make all agreements part of the written contract. Also, make sure you have the authority to sign a contract. If not, ask that person if they need to attend the Site Visit or will take your recommendation. Waiting for a signature could lose your space. Finally, ask your sales person for an estimated invoice. Check this against your list and verify it still meets your budget.
Arranging for all the Necessary Services
Many details go into planning a successful meeting. The more organized you are with details the smoother the event will run. You don’t need to be an expert, but a working knowledge will be helpful.
Will you need support materials like pens, pads or power strips? What about a video projector, wireless microphone or sound system? An Event Coordinator can help guide you through all of these and make suggestions. They can also help with your food and beverage needs. Consider food allergies when making selections. We have several Check Lists for you here.
Planning the Event Logistics
An essential meeting feature is the appropriate seating arrangement. The best room arrangement for any meeting depends on the nature of the meeting/event and its goal/purpose. Popular setups are: classroom, theater, U-shape and rounds. Consider how much your attendees will interact with the presenter and each other. Ask your presenter if they have a favorite arrangement for the room.
Norris Centers has many more tips, lists and information on our How to Plan an Event page. Don’t be surprised if you learn something new each time you plan a meeting. And be sure to congratulate yourself for a job well done!