Submitted by: Debbie Dapson www.madeleinesplacenm.com
Planning for a meeting is just as important as the meeting.These helpful tips will ease the process so your audience can focuson you.
1. Set meeting goals: Before you start actuallyplanning the structure of the meeting, make sure you have an answerto the question: What do I want to accomplish?
2. Location, location, location: A dreary locationwill produce lackluster results. The physical surroundings of youroff-site meeting can make an enormous difference. Think outside thebox.
3. Tour the facilities: Be sure to take a tour ofthe venue before you select it. Make sure that the space meets yourneeds and that there is someplace for employees to put theirbelongings, a sufficient number of clean restrooms, and, if it ispart of your plan, one or more areas where you can comfortablyshare a meal.
4. Create a pre-meeting countdown schedule: Tomake sure that you cover everything, draw up a list of pre-meetingitems that need to be accomplished and work backwards from yourevent date to make sure that they are achieved without unduestress.
5. Budget: When planning the meeting, make surethat you have a budget figure in mind and that you have allowed fortransportation, facility rental, equipment rental, accommodations,catering, and possibly the cost of hiring a facilitator, guestspeaker or entertainer.
6. Speaking of equipment: While some meetings callfor nothing more that a few chairs and a flip chart, attendees maybring laptops to access and present computer-based information,which would require a digital projector. You may also want secureinternet access.
7. Plan for success: You want to make sure thatyou have processes defined that will meet your goals - from solvingoffice problems, to generating fresh ideas and building teamrapport
8. Add fun: Just because this is a businessmeeting, don't neglect recreational opportunities. Build time intothe day's schedule to allow employees to play and develop rapportwith each other
9. Build an agenda: Once you've worked out yourmeeting's goals, build and publish an agenda (and nominate amoderator) to keep the meeting on track.
10. Pre-meeting PR: Circulate your agenda beforethe retreat to prepare employees for participation. To furtherbuild interest and commitment, give employees homework to bring tothe meeting.
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