Pre-conference Planning - Keys to Successful Meetings and Events

April 13, 2018 Cassie Uecker

Once you find the perfect location to hold your event, you might think the biggest challenge is over. However, there are vital planning steps needed between contract signature and the event date.

Here are the main components you’ll want to hash out.

Event goals and vision. In order to have a successful meeting or event, you need to define the “why” as soon as possible. The main goal/vision of the meeting should guide all the decisions you have to make throughout the planning process. Defining this “why” can be easier said than done. To help you answer the “why,” ask yourself these questions:

What is the purpose?
Who are the audience and key stakeholders?
How will I measure success?
What should the audience leave knowing/doing?
What is my budget?

Resourceful catering. We all know food is the way to our attendees’ hearts—catering can be a make it or break it choice for attendees’ happiness. Be sure to make thoughtful and intentional choices when it comes to your food and beverage selections. Keep track of current food and beverage trends and rely on your attendees’ preferences and eating habits from previous events. Working on a budget? Collaborate with the chef and share your vision.

AV design. AV has the opportunity to wow your attendees and upturn your budget. When planning for AV consider its impact on attendees and speakers. Be sure to match the AV to the speaker—if they are more comfortable standing still, a podium mic will be sufficient and easier on your budget. Is your speaker’s presentation dependent upon moving around and interacting with the audience? Then a wireless mic is a must. Remember to keep the overall event concept as well as the details for each session in mind.

Registration and attendee information. Managing attendees is the most important aspect of a meeting. During the pre-planning stage, secure the registration process you will need to successfully run all sessions, meals, events, etc., that make up your agenda. Remember to obtain attendees’ on-site contact information, such as their cell phone number. This is a critical piece of crisis management, should something occur on-site. Registration is also attendees’ first glimpse into the event, so it is your first chance to generate some buzz and excitement.

Details. Details. Details. Details are what make a stellar meeting or event. To help you think of all those small, but mighty features, create a plan that walks through the entire event from start to finish. Consider all the elements of the program and any ROI-impacting moments you have planned.



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