When planning a meeting the challenges of preparation can often times stifle productivity and positive results. There is a better way however to make sure you hit all the key points and keep your attendees interested and engaged during your time together. We recommend these four tips for creating the perfect meeting every time:
PLAN YOUR SPACE
The first and most important factor in meeting planning is the space that you are using to host your gathering. For smaller meetings it’s important to create an intimate environment where attendees feel comfortable sharing their ideas and really engaging with the other members of the meeting. For larger gatherings it’s imperative that spaces are close but not crowded, that have adequate seating and appropriate areas to work. For both small and large gatherings, spaces that that have integrated technology like projectors and smart boards will help speed any meeting right along. Additionally, the meeting space you choose works best when set up to accommodate the different activities you may have planned. Variations of seating and set ups that our AMA Executive Conference Centers recommend are:
Crescent Rounds / Pods / Team Style: The perfect set up for encouraging teams and group discussions. It works for meals as well!
Conference Style: An ideal set up that encourages a high level of interaction between participants and allows for good working space.
Classroom: The most desirable of set ups that accommodates both large and smaller groups attending to view an extended presentation or lecture.
Theater / Auditorium: Perfect set up for a short presentations or lectures, or for larger groups that do not require extensive note-taking.
Boardroom / Hollow Square: Appropriate for groups fewer than 40 where there’s a group leader or seated panel at the head of the set up.
U-Shape: Ideal for more intimate groups attending to experience a speaker, audio-visual presentation or other focal point that’s positioned at the open end of the set up.
Another factor that helps plan a well organized agenda is your materials. If you have a PowerPoint or slide show presentation that you want everyone to see, be sure that you have adequate time to prepare and present it. Additionally, planning ahead to have flip charts, notepads, pens, and other essential supplies needed for activities is imperative. At AMA Executive Conference Centers, we work directly with clients to lessen this burden by accessing these needs and providing a large array of supplies.
If you have key points and other pertinent information that have to be made during your meeting be sure that those key points are made clear first and foremost to begin with. You should have important information lined up so that you can be sure it is discussed before your meeting wraps up. Having a bullet point list or an itinerary of ideas to refer to is a great way to make sure you allot the right amount of time to each item that needs to be addressed.
When you feel you may miss something simply create a schedule that your meeting attendees can follow along with. In planning the schedule be sure that you have adequate time to prepare it and present it. Post or pass out a schedule at the beginning of activities – this way everyone is on the same page and really understands what is going on and how the meeting should progress.
Each meeting planner’s style really is their own. But taking the time to pre plan is a planner’s best friend when it comes to achieving the perfect meeting. For more resources in planning a meeting in New York, Atlanta, Washington DC or San Francisco at an AMA Executive Conference Center connect with us at www.amaconferencecenters.org.