Any planner knows that reliable Wi-Fi and networking opportunities are necessary, but here are 10 equally crucial elements for executing successful meetings and events.
1. CLEAR OBJECTIVE Attendees need to know what they’ll gain from the event, and speakers need to know what to prepare for. Once you determine the objective, run all decisions regarding the event through that filter: Do the chosen speakers and breakout session topics all contribute to achieving your event’s purpose?
2. ENGAGING CONTENT AND SPEAKERS Depending on the scale (and budget) of your event, you may look at hiring professional speakers or training your internal speakers to connect better with your audience. Coaching sessions at the office in advance of taking the main stage are becoming more commonplace.
3. ON-BRAND VISUALS Registration websites, printed collateral, on-site signage and follow-up communications should all be cohesively designed. Appointing one team member as event brand manager can help ensure consistency. And don’t forget about branding external speaker elements as well—having a branded presentation deck available to outside speakers to drop in their content makes this a breeze.
4. STRONG SPONSORS Who will support your brand, event objective and engaging content? Your trusted industry allies and friends. Think of your sponsors as partners; ideal partnerships are a two-way street. Make sure your expectations are set in advance with plenty of notice to ensure your partners have enough time to budget, strategize and react, and you can deliver on your end.
5. BUY-IN FROM DECISION-MAKERS FROM THE BEGINNING As with most initiatives, having the bosses engaged with your event from the beginning makes the planning process easier. You’ll want to identify one or two event “champions” from your executive management team early on.
6. FLEXIBLE VENUE PARTNER Your venue partner should allow you the ability to get creative and use their space uniquely. Whether it’s providing extra space for impromptu meetings or allowing outside catering in for a featured break or meal, find a venue that values your partnership and is willing to go the extra mile.
7. CREATIVE TECHNOLOGY IMPLEMENTATION With so many innovative ways to engage attendees and enhance communication, it’s easy to add an impactful—and on-brand— splash with technology. From tossable microphones to interactive lighting designs, there are ways to leverage technology in nearly every corner of your space.
8. COMPREHENSIVE STAFFING PLAN Prep internal and external staff with preconference training to discuss minuteby-minute plans and the run-of-show to set and manage expectations, answer any potential questions and strategize for the “what if” moments. Define an on-site chain of command and set clear parameters for emergency protocol.
9. SOLID ATTENDEE COMMUNICATION PLAN Attendees will need to hear from you before, during and after the event, so plan out a timeline of communication milestones to prospective and confirmed attendees. Your plan could include emails, text messages, phone calls, brochures or welcome packets, hotel room drops, social media interactions and more. Too often we collectively overlook the most important communication of all—the follow-up and call to action at the conclusion of the event. Don’t miss this critical step to encourage repeat attendance and motivate your audience around your objective.
10. STRATEGIC PARTNERS TO HELP EVERY STEP OF THE WAY A strong strategic partner will help you keep all of these (and more!) top of mind as you plan. Going at it alone can be daunting—so don’t do it! metroConnections, for example, lives and breathes meetings and events, so we’re often able to anticipate things that could otherwise be unforeseen. Engage a partner with connections, expertise and experience to help achieve your objectives and make you look good.
Sydney Wolf is the director of sales at metroConnections, the Minneapolis-based leading provider of conference, event, stage production and transportation services for meeting and event planners nationwide. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit metroconnections.com