PLANIT RIGHT TIPS
Stick to an agenda with a timeline
Arrange the room to your benefit
Select a good facilitator
You have invested time and money to bring the right people to your meeting. You have meticulously planned your goals and identified the key takeaways you hope to achieve. Don’t walk onto the stage and wing it at after all that effort. Keeping to a tight agenda timeline will not only keep your presenters on time, but will provide the audience with a clear picture of the meeting day. Be sure to plan for breaks to allow for increased attention and energy among your attendees. Try to keep the presentations to less than an hour and provide a timer for those speakers that love to talk.
Studies have shown that the atmosphere, lighting and comfort of a meeting room greatly affect the mental sharpness and focus of attendees. The more comfortable your attendees are in the room, the more information they retain, the more they contribute and the closer you will get to your goals. Gone are the days of using only the standard theater or classroom style seating. The technology available these days has opened up a world of possibilities for meeting spaces. So think outside the room and take in some Vitamin D by holding your next General Session on an outside patio or lawn.
In every meeting there will be the attendees who love to talk and there will be “wallflowers.” A good facilitator will know exactly how to engage with both of these personalities and more. They bring about ideas and generate creative discussion and solutions. They have mastered the art of listening and the art of not talking too much. Even though it may seem like a good idea at the time, consider hiring a professional facilitator. This frees you up to truly listen to your attendees without focusing on the next agenda topic, navigating personalities or worrying about the timeline. You’ve worked hard to get here, it is okay to sit back, engage and let someone else run the show.
Prepare your attendees
Request attendee feedback
Plan to send out the meeting objectives and key agenda items to your attendees prior to their arrival. This will allow them to arrive on-site a little more prepared for what is being presented as well as what you are expecting from them. Remember though to keep it short and sweet. Instead of sending copies of long technical papers, send the URL instead. Be sure to outline key points in the information that will be discussed in the agenda.
As presentations are coming to a close and attendees are rushing to the airport, remember that they hold valuable feedback that can provide insight into areas of improvement and follow up opportunities. Keep it simple and utilize technology. By sending a quick link, attendees can provide information from the cell phone while they are waiting on their flight. Instead of asking 15 “Yes / No” questions, ask 5 questions that encourage attendees to offer detailed feedback to be sure they understand the material that you presented.