When tasked with organizing your next big meeting, especially for something important like a major announcement or influential guest speaker, you may want to kick it up a notch by turning it into an event, planned by professionals. After all, for the most part, a meeting is generally attended by employees and management from within a company…something that occurs fairly frequently. By turning a simple meeting into an EVENT, you are emphasizing its importance and ensuring maximum impact.
On a practical level, a meeting planner only needs to take into account employee work schedules when considering attendance. Maybe throw some bagels and coffee on a table and insure a PowerPoint projector is available. When planning an event, the coordinator can do so much more-including coordinating the attendance of outside vendors, speakers, equipment, and even catering. By hiring an experienced Event Planner, you are effectively turning the affair from routine to energizing, whatever the topic.
No matter the subject matter, switching up the location from usual meeting spot can be re-invigorating for participants on many levels. Leaving the usual conference rooms behind, where employees simply meander in when they are able, offers a formality that can only benefit the goals that you are looking to achieve by actually throwing the event. People tend to plan more carefully when going off site, especially where there is a official time set for a speaker or a meal is involved. Knowing you have taken the time and spent the money to set up this venue is also an impetus to ensure people attend and arrive on time. This is doubly true if the event is planned for an out of town destination. Taking into account the “flavor” of the location, whether New Orleans or Chicago, Miami or Denver, you are setting the tone for what kind of experience your attendees can expect, and also who decides to attend in the first place!
Not only can an experienced event planner assist you with narrowing down your choice of destination, but they can also filter through the myriad venues that are available based on your chosen criteria. What is the objective of your meeting? Do you want it to be formal or casual? Would you prefer to be close to an airport, or to coincide with another industry event? All these things need to be established BEFORE you narrow your selection down further by venue size, technical capabilities, and food possibilities. Ultimately, whether you get your ideal venue depends on whether that establishment is even available, so it’s a good idea to have a list of alternates.
Choosing a menu can cement the overall ambiance of the gathering you are throwing. As with any get together, people always leave talking about the food. Especially if you are providing a meal to be accompanied by a speaker or presentation, you don’t want a sub-par meal to detract from your overall message, and alternately, going too fancy or gourmet can have the same result. And if you are the one presenting, the last thing YOU need to be thinking about is what people are eating. Which you would be, if you had an office meeting and you or your administrative assistant failed to provide meat free options for those attendees that are vegetarian.
After all the major decisions involved in planning have been concluded, your event planner will assist you with the often tedious business of establishing timelines, promoting the event, setting up registration, and tallying attendance.
Ideally, your event planner will do all the legwork for you, from gathering information and setting realistic expectations on destination, to connecting with hotels, halls, or convention centers. They are also extremely useful at researching and booking well -reviewed speakers, choosing a menu and/or hiring catering if not included with the venue. Most importantly to your bottom line, your event planner will work with you to establish a budget, prioritize spending, and keep within that agreed upon financial plan.