Wanda Watson's Top Ten Tips on
Planning Exceptional Meetings

  1. Know your outcomes.
    Do you want to rev up the sales force with rousing motivational speech? Do you want key executives to leave the meeting with new thoughts and perspectives on strategic planning? Perhaps you're looking for a celebrity speaker who will draw a big crowd. Each objective requires different talent to succeed.
  2. Have clear parameters.
    Know your event date, location (city, state, and venue), and budget at the outset. This will save you a great deal of time.
  3. Know what's been done before.
    Build on past success, and avoid repeating mistakes.
  4. Know your latitude in making decisions.
    Communicate to everyone involved roles, expectations, and limits of authority.
  5. Discuss ideas for when and how to best use a professional speaker with someone who's worked with them before.
    A speaker bureau representative can be invaluable in helping you get the most from your investment in an event. Be open to questions and suggestions.
  6. Be ready to provide the speakers with all the pertinent background material on your event.
    This includes your meeting agenda, other speakers participating, and necessary company background information, such as recent newsletters, the annual report, executive speeches, and so on.
  7. Involve the speaker in the room layout feedback process.
    The room seating arrangement will impact opportunities for audience involvement, the speaker's ability to move among the participants, and the comfort of the participants throughout the event. It's worthwhile to check with your speaker for ideas on how to make the most of the room layout.
  8. Be very clear about logistics arrangements.
    Who will duplicate the participant workbooks? When and how should the master copy be submitted? What master account will be used for booking the hotel room? Who is responsible for incidentals? Speakers Plus makes sure that these details are spelled out in advance to avoid surprises for either the meeting planner or speaker.
  9. During the event, be sure to notice the participant's reactions to the speaker to provide good feedback.
    Doing this will give you additional perspective on how well the speaker connects and is regarded by your event participants. Look for eye contact with audience members, the expression on audience member's faces, and, if appropriate, when audience members write notes.
  10. After the event, be sure to debrief on what worked well and what you'd like to do differently next time with both the speaker and speaker bureau.
    Some meeting planners like to do this immediately following the speaker's event to relay the impressions while they are still fresh in mind. Others like to wait until a day or so later to gather additional input from participants. Whatever your preference, be sure to contact Speakers Plus to share your feedback. We want to hear it all.

 

 
What's Next?
Call Speakers Plus! to discuss your upcoming meeting.
Visit our Top Speakers page to learn more about the professionals who consistently deliver outstanding results.
 

 

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