Plan a Meeting Like a Wedding

23 Dec

When planning a wedding, the bride essentially becomes an event planner. She picks the location, colors, flowers, décor, music, apparel, and menu. She selects a photographer, the bridal party, the level of formality of the event, and a theme. Regardless of her budget, these are the basic components most brides will have on their checklist.

While your next meeting or convention may not be the life changing, seminal moment of a wedding, it is just as important to consider using a  similar checklist. Far too often, meeting planners (whether professionals or volunteers) neglect to ensure a synergy and continuity in their planning checklist. So what do I mean?

Determine A Global Theme
An effective theme is a unifying or dominant idea or motif. Select a theme that is specific yet not so restrictive that it doesn’t allow for creativity or flexibility. Give thought to the objective of the meeting, targeted speakers, and expectations of the attendees. Ask the questions: Will this theme prompt interest in the meeting? Does this theme sound relevant? Can this theme be easily defined and communicated in print and video?

Design A Logo Representative of Theme
Your logo is a graphic representation or symbol of your event. Design a logo that will flexible enough for shirts, marketing materials, digital media, and easily recognizable as a symbol of the theme.  Select colors that will be easy to replicate and utilize throughout the conference.

Plan Programming Consistent with Theme
Ensure that there is a common thread that connects the speakers with the theme. Continuity of speakers, topics, and themed events increases the level of professionalism regardless of the size of the meeting or convention. Is it a medical convention, educational convention, or industry-specific convention? Use the nature of the programming to provide the cues to the theme.

Select Décor Reflective of Theme
Create a color palette and decorations that are consistent with the theme and match or complement the logo, marketing materials and convention/meeting program book. Decorations don’t require a high price tag. This is an area where creativity and innovation often result in a greater impact than high-ticket purchases. Most importantly, carry the theme throughout the convention. The aforementioned elements of the theme should begin with the marketing of the convention and continue on site from registration through a closing banquet.

Pull It All Together
So how do you ensure that you’ve covered your bases? A successful meeting/convention requires planning, creativity, and restraint. The most effective way to do this is to continue to ask and answer the following questions:

  • How does this communicate our message?
  • How does this contribute to the program?
  • How does this enhance the attendee experience?
  • How does this make the event unique and memorable?

Accordingly, if an aspect of your meeting doesn’t answer or address one or more of the above questions, you may want to reevaluate it’s viability.

Happy planning!

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