Early and thorough planning is vital for the success of your meeting. Here is a concrete reminder of the thousand things you will have to think about!
This timeline guide is for planning a meeting of about 100 people. Six months’ lead time is scheduled but adjust the task accordingly to the lead time you have.
6 months out
Â· Establish meeting objective(s,3), subjects to be covered, issues to be resolved, etc…
Â· Determine the attendees, both internal and external personnel: guests, speakers, VIPs
Â· Form the organisation team, create a list of tasks and responsibilities and assign them with completion dates
Â· Select possible dates, bearing in mind local holidays and other company’s events
Â· Select the possible facilities / destinations
Â· Do the first contact with providers: hotels/convention centres, audiovisuals companies, etc… and get more information from convention bureaus, tourist information centres, web sites…
Â· Define meeting program and agenda
Â· For meeting out of your vicinity, check on visa requirements, select a receiving agent for shipments and custom clearance
4 to 6 months out
Â· Communicate to attendees / potential attendees about the meeting: dates, venue of the meeting, basic information on the objective(s) of the meeting
Â· Refine meeting program and agenda
Â· Select topics and contact speakers, don’ t forget to get their audiovisuals requirements
Â· Select facilities and accommodation, negotiate and sign contracts. Also include the negotiation for on-site office and communication needs such as secretariat services, Internet provider
Â· Select providers for the different program needs, negotiate and confirm their services when possible
Â· For meeting out of your vicinity, make sure you make travel arrangements (e.g. with a destination management company, airlines or ground transport company)
Â· Order and confirm delivery of any custom-made gifts / stationery for the meeting
Â· Determine and set up arrangements for shipping
3 months out
Â· Follow up on all the items and tasks on the 4 to 6 months checklist, ensure that most tasks are being confirmed. If not, refine and finalise them.
Â· Plan and arrange airport arrival needs, meet-and-greet, security clearance and passes, if required
Â· See production samples of custom-made gifts / stationery
2 months out
Â· Confirm meeting program and agenda
Â· Reminder to potential attendees about the meeting that they need to register, update note to attendees about the meeting program and agenda
Â· Determine meeting rooms setup and signage needs
Â· Order signage
4 to 6 weeks out
Â· Reproduce materials for distribution
Â· Reconfirm all contracts with providers
Â· Send meeting information to attendees: participation requirements, venue details, etc.
Â· Ship materials to meeting sites (depending on destination)
Â· Prepare name badges for all attendees
1 week out
Â· Meet all the organisation team for a briefing. Cover all aspects of the meeting: administration, logistics and responsibilities. Review any changes to what was previously defined or decided.
Â· Ensure that all materials shipped have arrived.
Â· Meet with the facilities and accommodation provider to confirm procedures of charges reviews to master account and audit reports
Â· Review rooming list with accommodation’s front desk and confirm all preregistered attendees and procedures for check-in and check-out
Â· Meet with all providers to review the requirements and any last minute changes
Â· Coordinate airport meet-&-greet
Â· Set up on-site office and secretariat services, registration area and for distribution of welcome materials and gifts
Â· Conduct sessions with organisation team and also with the appropriate providers: facility, accommodation, destination management agency, etc, to resolve any issues or give "thank-you’s" for job well done
Â· Send thank you letters to deserving providers and to people who have assisted you to make the meeting possible