A good meeting can mean the difference between achieving amazing results or completely destroying an initiative. To do it right, you need to consider quite a few variables. When planning a meeting and managing meeting logistics, communication becomes absolutely critical.
Beyond sending out an email with the time and place, the way a meeting is communicated can have tremendous effects on the outcome of the meeting.
A hand written invitation and concierge level support will set a completely different tone than a casual invitation delivered at a hectic outing. In fact, the art of delivering communications around the meeting has led to some extremely exotic invitations.
Apart from the invitation itself, ensuring that logistics are managed clearly is extremely important. Here is some guidance for managing the logistical communications:
- Communicate clearly and often. In the vacuum of space and time, people begin to build up false assumptions about what is happening. At minimum, once – if not once a week, send a note to the participants in your meeting letting them know that the meeting is still going to happen and what to expect or how to prepare.
- Don’t ask too much of your participants. If there will be lots of complex requirements for each person to go through in order to participate, consider creating a “hand-holding” system or process to help maximize your results. The more complex the requirements, the more frequent and more intimate the communication required.
- Blind Carbon Copy (BCC:) all meeting participants on mass emails (if you do that). It shows respect for your audience and prevents issues when one person replies tries to reply to everyone with personal information.
- Have each invitee speak to one, and only one, administrative contact. You can have one administrative contact manage around 50-100 participants on average.
- Don’t forget to have some “post event” communications as well. This can be “thank you” cards, or a survey, or the meeting minutes. You will miss the key opportunity to setup the next meeting if you do not follow up on the meetings you host effectively.
- With so much competition for people’s time and money, half the battle is getting to your clients. Let’s say you do manage to book the meeting, now what? You’ve made a great presentation; you’re sure your new clients will be lining up to do business with you… but are they? Did you follow-up with them, or did you leave them flat and wanting more? What kind of impression did your follow-up leave – that you pay attention to detail and value their business, or that that you were slow, inefficient and didn’t need them as a client? ~ Jill Pezza of ThePezzaConnection.com
Be planful about your communications and make sure they meet the guidelines above. This will help set up your meeting for success!
But what should you say and how should you say it? Don’t worry, I’ll get more into communication styling and content in a different article.