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. The first one, though no more or less important than any of the others, is the venue.
The venue for your meeting is absolutely critical. The venue for your event gives it credibility with your audience. A great venue can set the tone for great outcomes. A venue that is not appropriate for the content to be discussed can spell disaster and it creates a fertile ground for miscommunication of all kinds.
- Is the location convenient to travelers from out of the area?
- Does the location have enough parking and other support facilities to assist you?
- Is it central to key players in the meeting?
- Will participants need to be amplified?
- Is there a backup plan to manage any disruptive noises?
- Will you need to dim the lights frequently?
- Does the venue have well lit corridors and parking?
- If the meeting houses more than 20-30 people you may need to make special arrangements in order for everyone to see each other or the presenter.
- Put any visuals high enough off the ground to make sure that all participants can see them
- Watch your font sizes and word density on presentations because people in the back can’t read anything smaller than 20pt font
Size & Space
- Does the venue support a meeting of your size regularly?
- Spaces that are too small are threatening to some and spaces that are too big scatter participants too far apart.
- Does your venue support breakout rooms, prep areas, phone booths, study carrels, or green room style facilities?
- Will the meeting be a 8 hour torture fest in the world’s most uncomfortable chairs?
- Can the venue arrange the seats in advance to support your style of meeting?
- Does the arrangement of seating that you choose support your type of meeting?
- Remote Participants
- Can people effectively participate in this event remotely?
- Technology Needs
- Does the venue have the technology to support your event? Consider things like voice amplification, video playback, computer screen presentation, telephone, or video conferencing, etc.
- Biological Needs (Food, Breaks, etc.)
- Can your facility support the biological needs of your audience? One unisex bathroom is insufficient for a meeting of 100 people.
- Can the venue support food service, and of what type? Buffet style? Sit down meal with wait staff? Will there be snacks during the meeting?
- Break length will need to be managed based on the length of time it takes your participants to get their biological needs addressed.
- Multi-day meetings will need overnight facilities – does your venue have access to such or will they provide transit to those that do?
- Does the venue provide adequate transportation services? If the parking lot is more than 150 yards long is there a shuttle? Does the venue have transit to and from major transportation hubs?
- Consider logistics for indoor transportation when interior walking distances are excessive. Don’t have your participants park in the A wing of the building when the meeting is in the Z wing a mile away.
Having good answers to the points above will ensure that you have properly screened the venue for your event. While all the points above may not be relevant, getting them into your thinking process will bring your meeting hosting skills to the next level. Understanding what it takes to put on a fantastic meeting is the first step to getting outstanding results.
Here’s a free printable worksheet to help you select a venue for your meeting planning.