Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Preparing for Your Next Company Meeting

Here are some important ideas to consider when you’re in charge of putting on a meeting for your associates, customers, distributors or other people outside your organization.  Not all these suggestions will apply in every case—so just pick out one or two to start with, and use it at your next meeting!
Your Invitation   Sell the end result in the invitation. “When this meeting is over you’ll leave with…”  Tell them the objective for the meeting. “The entire focus of the meeting is…”
Your Agenda Print two different agendas—one for your audience and another one for your presenters, the AV staff, the facility and your support team!
The Audience Copy Only show the times they need to know—when the meeting begins and ends (if necessary). If it’s a half-day meeting and you’re providing lunch, avoid saying on the agenda “Closing Speaker & Lunch at 12:00pm.” Just say instead, “Closing Speaker followed by Lunch.” That leaves you a cushion if you’re late! When you show the audience exact times for each speaker they keep checking their watch. “Hey, Nick is 22 minutes over.” Or, “Why did Chris only speak for 11 minutes, she had 20 minutes on the agenda …what did she leave out?”
The Actual Time Agenda This is only for those who must know real times. Make it very specific and leave yourself “cushion time.” Put in 5 minutes here and there to cover housekeeping announcements and the unexpected. Remember, if you end your meeting a little early, your audience will be thrilled! End right on time and you’re a hero. Run late, you’re seen as being unprofessional.
Breaks  Here’s the rule of thumb: People need a bathroom break within 90 minutes of breakfast, especially coffee drinkers, so your first break in the morning should be within the first 90 minutes of your opening. After lunch, you need more frequent breaks, so after 90 minutes, have a break, then 75 minutes, then a break, and finally, 60 minutes and then close!
Distance is Death!  Too big a room, with the audience too far away from the speaker and each other, deadens and depletes the audience’s energy. Keep people close.
Visuals Must Be Visible!  A washed out screen, caused by lights above it or directly on it, causes the visuals your audience needs to see to be weak and unappealing, taking away the impact.
Neck Twisting No-No!  Having a screen in the corner of the room away from the speaker disconnects the audience from both the speaker and the visuals. Keep the screen (or screens) close to the speaker so the audience can see both at the same time – without neck twisting!

For more ideas, contact Joel directly

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