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Steps for Leading a Successful Event Planning Meeting

Planning an event takes time, patience, ideas, people, and above all, effective meetings. While technological advancements and online tools like Slack have made event planning easier, nothing beats running a meeting to get everyone on...

Planning an event takes time, patience, ideas, people, and above all, effective meetings. While technological advancements and online tools like Slack have made event planning easier, nothing beats running a meeting to get everyone on the same page. However, leading an event planning meeting can be challenging. You have to consider other people's schedules and opinions, address details, and keep everyone focused. In this article, we will break down the best strategies for leading productive event planning meetings.

Before the Meeting

The key to running a successful planning meeting is preparation. Coming to a meeting unprepared is a waste of time and energy. So, in the days leading up to the meeting, make sure to arrange a few key details:

  • Creating an agenda: Agendas are vital for knowing what topics to discuss, who needs to attend the meeting, and how long it will last. Share the agenda with all meeting attendees beforehand, so they are aware of what will be discussed.

  • Determining who needs to be there: With the agenda in hand, it's easy to ensure that only the relevant people attend the meeting. This shows respect for everyone's time and increases productivity.

  • Sending out a reminder: Email your staff and volunteers a day before or on the day of the meeting to remind them about it. This ensures they come prepared with any necessary research or feedback.

Event Planning Image: Event Planning

During the Meeting

Proper planning ahead of time helps avoid potential disruptions during the meeting. However, some hiccups may still occur. Here are some tips to keep the meeting on track:

  • Keep the conversation on track: It's common for meetings to get sidetracked or for members to ramble on. If this happens, refer back to the agenda. The agenda sets clear expectations and helps refocus the conversation.

  • Take notes: It's essential to take notes during the meeting so that everyone can remember what was discussed and what needs to be accomplished by the next meeting. Assign someone to take notes or rotate this responsibility among attendees.

  • Start with unfinished action items: Not everything can be resolved in a single meeting. Begin the meeting by addressing any unfinished tasks from the previous meeting to ensure they don't get overlooked indefinitely.

  • Leave clear action items: Besides checking in on progress, make sure to assign specific tasks to attendees for completion before the next meeting. Clear action items keep the momentum going.

After the Meeting

Just because the meeting is over doesn't mean the work is done. There are a few loose ends to tie up:

  • Send out the meeting notes: Immediately after the meeting, send out the meeting notes to all attendees. Include clear action items, so everyone can implement them promptly. If another meeting is scheduled, provide the details.

  • Set reminders to check-in: Some people may need gentle reminders to complete their action items. Set reminders for yourself to follow up with anyone who might need it, ensuring continuous progress.

Event Planning Image: Event Planning

Incorporating Volunteers into Your Planning Meetings

Running a planning meeting with staff is one thing, but involving volunteers can present unique challenges. Here are some strategies to make your planning meetings with volunteers more successful:

  • Be prepared: Treat planning meetings with volunteers as seriously as those with staff. Create and print out a meeting agenda for everyone.

  • Keep everyone up to date: Choose topics that require feedback from volunteers or provide updates to keep them informed. Communication is crucial for volunteers, just as it is for staff.

  • Respect their time commitment: Since volunteers often have limited availability outside of regular hours, keep the meeting to an hour or less. Starting and ending the meeting on time shows respect for their time. Avoid letting the meeting linger or creating side conversations.

  • Designate a meeting leader: If you won't be leading the meeting, assign someone to be in charge. The meeting leader should stick to the agenda, encourage input, and gently guide the conversation back on track if needed. Remember, volunteers are giving their time and deserve respect.

Leading a successful event planning meeting requires careful preparation, effective communication, and respect for everyone involved. By following these strategies, you can ensure that your meetings are productive and contribute to the seamless execution of your next event.