Large Meetings

Planning a Large Meeting or Conference

Many large meetings in North Dakota can be easily planned and informal. However, there are those larger conferences, seminars and training that are more time intensive and require planning several months prior to the actual event. With larger meetings being planned, it’s always a good idea to coordinate everything in stages to avoid becoming overwhelmed or even worse, missing deadlines which could ultimately affect the outcome of the actual meeting itself. 

Stage One:

  • Designate a project manager and organize a group of people who will assist
  • Have an idea of what the meeting will include, set a few goals
  • Start preparing a list of specifics of the meeting (days, times, agenda outlooks)
  • Be thinking of the ideal budget for the event (hotel, equipment, transportation, catering, entertainment, handouts)
  • Work with the team on a timeline, when things need to be done, commitments on designated tasks for each team member, etc.

Stage Two:

  • Start organizing an organizational timeline chart of some kind, maybe a Gantt chart or similar, to show tasks completed, timelines, etc.
  • You’ll most likely be working with a North Dakota venue for your meeting; now is the time to prepare a list of what you will need the chosen venue to provide, etc.
  • Start researching venues, check hotel room availability, gather quotes, & more
  • Work with the team to establish the exact meeting dates, start confirming speakers, develop rapport with your venue coordinator & get their assistance as much as possible
  • Have a good idea of what the meeting agenda will include for each day
  • Ask your project team members to start preparing ideas for visual materials, presentation topics, brochures or other handouts needed, etc. 
  • Decide how you will announce & promote the meeting (email, phone, social media), or maybe it’s a combination of all

Stage Three:

  • You most likely have a list of a few venues that will work well for your large meeting; now is the time to confirm & book the best one
  • Have an idea of your attendance at this point; your venue will need this to plan meeting space, including breakouts, etc.
  • Announce the dates; send out location & booking details
  • If you’re handling transportation arrangements for the attendees, you better start now
  • Work with your venue on catering needed for breakfast, lunch, dinners, breakouts
  • If entertainment is planned for any portion of the meeting, start getting availability & quotes from DJ’s, bands or other entertainers
  • Be sure you have an idea of what the meeting venue is providing for audio/visual/computer equipment – you may end up having to bring some of these items

Stage Four:

  • The meeting is here; arrive at the venue early to make sure everything planned with the venue is accurate
  • Assure the meeting space is adequate, the rooms are clean, seating is ideal, & lighting/heating are comfortable
  • If you planned equipment with the venue, double check that you have what you need & where you need it
  • Work with your venue contact on final guarantee numbers for catering
  • Follow up with any entertainers you booked
  • Know who your contact is for the day at the venue so you can get anything you need in a timely manner

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