Whether you're a seasoned pro at meeting planning or the responsibility to plan an event fell under the "other duties as assigned" caveat in your job description, it pays to have an organized method for planning a meeting. A to-do list is an essential part of the process. To ensure you cross all of your T's and dot your I's, we've created this meeting planning checklist to help get you on your way.
Meeting Planner's Checklist
- Identify the purpose or objectives of the meeting and who it is for. Knowing what the goals are will help you establish priorities and make planning more efficient. This step will also help you identify what you'll need to hold a successful event and give you an idea of how many people will be in attendance.
- Set a date. Depending on the size and scope of the meeting, give yourself a minimum of four weeks to plan. The larger the event, the more time you'll need so plan accordingly.
- Create a budget. If you did your homework to identify the purpose of the meeting, you should have a solid idea about what key elements you'll need to make it happen. It's important to know your financial limitations in the early stages of planning.
- Identify and reserve a venue. Once you know your budget, you'll want to lock in your venue as soon as possible. If you will have attendees traveling from outside the immediate area or will be meeting for multiple days, a hotel with meeting space is ideal.
- Determine catering and audiovisual needs. Check with your venue to find out if they offer catering or banquet services. Depending on the meeting duration and your budget, you may elect to have meals provided. Alternately, a simple spread of coffee and light pastries and fruit might suffice. If your venue does not provide catering, ask for recommendations for local restaurants or catering services. Also, be sure you know what audiovisual equipment is provided and whether or not there are any additional costs associated with usage or setup.
- Develop an agenda. Draft a clear outline of the items that need to be addressed during the meeting to allow ample time for each one. It's also important to make sure breaks and meals are accounted for in the schedule.
- Identify and contact speakers, presenters, or other partners as applicable. Make reservations for their travel, including transportation and lodging, immediately after their participation has been confirmed.
- Make a guest list. Ask for names from multiple sources or departments within the organization so nobody is overlooked. Include pertinent contact information.
- Draft an invitation or email notification. Include logistic information, travel, and accommodation notes. Also, make sure there is a clear deadline for responding with confirmation of attendance.
- Recruit help. There will be a number of tasks that need to be accomplished as the meeting date gets closer. Identify who your helpers will be and make sure they are included in the headcount for seating, meals, and hotel accommodations.
- Prepare meeting materials. Materials will differ based on the needs of the organization holding the meeting but some basic essentials include name badges, pens, agendas, handouts, speaker bio's, visual elements such as graphs, charts, and PowerPoint presentations, and door prizes or other swag for attendees.
- Confirm all services and presenters. This includes the venue, catering, speakers, and any other outside vendors. You should have a final headcount that you can provide to the venue for seating and meals.
- Take pride in your effort to create an organized, efficient meeting.
Full-Service Meeting Amenities In Cooperstown
If you're planning a meeting, whether it's a casual affair for 30 employees or a corporate event for 300, The Otesaga Resort Hotel, in Cooperstown, can help make the planning process simple and efficient. We are a full-service venue and offer more than 30,000 square feet of meeting and event spaces plus a host of conveniences and luxurious lodging and dining options. Let us help you cross all of your T's and dot your I's when you plan your next meeting, conference, or event at The Otesaga.