Recap: What Worked and Didn't Work in 2010Event meeting services organizations dealt with reduced budgets and less staff while still trying to keep their meetings high caliber. So what worked and what didn’t? Here are three meeting professionals prospective on what worked and what didn’t in 2010.

Didn’t Work: Let’s have a meeting because you always had one.
Worked: Setting an agenda with a clear purpose. “Every meeting should have a clear purpose and desired outcome. This should drive the agenda, who is invited, how the meeting is structured, and even down to the seating arrangements.” said Karen Cornelius, President of KLC Associates. “Be clear in your agenda. Give specific goals and outcomes,” said Shona Garner of Shona Garner Coaching Services.

Didn’t Work: Trying to cram everything, including the kitchen sink, into one meeting.
Worked: Having a refined agenda including objectives. What are your goals of the meeting? To inform, educate, problem solve, or ask your attendees to make a decision? The more knowledgeable, you are about what you want to communicate and why, will lead to a better event. “Meetings need to have a clear purpose and the participants need to understand what that purpose is.” said Randy Webb, Principal at Enterprise Performance Partners, LLC.

Didn’t Work: Talking at your participants.
Worked: Engaging your participants in the process. 2010 was the year of the mobile applications. It became common for an event planners to rent iPads, rent Tablet PCs, and wireless audience response systems. All with the purpose and intent of engaging the audience better through interactive applications. “When participants are fully engaged in the meeting, the higher their level of commitment to decisions, actions, and other outcomes of the meeting.” said Karen Cornelius.

Didn’t Work: Trying to rush through your Powerpoint Presentation.
Worked: Having fewer slides with fewer words per slide. A great speaker allows time for the audience to process the message. They use the powerpoint presentation equipment to augment the agenda topic, not be the agenda topic.

Didn’t work: Setting up the room in theater style or U-Shape.
Worked: Putting attendees in rounds or boardroom setting. These settings automatically create a networking environment and if the participants are using interactive technology tool rentals it creates a setting where they can assist each other with this technology.

Didn’t work: No feedback or paper evaluations at the meeting.
Worked: Creative ways to get feedback. Asking people to use their mobile phones, iPads, laptop computers to complete online surveys and having a chance to win a wonderful prize worked. Asking them for their feedback while they are in the meeting is even better because the thoughts they have are fresh. Using audience response rentals is one way to easily capture the audiences thoughts. “The purpose is to share comments on the meeting and any open concerns,” said Webb.

Bottom Line: A well thought out agenda with desirable outcomes and objectives are key to a successful event. This does not cost you money but it does take time and buy in. Engaging your audience with the key message is important and catering to their seating arrangements is also important. Providing your audience with interactive tools so they can learn, interact, and give timely feedback is very important as you look to 2011.

Looking for an event services company?  AV Event Solutions can partner with you to make your next corporate meeting or event a success!