For those of us in the know, there is actually a game called “The Meeting Design Game” in existence. Originally founded in Denmark, it provides a creative tool for meeting planners and their clients to open up discussions about an event as a whole.
Despite there being a game, the premise behind it and what behaviour it is wanting to coax out of its users can be used either with your clients, agency or internally to focus the mind when planning your meeting. The idea is to design outstanding events that will create value for both meeting owners and their participants. By incorporating “the game” it combines knowledge about meeting design with gamification, to improve the meeting planning process and make it more engaging, motivating and inspirational.
If asked, anyone thinks that they can be a meeting planner, however meeting design is that next step up. It’s where you’re really getting to the bones of what is going to make a meeting successful as well as identifying roles and tasks that need to be completed in order to achieve a big win in the success of your meeting. The idea is really to get a common understanding of how this particular meeting should be designed. Here are some tips on how to do just that.
Establish and follow your priorities
The aim is to establish which design elements are most important to make your event successful and prioritise them in order of importance to discuss. It’s easy to concentrate on the parts you know and are confident with, whereas in fact you should actually be spending more time exploring the design elements that you are not as confident with to ensure that your event has balance and is planned well.
As an agent, the key to meeting planning is to gain a common understanding of objectives and ideas to ensure that we have extensive knowledge of what is important to you when designing your meeting. This is particularly important when working with a new client or perhaps on an event that isn’t usually in your event calendar. As agents we are only as good as the information that is given to us so working in conjunction with our clients to gain that understanding is invaluable, as no one understands your brand and your event better than you. Our job then is to bring that vision to life by creating not just a meeting, but designing a memorable experience to engage your attendees.
Communicate and collaborate
The design of the event is a collaborative task. It starts with discussions about what you, as a client, wants to achieve from the meeting. What is the reason that you’re holding this meeting? What do you want your attendees to learn and achieve from the meeting? Is there a theme that needs to be incorporated into the event? This could be an overall theme or a theme that requires actual design where we would work together with our internal design team to put together theming and design concepts to bring your brand and meeting to life.
A recent example of this was working with one of our clients to create a theme for their event that was used consistently throughout the event process. This included an initial design for all internal communication about the event itself which then flowed into the event day with similar design elements being incorporated into registration, venue branding, lanyards, production set and PowerPoint presentations. The theme itself was prominent throughout the event tying in guest speakers, workshops and entertainment.
By doing this the event was given an identity; from the initial attendee correspondence, through the duration of the event and beyond. This allows attendees to buy in more to your event, particularly when there are many different elements to the day, ensuring that the event flows from start to finish rather than feeling disjointed.
It’s often good to question yourselves as a client whether you share enough information with your chosen agency when meeting planning. The reason I say this is there are often nuggets of information that are crucially important to an agent when meeting planning that can make a large impact on how we put together our proposal and make suggestions as to how we design your event overall. However, because it’s your event and you understand the objectives and expectations of the event it’s often easy to assume that it’s information that doesn’t need to be shared.
Another key to meeting design is being creative. Plan your meeting with the aim of being different whilst bringing an element of personal development to your meeting. Remember that attendees should leave your meeting with not only information about your company or chosen topic, but also with something that they can apply to their own job or life and develop personally. Incorporating this into your meeting design is what is going to make you stand out from the rest.
To summarise, as for how to win at the Meeting Design Game – well really there is no overall winner. There are only successful, well designed events where both agency, client, stakeholders and attendees leave having achieved their goals. This can only be done by meticulous meeting planning and excellent communication between all parties at all stages pre, during and post event
About the Author
Sarah Hill is an avid blogger and creative content writer at Group7events, a leading conference organisers and professional meeting planner in London, delivering global free venue finding service. She is a writer by day and a reader by night. While not writing she loves to share her time with family and friends.
Written by: Guest Author