Organizing a meeting? Set yourself… and your space up for success

Organizing a meeting? Set yourself… and your space up for success

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Over the years I have been involved in many meetings, as I’m sure many of you have as well. Board meetings, fundraising meetings, planning meetings, town meetings, the list goes on and on. Some are successful and productive while others keep you watching the clock from the minute you walk in. Why does this happen? Is it the subject matter? Perhaps our mood that day?

Many times it has nothing to do with any of the above. It is something that is quite often over looked by those planning the meeting. Simply put, it’s the meeting space itself.
people meeting round table
I can think of dozens of examples of meetings that took place in too large a room for our group. This left people feeling disconnected from one another and out of place. Other times I can remember being around multiple tables scattered in a disorganized fashion when we needed to be around a single table working together. I can even recall an occasion or two walking into buildings where we were unable to find the room where our meeting was to take place.

On the flip side I always remember the meetings that I felt were well organized and thought out. Experienced meeting planners start their successful meeting before you even arrive. This begins with providing good directions helping you find your way to the meeting. Once you do reach your destination, things are well marked and labeled helping you find your meeting space. One of the nicest touches of an organized meeting is having someone greet people as they walk in to provide them with a warm welcome. A warm welcome should never be overlooked and can set the tone of the entire meeting. You may want to consider the use of creative name tags if the group is unfamiliar with each other or if there are new people joining the group.

Your meeting space should also be appropriately sized for the group you are expecting. It shouldn’t be too big, or too small, but just the right amount of space with enough room available should people want to chat before or after the meeting. We all want to feel comfortable and having a nicely sized space truly creates that feeling.

The seating in your meeting space should be well thought out and appropriate for your discussions. I recommend round tables whenever possible to encourage more open discussion and dialogue. If you are working in groups, then smaller round tables may work well. There are many different types of meetings and each require a different seating configuration. It’s important to give this some thought so you place your tables in a manner which promotes the collaboration you are looking for.

We all know it is time consuming to organize a meeting. If you want to make sure your time is well spent and your meeting is productive and enjoyable, take these extra steps to assure success. This may take a few extra minutes of your time, but you will reap the rewards and receive many compliments in the process.

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