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The Post

Fail to Plan; Plan to Fail

The planning and executing of a meeting can be a very daunting task (to say the least) for someone who has never planned a meeting before, or for someone who plans only an occasional meeting or two while still trying to keep up with their day-to-day responsibilities. Failure is NOT an option. It will not speak well of you; it will not speak well of the company you represent. And, it may in fact have dire consequences to your company’s bottom line. If failure is not an option then, what do you need to do to succeed?

First, understand that it is the PROCESS or system we use to get us started that can either keep us on track or send us off the rails. In order to be successful, the process must begin with a PLAN, one that identifies and/or defines:

  • The goals and objectives and key messages you wish to convey.

  • The intended primary and secondary audiences.

  • The action items (key components or design elements) of the meeting such as but not limited to: Program Development/Content; Budget; Communication Plan, etc., and the multitude of tasks related to the actionable items.

Second, I firmly believe that planning a meeting is much more than a one-person job. As you create your PLAN, I encourage you to also do the following.

  • Surround yourself with a team of experts to share in the process.

  • Define the levels of authority by which the team will operate;

  • Come up with a task list/time line for keeping track of all tasks, deadlines and people responsible.

  • Keep everyone accountable.

  • Meet regularly.

  • Keep good notes and don’t forget or hesitate to follow up on missed assignments.

Plan to succeed. Start with a plan. The rewards will follow.

Mary Jo Wiseman, CMP | Author

The Meeting Planning Process: A Guide to Planning Successful Meetings

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