A Meeting Time Line (sometimes referred to as a “task list”) is a time sensitive document and an integral component of the Meeting Planning Process that identifies:
The list of tasks that must be done during the meeting planning process.
The people responsible for carrying out each task.
The deadlines by which all tasks must be completed.
If you are working on a long-running repeat program, you will undoubtedly already have a Meeting Time Line in place and will only need to revise dates and assignments and add/delete or change tasks to reflect any program variations.
If you are working on a new project, the Meeting Time Line would be created in conjunction with what I refer to as the Overall Plan, the document that defines program goals, objectives and key messages, the audience the program is designed to serve and the action items that need to be addressed.
Action Items are key components or design elements within the Overall Plan from which tasks and deadlines follow. Typical Action Items for a corporate meeting or event might include the following.
Marketing Communication Plan
Speakers/Speaker Support … and many more (as defined in my book)
When developing the Overall Plan, it helps to think of action items in terms of the order in which they need to be addressed in the planning process so you do not put the cart before the horse. For instance, you need to know what your meeting room requirements are before you book the hotel to ensure that the venue can accommodate your group.
Tasks are the details within the action items that must be identified and accomplished within a specific time frame by a person or group. For instance, under Design/Planning Team you might see tasks such as these. (NOTE: The people responsible for and the deadlines for accomplishing the tasks would be added to the actual document.)
Define purpose of the Design/Planning Team.
Select Design/Planning Team members.
Outline individual responsibilities and levels of authority.
Developing a Meeting Time Line is tantamount to ensuring the successful execution of a meeting and helps to ensure that people assigned to tasks are held accountable. It helps you as a team leader keep your planning team on track, on task and on time.
A sample Meeting Time Line template is included in my book “The Meeting Planning Process: A Guide to Planning Successful Meetings.” I used Microsoft WORD to create my Meeting Time Line, but it can easily be converted to Excel. There are many other programs available to help you capture and track the information; it’s really up to an individual’s preference. It’s the content that matters most. There are some tasks that just can’t be ignored or done out of order if YOU want to insure the success of your meeting.
The primary purpose in writing my book was to provide a tool for me to share what I’ve learned with others. I hope you found this blog post helpful and that you’ll continue to follow me to LEARN more.