The 13 Ps for Perfect Meetings

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You know of our love for alliteration (see the penultimate section) – and checklists!  Combining the two, you have had the 7Ps…now the 13Ps to help you perfect the planning for important meetings and events (the investment depends on how important they are and their scale):

1. Personal skills: what can you do (and what can’t you manage)…fill this self-assessment in on the basis of events you have led.
2. Personal preferences: think of great large events you have been to (from festivals and weddings to work ones)…what made them special?
3. Past: What is the context, history and story so far for this meeting?
4. Purpose: questions, aims, outcomes….what is the unique purpose?
5. Potential risks: what possible problems might there be…where might it go horribly wrong?
6. Pre-ordained: What is given by any leaders…what is non-negotiable? What must you do (or not to do)? What is your freedom to decide?
7. People: Thinking of participants, who is coming (or who would you like to come)?
8. Place: What is the venue, date, day of the week…what are the logistical options, costs and fixed points? How can you work around what you have if not ideal? See this for seating and other options.
9. Pre–work: what sort of survey, interviews or vox pop would research the range of opinion efficiently and clearly? Do you need to do more work searching for speakers, consultants, a better venue and thinking of how you use social media as a design team?
10. Principles: What is the style of the event you (or if working with others, the design team or leaders) want? How much of the meeting should be familiar – and how fresh would you like the experience to be? What is the degree of fixed structure and/or open flexibility you are looking to provide?
11. Process: Only now come to the agenda including online elements and connections – resist the urge to jump to here at the start!
12. Practice: what new elements are important to rehearse; are there any speakers to prep?
13. Post-event: What sort of record, gift or keeping in touch strategy do you want…plan this from the start (like how the best hospitals plan discharge – from the moment someone knows they will need to be admitted!)

In leading this planning work, especially for large meetings, try to get the triangle right in combining and balancing the views of senior leaders and staff and the potential (and barriers) the venue presents.

Good Luck!!

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