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A Meeting Planning Checklist for the Busy Administrative Assistant

May 10, 2015

Your boss just called or stepped out of their office and asked you to plan a company-wide meeting to take place in 60 days. While you have often planned smaller meetings on-site, this is going to be much larger and require the use of an outside venue.

Since you plan these types of event rather infrequently, what are you to do?

Take a breath – because I am going to walk you, step-by-step, the actions to take.

PLANNING CHECKLIST

 

  1. Call a meeting with your boss to go over the following questions.

    Don’t guess or assume you know the answers. I would recommend you write out his or her responses and sent it back to them for validation after the meeting concludes.
     
    1. How many people will be at this meeting?
    2. How long will it be?
    3. Do you want food and beverages? If so, what type and how much am I authorized to spend?
    4. How many speakers will be presenting? Who are they?
    5. Do you have an overall budget for this event?
       
  2. Contact all the speakers and find out their AV requirements.

    Are they using PowerPoint or not? If they are using PowerPoint, make certain they send you their slides 7-10 days before the meeting. Whether you are loading the presentations yourself, or an AV professional does it for you, this is a huge time saver because all the presentations will be cued up in a row.

    If the presenter wants to bring their own laptop to connect with the LCD projector, I highly advise against that. Different technologies do not work the same; especially with screen resolution and optimization.

     
  3. Once you have the answers, now you can send out a simple Request for Proposal (RFP).  

    Be sure to include:
     
    1. The date and time
    2. Number of attendees
    3. Number of overnight stays (if any)
    4. What type of food and beverages you are looking for
    5. AV and computer equipment required and
    6. Type of room set up you want

      I would suggest you send out at least 3 but no more than 10 RFPs, because remember you need to review and analyze them. Give the venue at least 3 business days to turn it around, if you want good, quality responses.
       
  4.  Once you have narrowed it down to 1-3 vendors, take time to go to the property.

    It is important that you meet with the staff, see the meeting room and even taste the food. You need to be assured that everything will run smoothly the day of the event.
     
  5. Get everything in writing and review the document several times before signing.

    Whatever it is, whether it securing the venue, working with the caterer or renting audio visual equipment, make certain you get everything in writing. Read the contract language very carefully and question what you don’t understand. If it seems rather complicated, have your legal department review it.
     
  6. On the day of the event, arrive several hours early.

    Make it part of the contract that the AV vendor, caterer and presenters need to be onsite at least 2 hours before your meeting. You want to make certain that you have plenty of time for set up and testing.

When you take these six steps, your event is sure to shine and you will be able to smile and relax because you know you dotted all your i’s and crossed all your t’s!

De-de Mulligan has been an active blogger since 2009 She has been published in Social Media Today, Tech Patio, Evvnt, MPI Ohio’s DEFINE magazine, Crain’s Cleveland Business and Crain’s New York Business. 

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