In event production, there is no room for error, and meetings are often full of minute details pertaining to the production. By efficiently conducting meetings and recording their results, the possibility for error is significantly reduced. Recorded meeting minutes and decisions can also help in providing specifics should any contractual disputes arise at a later date either with suppliers or with clients.
Although far from an exhaustive list, the following tips are essential to running an effective meeting.
- Deal with the most important agenda items first. Too often, the items requiring key decisions are left until the end of a meeting when everyone is tired and ready to leave. Key items should be discussed when people are the most energized. For example, leave a decision about green room amenities to the end but put a key discussion about multimedia content at the beginning.
- Follow Robert’s Rules of Order for more efficiency. US Army Major Henry Martyn Robert first wrote this now world-famous book in 1876 after presiding over a church meeting and discovering that delegates from different areas of the country did not agree about proper procedure. It is bar none the best and most widely used guide in existence to running orderly meetings, yet amazingly, few people who chair meetings on a frequent basis are aware of many of the key rules. Every producer should have a copy.
- Set time limits for each agenda item. This forces attendees to be aware of the time allowed.
- Limit discussion to one statement per attendee until all others who want to, have had a say. This, in more detail, is one of the essential points of Robert’s Rules of Order. It is the best way to stop a meeting from getting out of hand.
- Have attendees address all discussion and questions through the Chairperson to reduce the possibility of heated arguments and of personality conflicts interfering with the conduct of the meeting. This is also a key Robert’s rule.
- Sum up each agenda item, clearly establish any action required, name the person responsible for the action, set a target date for the action to be completed, vote on the decision if necessary, and record the results.
Following these simple suggestions will have you looking super-organized and in control, essential traits of a good event producer.