Conference meetings can be the staple of running a business. Not only are they a great way to potentially bring in new sponsors or investors, but they also help everyone touch-base after a period of time. A business that chooses to host a meeting without thought to the time and location, however, will find that the meetings aren’t nearly as effective as they could be. Consider some of these tips when deciding the best time of year to plan a meeting.
You shouldn’t plan to have your meeting six months away. It should actually be longer than that. Why? Because meetings require you to find a venue, to hire a caterer, to hire a tech company that can install powerful WIFI in the venue center, and to ensure that you can hire a speaker and other meeting necessities. That takes time. It also means that other people are going to be looking to hire those people, too. The sooner you plan for that meeting, the more likely you are to obtain the people, venue, caterer, and other services of your choice that you need to host a powerful meeting.
Most companies typically schedule their meetings for the month of September and October. It makes sense since this is the end of the summer. Summer work hours are over. People are back from vacation. Children are heading back to school. Everyone is available to attend a meeting. However, because most businesses lock-in on that September and October month, you’re in substantial competition on booking your meeting at the same venue.
A venue that is coveted among businesses will be sold out over time. This is especially true if you prefer to host your meeting on a weekend or after-hours. Besides the venue, you’ll also face competition over speakers. Meetings with speakers are more effective. It can bring some credibility to a meeting. For those who are also using the meeting to bring in sponsors and investors, having a speaker can make their business appear more professional. However, that speaker might be booked for other meetings if you don’t plan enough ahead.
There’s also the tech to consider. Most meetings require some form of working WIFI to showcase PowerPoints and other presentations. You want to hire a tech company that can provide fast and reliable internet for that meeting. Other companies will want the same. If someone grabs that company before you do, then you may have to settle for a company that doesn’t provide as great as WIFI. You might struggle with WIFI drops and even outages. That won’t impress the sponsors and investors that you’re attempting to sell your business to.
When it comes to planning, you should instead plan ahead 10-12 months. You’ll have everything that you need by the time the meeting comes around, so you won’t have to worry nearly as much.
Another important part of scheduling a meeting is the budget. On the one side, you need to make sure that your budget is prepared to cover the expenses of the meeting. The sooner and longer that you plan, the better your budget can support all of your needs.
Secondly, there’s the budget of sponsors and investors that you should consider. Most organizations do their budget planning at the beginning of the new year. To ensure your business is fresh in their mind, plan a meeting for somewhere in August-October.