Event Purpose


A clearly stated purpose of an upcoming meeting or event with an outline of what will be discussed or take place is important for those being invited to receive and understand.  If they are uncertain of the purpose and undecided about the benefits of attending, it is unlikely they will participate.  This information should be included in your earliest communications, both internally and externally.  As changes occur, updates can be distributed.


Determining overall goals and objectives


As the meeting planner and coordinator, you may or may not be involved in the actual planning of the program content and format or in setting the goals and objectives, but your role of logistical support will be a critical one.  The recommendations you make about location, venues, menus, function space set-up, etc., will have a significant impact on the success of the event and how it is perceived by those who attend and those who sponsor it.  Goals and objectives should be multi-pronged in consideration of the needs of various types of participants, such as –


Event Financial goals


The first thought is usually one of financial goals, but that goal may be simply to break even rather than make a profit, or perhaps an organization is paying all expense for employee training or a family is paying all expenses for guests at a social function.  Your responsibility will most likely be one of controlling expenses to stay within the budget or consulting with the financial officer of your organization for approval if expenses will be higher than expected or incoming revenues less than expected.  More about this in the Budgeting link below.


Sponsorship goals


If sponsors and exhibitors are to be part of your program, you will need to communicate what benefits they will realize from supporting and participating in your event and learn from them what their needs and expectations will be in order for them to commit.  This will be particularly tricky if this is a first time meeting or event.  In that case, it will be important for them to know with some degree of certainty what organizations will be represented and who will be attending.  Convincing them will be easier if you have history from earlier events and your organization is well known and respected.

Attendee goals


This will be one of the most important measurements of the success of the meeting or event.  You will want to learn all you can about the targeted audience to ensure that the setting and environment you coordinate will meet their needs and enhance the appeal of the program.  The name of the game is to have them clamoring to attend your next event or to purchase your product or to spread your message.  The time you devote to homework before you get started will save time in the long run and make it easier for you to achieve the goals and objectives of the planned activities. 

Discovering the elements that will make the audience feel comfortable and enthusiastic may be as simple as asking those in charge of the program content!  They may know the audience very well.  But if you are required to do research on your own, you will need to set aside a little more time to conduct a random survey or assign the job to a task force or committee to do it for you. 

Sample survey questions are available for you in links below.  The survey should include questions about lodging preferences as well as other arrangements if your event requires attendees to travel and stay overnight.  If you are planning a large meeting or event, it would cumbersome to survey a large number of people.  Choose a random sampling from each category of attendee that is expected to attend, such as seniors, students, sponsors, etc. so your survey will be more manageable yet still representative of each group.


Communicate what you know


Once you have the information you need about your targeted audience, you will be ready to begin selecting a venue, service providers and vendors that will help you produce the perfect event. Put together a summary of your findings in a one-page fact sheet to distribute to the key people who will be involved in producing the program.  A valuable tool, the fact sheet will create an early awareness of marketing strategies and action plans that need to be put in place and will give team leaders a head start.  As plans for the event become finalized, the fact sheet should be updated and redistributed if necessary to keep everyone in the loop and on track.   

A suggested distribution list of those who need to receive early notice of an upcoming meeting or event would include team members assigned to functions such as –

 Attendee research Program evaluation
 Budget / Finance Registration
 Communications Speakers
 Exhibitors Sponsorships
 Lodging Travel | Transportation
 Marketing | Promotion Vendors
 Program development Venues and facilities