Want to make your meeting more successful?
Help your meeting participants visualize its purpose and objectives before they arrive.
It sounds so simple. Yet it is one of the most overlooked steps in conference and meeting planning.
Meetings Start In Our Minds
Your meeting starts in the imagination of your attendees. Regardless if it is a convention, workshop, webinar, staff meeting or volunteer committee meeting, it begins in your participants’ minds.
That process starts way before the meeting. Participants have a conversation with their self asking the Ws about the event:
- Why am I attending?
- What’s in it for me?
- What’s expected of me?
- Who else is going?
- Why should I care?
- When will it be over?
Meeting Hallucinations Of Our Minds
Imagining the purpose of your meeting happens in the privacy of your participants’ imagination.
What those participants imagine — the purpose, their tasks, their involvement, the expectations of others — frames their perceptions and attitudes about your event.
If the participants are confused or can’t imagine the meeting benefiting them, the meeting will be unproductive. If they don’t know why they are attending, they will waste valuable time trying to understand its purpose.
Similarly, the participants are limited by their life experiences and exposures. We project what we have experienced onto what we doing. If past meetings have been detrimental, attendees arrive with the same expectations.
We live within the hallucination of our minds. And your meeting lives in the mirage in your participants’ imagination.
Focus On Creating A Spark Of Purpose
The first and most important step in meeting success is a spark of purpose.
To ensure success of your meeting, help participants visualize the meeting’s purpose and objectives, before they arrive. With every communication about the meeting, use some imagery to help frame the purpose. Using appropriate imagery invites your participants to have a conversation with themselves about the meeting’s purpose.
Here’s an example: XYZ Association’s Annual Meeting is like the state fair. There’s something for everyone. From entertainment to exhibits to celebrations to learning experiences, it’s four days packed with fun, information, learning opportunities and networking. Come experience the greatest show in the world.
Participants will then craft a personal story about the potential of the meeting and their role in it. Then they start imagining their investment in your meeting.
Your Meeting Starts Between The Ears
It’s your job to help participants understand the purpose of your meeting. It all begins in their imaginations.
You can’t control their thinking. You can help guide it. And you can help frame your meeting’s purpose and your participants’ involvement.
How would answer the following question: My meeting is like a _____________________. Why are meeting metaphors such powerful tools?
Marga Groot Zwaaftink says
It also helps: try to think of 3 reasons that your potential delegate tells his/her manager why he/she needs to go to this event. “Hi, I received this invitation and really think that it would by usefull to me and the rest of the team to participate, because:
1. (for example) it will provide us with tools to write a business plan for our new product
2. (for example) I will meet other delegate and speakers who already gone the road, we want to go and get advice.
3. (for example) …..
Jan-Jaap In der Maur/Dagvoorzitter.nl says
Great posting. Doing this, it will force many organiser to really think his goals over.
A great way to achieve getting between attendants ears is in social media: it can help make an inventarisation beforehand and help attendants help ‘get in the mood’ just before the meeting.
Jeff Hurt says
Great point: think of 3 reasons why the attendee should attend the event that he/she can share with their manager. That’s a great marketing tip too. Thanks for sharing and reading.
I really like your idea that social media can help the attendee get in the mood before the event. Thanks for adding that one and thanks for reading and commenting too.