Could there really be a more visible measure of your ability
than organising a business event? On the face of it there are
dozens of things that could go wrong, but with a little careful
planning your event will run smoothly and your delegates will
be mightily impressed.
First off, you need to know exactly what’s required from the
event and who’s going to be attending. Try to set a meeting
with the meeting leader (or at least with their PA) to run
through the basic requirements. This will give you a good
overview of what’s required. Is it a simple routine Board
meeting or an away day event? Is it a client presentation or
maybe a product launch? Perhaps its a sales meeting or a major
From this you can start to think about the type of venue
required, as well as catering, presentation equipment, size of
space required and so forth. Furthermore, if you’ve been handed
a conference lasting days and involving hundreds, it might be a
good idea to go straight to the nearest conference organiser or
venue and get their specialist help. However you tackle the
planning of your meeting or conference, ask yourself these
How many people will be attending?
Is the meeting a Board meeting for 5 people, or a larger
corporate affair? And will everyone be there in person or do
you need to think about audio or video conferencing?
In-house venue or external venue?
This is important. Does your meeting leader want to meet on
company premises or elsewhere? If in-house do you have the
resources to cope? If external is there a preferred
Where are delegates coming from?
This may help you decide on a location. Is there somewhere
that’s accessible to all - maybe a major city with good travel
links or somewhere close to an airport? Meeting on “neutral
ground” may well serve the meeting well as a democratic
Will accommodation be required?
If delegates are coming a long way, or if the event runs for a
number of days you’re going to need accommodation. This is
crucial to your choice of venue and to your budgets - so
quantify this carefully at the start.
What equipment will be needed?
Maybe it’ll just be simple power supply and Wi-Fi access for
laptops; but if it’s a presentation you might well need digital
projectors, screens, laptop interfaces, sound and even video
conferencing. Sort this out early and have a definitive list,
as it’s important to cover all the bases. If you’re planning an
in-house event talk to your IT team early - and if you’re
looking outside use your list to help select your supplier.
What about catering?
Teas and coffees should be straightforward. For food, remember
to check for special dietary requirements (especially where
international participants are involved as certain foods may
What’s your budget?
Having scoped out the various key requirements you can ask the
meeting leader to set a budget. This at least puts you in the
right ballpark when planning the event.
Okay, so what next?
You now have your plan, so which venue should you choose?
Broadly, you have a choice of hotels, conference facilities and
business centres - or staying in-house. In-house will be fine
for routine meetings, but if it’s an event that’s maybe
confidential or where distractions aren’t welcome - or because
they’re too large for your own facilities to cope with - look
As a rule of thumb, choose a hotel or conference centre for
events which involve more than 80 people, including those
involving accommodation and banqueting. By doing so you’ll have
everything you need in one place. For events up to 80 people
however, think about using a quality business centre. These are
prime located and are business premises designed with business
people in mind. Standards of visitor hosting are very high in
quality business centres, and offer certain advantages over
hotels. Firstly, your delegates won’t have to battle through
hordes of tourists to reach reception and sign in.
Then there are the facilities themselves. Meeting rooms tend to
be purpose built and offer sophisticated high tech AV, Wi-Fi
and IT facilities as standard. You’ll also have secretarial
back up if you need it and the some centres have Wi-Fi equipped
break out areas you can use. Services such as catering are also
available and you can generally choose from a range of room
sizes and layouts to best suit your event. And because these
business centres service meetings daily, it means you enjoy a
great service at a very competitive price.
Of course not all business centres are the same, so use your
checklist to make sure they offer exactly what you want. Visit
beforehand if you can - and ask if they’ll provide an event
coordinator free of charge. Finally, watch out for the extras
when budgeting. Some centres have the “hotel mini-bar”
syndrome, charging exorbitant prices for small extras, such as
By following these simple steps you can plan an event that
offers excellent value for money and will pass by smoothly on
December 7, 2007
Back to Top