Meeting planners need to think
well beyond having microphones and rear projection that
works when considering the communications requirements
for their event.
While it is essential that technology
is perfect during the conference, much of the value
of the event lies in the informal discussions of delegates
and it is therefore essential that social events be
designed with this in mind.
At pre-function drinks, street
theatre characters can be used to engage people who
might be on their own and provide a focus for shared
A shared platter of antipasta for
a first course is a good ice-breaker at the start of
a formal dinner. This is followed by a plated meal and
a dessert buffet.
The dessert buffet means that dietary
requirements can be met; people can choose cheese and
fruit as an alternative and it also gives them a chance
to move around and pick up conversation at other tables.
Also, if there's dancing, there no uneaten desserts
all over the tables.
If there is to be loud music at
any point of the evening, there should also be a dedicated
quiet lounge area where people can talk without having
to compete with the band.
Good signage is essential at large
functions and transfers back to conference hotels should
commence within 30 minutes of the end of the meal service.
.After dinner speakers should be
limited to 20 minutes maximum with a further 10 minutes
in hand if there's strong audience interest. All speakers
need to be clearly advised as to the maximum length
of their presentations and made aware of their place
in the running sheet.