A successful and effective meeting may seem like an easy thing to pull-off; all you need are some chairs, tables, a computer, and screen, and you are ready to go, right? Meetings today are so much more than that and they are not just opportunities for people to be in the same place, but instead can greatly contribute to the productivity and success of your employees and ultimately your business.
A common psychological theory, called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, may seem out of place when speaking of meetings and conferences, but it is a wonderful guide to truly understanding your attendees needs and motivations, and will therefore prepare you for hosting an effective meeting. . According to Abraham Maslow, basic needs start at the bottom of the hierarchy and more complex needs are at the top, and they range from basic survival needs to self-fulfillment and personal growth. Let us now look at how the hierarchy of needs can be applied to the many facets of planning and running an event:
Physiological needs (food, water, air): The venue, food and beverage, and comfort of the accommodations are truly the basis of every successful event, and it goes without saying that without these, participants may not be involved for too long.
Safety needs (health & wellness and physical safety): Something that should always be in the back of your mind when planning an event, is what can be done to make the attendees feel supported and safe? And this may be as simple as attendees successfully arriving at the venue, guiding them through their itinerary, making sure they know where facilities are located, and maximizing time for attendees to actively participate within the meeting.
Social (networking and friendships): With everyone in one room together, a natural opportunity to network occurs, where attendees can talk about their experiences of the meeting and meet new people! Encouraging these networking opportunities by setting the room a certain way, offering a cocktail hour before dinner, or coordinating some team-building exercises, is a great way to accomplish this basic need.
Esteem (feelings of accomplishment): A well-planned and effective meeting that considers the needs of the attendees by acquiring engaging and relevant speakers, providing appropriate materials, and allowing for networking, is the best way to meet this need. Attendees will leave feeling appreciated and fulfilled when including these important details in your planning.
Self-actualization (personal growth, self-fulfillment): This final level is really acquired after the a meeting happens. Did your attendees leave feeling motivated for the future? Did they learn something along the way? Did they finally meet their co-workers in-person? All these experiences inherently bring personal growth, and by considering all that can be done to fulfill these needs, you are on track to executing a successful event.
Once you have an idea of your attendees’ desires for this meeting, the tangible needs to create a successful event should come easy! Below is a brief list of the most common items essential to a successful meeting:
- Audio Visual – high-speed wireless internet, data projector and screen, microphones, wireless advancers, adapters etc.
- Comfortable/Ergonomic Tables and Chairs
- Food and Beverage
- Flexible meeting space