Setting an Agenda for the Meeting
With an internal company meeting the main agenda will often be set by the company, after all, they will know why the meeting has been called. However they may not know how to handle the time management of the meeting or conference in a detailed way. That's when an experienced conference organiser can step in and help with the plan.
Worked ExampleLet's take as an example a project kick-off meeting, where you might have a couple of hundred people attending from different business units and quite possible from outside contractors or partners who are helping out with the project. Quite often these will run for a day or two and have a variety of different sessions and events.
Obviously a lot of time will be spent on working out the aims of the project and how to plan it. But the people in charge will probably want to get some element of team building into the conference, getting team members to build relationships that will help communication across boundaries as the project progresses.
So a detailed agenda will need to be drawn up which has enough time for team work exercises, project plan sessions, and perhaps some free time where people can get to know one another outside the pressures of work. All this will need time management to make sure that there's enough of everything to go around.
Find Out Who's Really in ChargeWhatever the purpose of the meeting you will need to get direction from the company holding it. Talk to the people who you are working with but also make sure that you talk to other, possibly hidden, decision makers.
This is one of the toughest parts of making a plan for a company meeting, making sure that you find everyone who has an opinion on what the meeting is for, how it should be run and what form it should take.
Work Up a PlanOnce you are clear on that, set out a dummy agenda using standard time management tactics. Allow contingency times for people to be late, set the breaks for coffee and tea so that sessions are broken up to prevent them dragging on. It's normal to offer four sessions through a day with a reasonable time set aside for lunch, although you can fit six in if you are able to use the evenings.
If you have sessions that require feedback from the participants and perhaps even analysis of that feedback before coming back on it, then get those sessions out of the way early on in the agenda. This will allow time for the analysis and collation before reporting back in whatever form the company would like to see.
Build in Time at the EndIt is good time management practice to allow for an early finish on the day that the meeting ends as people will be anxious to get back home. What ever time you set as the finish time on that last day you can guarantee that people will push to finish.
So build in a few sessions that can be shrunk or dismissed altogether if necessary, then everyone can get away a little bit earlier and that creates a good feeling too. Do this in conjunction with the decision makers from the company holding the meeting.