When you are choosing a venue for your company’s annual general meeting, here’s some venue advice based on my experience.
A typical meeting room is functional, but can lack impact and excitement.
Think about selecting a location with some pizzazz or significance for your organization rather than going with boring hotel meeting rooms. It can be very effective to have a funky or offbeat location.
In addition to conventional spaces, I’ve done annual meetings in an unfinished floor of an office building (with a construction theme), in the lobby of an architecturally unique office tower, and in a three-storey public atrium of a university building. All of these were very effective – but they did present challenges in terms of light and sound control and security.
No matter what kind of meeting room facility you choose, functionality should be your prime consideration. Some things to think about:
- Is there access to a sound system?
- Is there a projector and the ability to control lighting for your slides/video/flash presentations?
- Are there dedicated phone lines and web connectivity for webcast? This is critical.
- What audio/visual resources and technical support does the venue have and what will you have to bring in?
- Is there enough room for seating all your anticipated guests, including reserved seating for VIPs?
- Is there space for a reception area?
- Do you need room for a display?
- Do you require a room for a board of directors meeting?
- Will you be faced with competing noises or distractions that may interfere with your meeting?
- Is there in-house catering or will you have to bring refreshments in?
- Will you have access for set up and rehearsal as well as for the event?
- Can the venue be secured once all the equipment is set up?
- Do you require parking?
- Is the venue accessible by foot or public transit?
- Do you require handicap access?
- Do you need to be near a hotel for visiting attendees?
In addition to these considerations, you will need to have a good relationship and support from the meeting room manager. When I tried for days to book a viewing of a potential venue without luck, and the contact person finally returned my call two hours after the visiting executive got on a plane and went home, I knew this was not the kind of support I was looking for. That venue was crossed off the list.
Finally, plan ahead. Depending on where you are located you may need to book a venue as much as a year in advance to get the location you desire.