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Great content, inspiring speakers, the best venue, top notch catering and ofcourse the perfect moderator … they are all worthless when the event is poorly designed.
Only when every element of the meeting is designed with care, when the timing is spot-on and when the build-up is effective, only then the objective of an event can be met.
Your professional moderator also is an experienced meeting designer, looking at your meeting from the interaction & engagement perspective. Your moderator can assist you in making a true connection!

When designing a meeting, you need to focus on a number of interconnected elements. In this article, we share the most important ones (according to us).
In a series of posts, we’ll dive into them in more depth, one by one.

In random order, great meeting design is about:

If you don’t know why your organise the event, any program is useless to begin with.
defining your objective is more then “inform, inspire, network”. Its about measurable actions leading to real change.
You need to define an objective for the full event ánd for any part in it.

Target group
Who is in the (virtual) room? Or even better: who do you want to be in the room? Only when the program suits them like a glove, there will be real impact

The meeting doesn’t start when the moderator says ‘Good morning’. It allready does when people enter the venue; or even when they receive the ‘save the date’. That’s where you lay the foundation for a succesful event.

The first moments af any meeting are crucial en should therefor be designed with care. In the first minutes (or even seconds) you do the coding for the entire event and you mould the group into a temporary tribe.

Many events consist of rather standardised blocks of roughly the same lenght. In a well-designed program, every block has the exact lenght that it needs.

Build up
Every element in the program should get the position where it has maximum impact on the end result of the meeting. You need to consider the relation to the element right before and after
By consistently taking the right step towards the objective, you get a natural flow.

Participants journey
A participant participates best, when he feels that everything is about him and when he feels safe. Everyone want to be seen, heard and loved. A great meeting design makes this happen, tailored by target group.

Work formats
Speakers are the default option for transferring information, insight and inspiration. Yet, they are not always the most effective way to do so and many alternative formats are available.

The number of interaction formats is endless: from stage to participants, or amongst participants; online, on stage or hybrid. To network, help each other, get to the heart of problems, share information and so on. To bring energy, connect people, digest learnings, set things in motion, …
You have a choice of format, groupsize, group composition. Forr every part of the program, you choose the format that’s most effective.

Final act
A well designed meeting has a well designed end. Too many meetings just fade out instead of celebrating, empowering or implementing accomplishments.

The choice of venue is crucial to setting the right mood. This is about style, dressing, seating etc.

On top of live meetings, we now have an array of options to choose from: online, hybride, multihub. And you can thinks of endless cross-over formats. The most effective event is the one finding the perfect mix.

Your objective will only be met, if you manage to create the right ambiance. For every step of the way, you need to define tone, pace and style.

An effective meeting design brings balance: send -receive, action – contemplation, structure – chaos, serious – lighthearted, think – do, just to mention a few. And just as important: every balance needs tob e unbalanced once in a while.

Sound, light, projection etc.: they can bring your event to a next level. Sometimes you need to be minimalist about them. Everything is possible, as long as you make contious choices.

A voting system, networkapp or more sophisticated interaction platform should be more than just a gadget. Use them for a reason, choose them with care.

Who do you need behind the scenes? What role should they play and what do they add to the value of the day?

An effective meeting design is more than just ligning up a few speakers; much more! A well designed event is designed into detail and there’s time and effort invested in doing so.

Jan-Jaap In der Maur

Picture by Halacious on Unsplash

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