6 Tips for Building Consensus on Meeting and Event Planning Teams

ConsensusUnless a meeting or event is very small, meeting planning and successful execution are team efforts, so arriving at consensus about key event design elements is vital. The importance of consensus for meeting and event planning teams applies whether one is planning a meeting, conference, corporate event, private event, or family event.

While it is often assumed that weddings, private and family events are less complex to plan that corporate events, due to the complex relationships involved, they can be even more demanding. (Just watch an episode of Party Mamas or Bridezillas to see wedding and private event planners experience.)

Rushing to arrive at consensus and important details will be missed or the best creative ideas may never surface. Spending too much time building consensus and the execution phase will be short-circuited and rushed.

Here are 6 tips for striking a balance:

  1. Determine who is on the event team.
    This is usually fairly obvious for conferences and other corporate events but, sometimes, the role of key players is overlooked and plans get derailed at the last minute if they were not consulted.

    With respect to family and private events, a frank discussion is important. Some family members may prefer to keep things simple and involve only immediate family in the planning. Others, may want to involve extended family and even close family friends. One thing is certain, the more players are involved the more challenging it will be to reach consensus.
     
  2. Share your vision of the event.
    This step is often skipped. A clue that key players have a different vision for the event is that decisions that some individuals perceive as a "slam dunk" are dragging on and on. (Examples include venue selection and choice of a caterer.)
  3. Hit the pause button.
    Discuss and come to an agreement on:
    • who is to be involved in planning the event
    • roles and responsibilities
    • who is to be involved in making decisions
    • how decisions are to be made
    • the type of event each individual envisions (e.g. formal vs casual)
    • types of venues preferred
    • types of catering preferred
       
    If anyone has strong objections to a course of action, better to scuttle it than have them derail the event later. Save the idea for another event.
     
  4. Set a rough budget and where it will come from.
    For family events, who who will contribute, how much will be contributed and timing for contributions. Expect sticker shock from team members and family members who are not usually involved in event planning. They will likely have no idea of what things cost.
     
  5. Come to an agreement on the country, city, and area of town in which the event will take place.
     
  6. Use our brainstorming tools, brainstorming tactics,  and decision-making tools if it is difficult to reach consensus and the group is getting bogged down.
     

Arriving at consensus isn't always easy but, to ensure buy-in and cooperation from all key players and smooth execution of events, it is essential.

Photo Credit: HORANCapitalAdv

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