We all know the important ingredients of a successful meeting, and depending upon which article we last read on the subject, there are usually a whole list of ‘Ps’ to consider…Purpose, Planning, Preparation, Participants (we loved the one that included Pizza!)

But, what’s really important to the success of a meeting?

We were chatting with a couple of organisers recently, and we asked what are the most important ‘on the day’ elements of a great meeting, here are a few thoughts in no particular order, and only of them begins with the letter P.

Internet. It seems so obvious, and of course it’s taken for granted that every meeting venue has free, hi-speed connectivity in every room, but surprisingly, it can still be an issue. Dead areas are a ‘pain’, and can cause real difficulties. Then there’s the reliability, loss of connection can ruin an event, so it’s really important that the service is robust, especially for meetings with large numbers of devices.

Food. Not just great lunches and dinners, but interesting snacks and break-time options, like granola bars, fresh fruit, and good quality biscuits and pastries. Even the quality of the table sweeties can cause issues, nobody wants to be struggling with a cellophane wrapper on an out of date fruit sweet, only to end up with sticky fingers and a disappointing taste.

AV. A perennial challenge for many organisers is the lack of good quality kit, but it can be even more frustrating if the equipment is fine and it won’t connect to delegate or presenter devices. What is the use of spending thousands of £s on an HD Screen if you don’t have the £10.00 lead to connect it properly?

Specialist Staff. One of the organisers that we were chatting with used the expression ‘well-meaning amateurs’, and we knew straight away what she meant. You want duty managers and conference staff that have experience in the industry, people that have seen most things, and dealt with life’s little challenges quickly, and efficiently…ideally before anyone has noticed.

Being left alone. This wasn’t a comment aimed at venues that don’t bother checking if everything is going well, it’s intended for those venues that never stop checking. As M&E professionals, meeting organisers know when, and how to communicate issues to the venue, and they will have all the relevant contacts to get in touch if, and when something is needed.

Parking. It doesn’t have to be free, it doesn’t even need to be on-site, but what organisers do want is information about where, when and how many vehicles can be parked. See also, unloading and loading of equipment.

Comfort. Let’s be honest, some days can be very long, and the last thing any delegate wants is to be too hot or too cold, neither do they want to be sat on an uncomfortable seat with bright sunshine shining in their face.

So, what are your non-negotiables for running a successful meeting, and what irksome foibles can derail even the best organised event?