Meetings

Is Your Meeting Ready for a Move?

By / Sep 1, 2017 (Robert Daly/OJO Images/Getty Images Plus)

Moving is one of the more stressful things a person can do, but some of the questions you ask yourself during a move can also be good ones to ask about your meetings and events.

As I write this post, it’s only been a few days since I moved to a new place. While I’m happy to have it behind me, I’ll be even happier once everything is unpacked. But as I’ve been purging, organizing, packing, and now slowly unpacking over the past week or two, I’ve asked myself questions that may also be helpful to associations when thinking about meetings and events.

“Should I Get Rid of This?”

I probably asked myself this question more than a hundred times—and mostly while standing in my closet. I know the common rule of thumb is to get rid of anything that you haven’t worn in the past year, but sometimes that is just hard to stick to. While I justified keeping one sweater I hadn’t worn in more than a year by telling myself it was a mild winter last year and there just wasn’t reason for it, I did end up donating three bags of clothes and another full of shoes and accessories.

During this whole process, I learned two lessons. First, I had accumulated things that I didn’t even know I was accumulating. And, second, I had some things I didn’t remember owning, which means I definitely didn’t need them.

Now consider this question in regard to meeting and events. Is your association keeping elements of its meetings around just because they’ve always been included? Are you still offering an education format that was once considered trendy or cutting-edge but now feels outdated or overdone? If so, you should think seriously about purging them from the conference schedule.

“What Can’t I Live Without?”

Just as important as considering what you can purge is thinking about what you can’t live without. For me, it’s my book collection. No matter how hard I try, I can never cut it back. This time I pulled two or three books out of a box to donate—and then I repacked them 15 minutes later. They make me happy, and I realized that they make a place feel like home to me.

Think about the elements that make your attendees feel “at home” at your conferences. Once you identify them, you probably want to keep those in place just to ensure that continuity year after year.

“Is This Change for the Better?”

Although moving is stressful, the result is usually better—whether that means you have more space, a better location, good amenities, or something else you were looking for. For me, the only real downside to my move is a slightly longer commute. So the change is definitely good.

While this may sound overly simple, before you make any changes—small or large—to your meetings and events, consider whether they are for the better. And remember not to mistake early discomfort for a bad decision. After all, it takes time to adjust to change and get used to new surroundings.

What other takeaways or lessons do you have from moving that could apply to meeting planning? Please share in the comments.

Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editorial director of Associations Now. More »

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