The bad news: your company doesn’t employ a full-time meeting planner, so you’ve been tapped to arrange a huge corporate meeting, fundraiser, outing or other event. The good news: experts are at your service, often at the facilities you’ll consider to host your event. Add to that the fact that maybe you can recruit a committee on your end to help you cover your bases, and things are starting to look up.

Now for those bases Julie Clayton, director of sales at the Newport Aquarium, advises starting with a budget and knowing the goal of the meeting. “Is it meant to be motivational or for learning?” she says. “Is it a celebration, something fun and exciting? Everything falls from that.”

“From our perspective, the very first thing we do in the pre-planning meeting is ask what’s the meeting objective, what are you trying to achieve,” echoes Mark Wallisa, general manager of the NKU METS Center. “Sometimes they have a clear idea and sometimes not.”

That’s when the experienced meeting hosts can help the clients, by asking all the questions both parties will have to be able to answer in order to have a successful meeting.

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