SMU International Spotlight: Meeting Success Happens Before the Meeting

Event management expert and SMU International presenter Gregg Talley shares his thoughts on the origin of a meeting's success.  


From March 24-26, Northstar Meeting Group's SMU International will be taking place in New York City. This unique affair serves as the premier global destination event where planners and suppliers will join together for meetings, networking and expert education. Industry peers will have the chance to engage in a relaxed business environment to discover new international venues and enjoy targeted industry education.

Leading up to the event, Northstar highlighting the expertise of our SMU presenters. The following meeting planning article is contributed by Gregg Talley, FASAE, CAE, president and CEO of Talley Management Group Inc., along with his TMG team.  

Talley is a full-service association management company. The company provides a range of client solutions tailored to fit the needs of individual associations and professional societies. This includes specific program management such as membership or events, or the traditional full-service running of the organization.


Meeting Success Happens Before the Meeting Starts

At the end of each work day, many leave the office or shut down their laptops thinking, “What did I accomplish today?” or “Was I productive enough?” One thing that cuts into how productive someone was that day is meetings. Yes, they are absolutely 100 percent needed; they are where we share ideas, collaborate, make decisions and come together as a group to update one another on the many things our teams juggle on a daily basis. What is not needed is a meeting where time is wasted because of preventable reasons.

I have to admit, it can be great to hear the leader of a meeting tell attendees that the agenda was completed and that we’re able to end early, and usually is a representation of the productiveness of the meeting.  

It’s estimated that more than 11 million business meetings take place daily and can take up 37 percent of an average employee’s working hours. If the meeting has action items and positive outcomes, it’s time well spent; but if the meeting was partially absorbed by trying to restart a laptop or waiting for latecomers, it’s wasted time and money.

At tally, we’ve done a lot to make sure our meetings are productive before they start, so the precious time of our teams -- both internal and our volunteers -- is respected and used well.

Agendas are Circulated Before the Meeting

Ask for feedback or additional items that need to be addressed. This cuts down on time being added at the end of the meeting for unplanned discussions and missed opportunities to go over topics that are important to someone on the team.

Be Connected

Send out the dial-in information and login information if it applies ahead of the meeting so you aren’t bombarded with emails asking for it as you’re trying to get set up. If possible, use the same information each time so it can easily be added to reoccurring appointments.

Test Your Technologies 

All of our rooms are "smart rooms," equipped with both audio and visual equipment, making participation easy for anyone from wherever they are. There are step-by-step manuals in each room explaining how to set everything up from a personal device or by using the equipment in the room. If something is being presented or anyone needs to dial-in, we do a test run at least 15 minutes prior to starting to ensure everything is ready, and if there is a hiccup, we can engage our tech team to help us out.

Sometimes You Need Backup

Things happen-the power goes out, a circuit blows, the telephone line goes dead -- no matter how early you arrive to prep for your meeting, there are some things that are just out of your control. Have a plan B ready to go, even if that means resorting to the good-old-fashion use of handouts.

Beginning a meeting in an organized way can prevent it from getting off course, while discouraging attendees to catch-up on their social media news feed. 

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Gregg Talley, president and CEO of Talley Management Group Inc. and speaker at SMU International

Gregg H. Talley, CAE, FASAE, president and CEO of Talley Management Group Inc., has more than 30 years in the association/event management industry. He has managed hundreds of events globally for associations, societies and corporations in an array of industries, including health care, education, technology and finance. He has planned one of the largest convention events in North America, the 50,000+ attendee International Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous. With Talley Management Group, which he co-founded in 1987 with his father, Robert K. Talley, he also organized the World Meeting of Families as part of the Papal Visit to Philadelphia in 2015. A past national chair of the Professional Convention Management Association and its Education Foundation, Gregg currently sits on the International Section Council of the American Society of Association Executives and is a board member for the meetings management sector of the International Congress and Convention Association.

SMU International takes place later this month. Gregg Talley will participate in agenda items such as an expert panel discussion regarding perspectives on the global meetings industry. For more information on this can't-miss event, click here.