Invitational Meetings are important. They can be the first impression that is made on Potential New Members (PNMs) and can leave them feeling either unsure or excited about joining. That’s why we’re focusing on the Invitation Meeting to support our Chapters in knocking it out of the park!
If you haven’t already, watch the PNM POV video. When National Staff created this video, we faced the same obstacles you do concerning set up. The first steps we took were to find an ideal date/time and then reserve the room.
When we arrived in the room, this is how we found it. Check out what ran through our heads:
- The chairs had already been set up in this fashion. We knew that we didn’t need this many chairs (too many chairs will make your event seem under attended) and they weren’t set up how we wanted them.
- Some of the chairs were a little dirty or scratched up. Even though they belong to the school, we want to show our best by using the best chairs/furniture available.
- The room was big and there was a lot of empty space in the room. Too much room will cause people to spread out and decrease interaction.
- The screen was not down and the needed technology was not available.
- All of the tables were up in the front and, over all, the room wasn’t set up how we wanted it to be.
So, how did we solve this? We arrived early. No matter how many instructions you give your school’s tech/events department, always anticipate having to set up the room. Arriving early allows you time to ensure that everything is in place and 100% ready by the time PNMs start arriving (which could be as early as 15 minutes before the start time).
Now check out how the room looked after we set it up:
- Unnecessary and damaged chairs were removed. We set them up in neat lines close to the screen.
- We closed off the room by using the divider. See how much cosier it looks now? If your room doesn’t have dividers, try using tables or just don’t use the whole room.
- Tables with various Phi Sigma Pi swag and information were set up. This allows the creation of discussion between PNMs and Members.
- The snack table was arranged. Nobody wants to eat in front of a group of people… make sure the snacks are set up in the back of the room. If you decide to set out the snacks after the meeting to promote mingling, at least set out water at the beginning.
- The first thing your PNMs should see is the sign-in table. Set it up right next to the door so you can collect the contact information of everyone who attends your meeting.
- Put the screen down and have a welcoming slide up. You could even create a slideshow of photos for PNMs to view that could create conversation.
- Move away anything that is not needed or could cause a distraction. Our presenter in the video decided not to use the podium so we moved it out of the way and to the side.
Executing a successful Invitational Meeting takes time and effort. It’s not all about what you say, but how your Chapter presents itself. Remember that we are a professional organization and we should be presenting ourselves in that way through the setup of our events.
In the next couple of weeks we will be diving deeper into different aspects of the Invitational Meeting so that by the end, you’ll be an Invitational Meeting pro!