Designing and implementing an effective and productive event/meeting with outcomes that contribute to a larger organizational objective is essential. Whether a conference, an off-site retreat, or a tactical session, we design and facilitate meetings and events that are goal oriented, stay on task, ensure participation, and are a valuable use of time.
We also work to ensure that there are clear and actionable next steps, as well as a mechanism for follow-up on action items. We collaborate with our clients to develop specific and realistic meeting goals, and to identify participants, outcomes and deliverables. We also work with clients to ensure ample notice of meetings, explain the purpose, and communicate what is expected of each participant. We can help our clients find the best meeting location and appropriate room set-up to accomplish the meeting objectives. Once the participants are assembled, our facilitators help run an effective meeting. We are there to help reach the stated meeting goals and stay true to the schedule. As issues or conflict arise, we provide the needed coaching and direction to ensure forward progress. We also capture action items and commitments, and can develop a written record of the meeting.
Goal and Agenda Definition - We collaborate with our clients to develop specific and realistic meeting goals, and to identify participants, outcomes and deliverables. This may involve informal interviews with meeting participants. Based on these discussions, we create an agenda that will accomplish the stated goals and meet expectations.
Effective Participation - A meeting is effective only when the right people are there and contributing. We work with clients to ensure ample notice of meetings, explain the purpose, and communicate what is expected of each participant.
The Right Venue - The success of a meeting can hinge on the venue and environment. A team that is charged with developing a five year plan likely will need to assemble at an off-site location that is void of interruption and enables participants to think creatively. We team with our clients to find the best meeting location and the appropriate room set-up.
Facilitation - Once the participants are assembled, Opportunity Knocks facilitators helps run an effective meeting. We are there to help reach the stated meeting goals and stay true to the schedule. As issues or conflict arise, we provide the needed coaching and direction to ensure forward progress. We also capture action items and commitments, and can develop a written record of the meeting.
Follow-Up - While much work happens at a meeting, there usually is even more work afterwards. We help clients track action items, ensure accountability, and recommend next steps. We also can follow-up with meeting participants to evaluate meeting effectiveness.
[ back to the top ]
Examples of Strategic Meeting/Event Planning & Facilitation
Assisted in the planning, implementation, and facilitation of two integrated staff officer meetings for a region within a large federal agency. The first meeting provided an opportunity for staff officers, program managers, and directors to meet and build relationships after a near decade-long hiatus from meeting in person. Through group activities and discussions, our facilitator was able to assist the group in enhancing integration and communication among resource areas to improve the region's ability to deliver results on the ground. Workshops focused on the themes of restoration, integration, and planning, culminating in the drafting of SMART goals and action plans for continued regional success. The second meeting allowed the group to build upon the relationships and goals created during the first gathering. The goals, once again, were to enhance communication and integration, supporting the theme of One Region, One Team, One Approach. Activities were designed to efficiently address broad topics and produce tangible outcomes. Capacity tools were considered for leveraging across the region, methods to engage in meaningful communication were explored, sustainable recreation and restoration strategies were focused to improved integration, and feedback was provided on integration commitments. The group refined their goals, identified & prioritized integration activities, and identified next steps for success.
Assisted in the preparation and the facilitation of a national on-site meeting for a community of practice of resource inventory & monitoring professionals of a large federal agency. This group had not met in person in five years. The meeting was organized into seven sessions and focused on coordination, processes, and communication methods that influence monitoring development and implementation. Opportunity Knocks worked with the group's National Monitoring Coordinator to develop and refine the meeting agenda, facilitator guide, speaker presentation guidance, and virtual participation guidelines. During the meeting, our facilitator provided structure and focus, allowing for productive conversation and diverse viewpoints to be heard. She worked with the groups on change management and ways to think about working in a changing environment, moving the participants forward to meet the established goals. At the conclusion of the meeting, our facilitator prepared a meeting outcome summary document and conducted a follow-up call with the National Monitoring Coordinator to discuss outcomes, conduct after action review, and to suggest next steps. The results of this initiative were increased information sharing among the participants; increased understanding of purpose, status and expected outcomes on many levels; group exploration of numerous topics; examples of good monitoring plans and how to build on best practices; and lastly, identification of future steps and ideas for collaboration.
Organized and managed a conference and trade show for a State environmental agency/non-profit corporation that attracted over 500 attendees and 80 exhibits.
Developed a client guide that provided a framework for effective event and meeting planning.
Organized and facilitated over 50 events including meetings, staff retreats, annual meetings and training sessions for an environmental partnership organization over the course of 15 years.
Planned and facilitated a biennial summit for an engineering and environmental services firm. The three-day summit highlighted the latest technical and scientific developments with an emphasis on practical experience and solutions for remediation and redevelopment. We facilitated brainstorming sessions with the firm’s leadership team and conducted conference calls with the steering committee to garner consensus for the agenda and meeting design. Clear goals, objectives, and desired outcomes and/or products for each key plenary issue and workshop breakout were defined in consultation with the planning team and steering committee. Throughout the meeting, the Opportunity Knocks facilitator coached presenters and managed progress against the agenda to maintain meeting order and effectiveness. Engaging participants and maintaining event momentum are critical to the success of any event; therefore, facilitating question and answer sessions and promoting group conversations were important. After the event, a capstone conference call with the planning team was held to review meeting notes, discuss lessons learned, and close on the project. The summit survey results reflected high satisfaction from event participants.
Planned and facilitated the inaugural conference for a regional plant conservation partnership. The conference brought together government agencies, land managers, botanical gardens, and university programs to inform each other on best practices and topics relevant to rare plant conservation. The goal of the event was to form a cohesive network of resources to support regional efforts for at-risk plant species in the Southeastern U.S., through an integrated symposium and workshops. As this was the inaugural event, we coordinated with the stakeholder planning team to identify current and future conference objectives and understand stakeholder relationships. Once the near- and long-term goals were defined, the team facilitated stakeholder meetings to understand the current state of plant conservation in the region and identify the attainable goals for the conference. We built meeting agendas and designed technical session activities and discussions that attained the goals and objectives of the meeting. During the event, Opportunity Knocks facilitated the meeting, keeping groups on task and agenda, and assisted with onsite logistics and meeting material preparation. At the conclusion of the meeting, we summarized key outcomes and next steps for the planning team. While the networking successes were easily seen during the meeting, the efforts to support at-risk species were proven in the months after the event. With the facilitated networking across regional partners and the promotion of ongoing relationships and communications, the Southeast will continue to claim successes for the at-risk plant population.
[ back to the top ]