Friday, March 17, 2006

Speeddating for Managers

How to organize a meeting between 600 people ?

-Paris this week-
When I started to attend the 'Journees de la Presse' in France a few years ago I was confronted with a simple but efficient system to bring 600 people together in 1 day.

- The organizer (NMPP) rents a conference room in a 5 star hotel.
- The organizer divides his contacts up in two groups: 'receivers' and 'guests'.
- The conference room will be filled with tables for 4 people.
- The tables are nicely positioned in 'rows' and 'columns'.
- All 'rows' receive (a bit as in chess) a number. All 'columns' receive a letter.
- Numbers and letters are put on big signs along the conference room.
- 'Receivers' are invited to take place at the tables for a day.
- 'Guests' are invited to walk around and 'visit' the receivers following a tight schedule of 30 minute meetings.

The only thing 'guests' and 'receivers' have to do is organize their meetings before the actual meeting day. This sometimes involves intricate puzzling by the secretaries of all managers present.

An interesting side effect of this kind of very structured event are the unofficial meetings that tend to grow outside the official conference room. This kind of event can also be a moneymaker for the organizer. It is not unusual for the organizer to actually 'rent' his tables to the 'receivers' and asks income from the 'guests'.

Left: This sign gives an overview of all the 'recievers' and their code to indicate their position in the conference room. The sign is posted at the entrance of the conference room + it is printed in the conference catalogue.