Going the extra mile for a meeting

In Meeting Magic we talk about ‘going the extra mile’ to ensure that a meeting is successful. This week, we have been tested to see whether we really will walk the talk.

My personal test was getting to a meeting yesterday in London. You may well be aware of the Tube strike in London yesterday and today. To add to this mayhem, Chiltern Trains, in their infinate wisdom, decided to cancel a number of their overland train services. This meant I travelled into London on a train, packed like I haven’t experienced since my days of backpacking round Africa. On arrival at Marylebone station I then had a one hour wait for a taxi, to take me to my meeting. All the great preparation I had done for my meeting was marred by the bad impression I created by arriving, late and flustered.

Today’s adventure involved two cars parked in the road that I live in, so that no cars could get through. So, today I resorted to pedal power! The first time I have cycled to a client meeting.

However, the prize for the person who has surmounted the most problems to get to meeting this week, must go to my colleague Craig. He was facilitating a meeting in Amsterdam and this is the tale of his journey…

“My flight to Amsterdam was cancelled at 17:30 yesterday evening. I checked all options and the only way to get there was via Brussels, landing at 23:30. I got this flight (which was delayed a further 40mins), and then had to get a taxi to Eindhoven which took 2 hrs. To add to the “experience”, the taxi driver couldn’t find his car in the car park, and then couldn’t work out how to use his new TomTom! I got to bed at 2:30 am in the morning, got up at 6:00 am to set the room up and then facilitated a full day meeting.”

I think this does qualify as going the extra mile 🙂

All of this goes to remind me of how important the logistics of a meeting are. If the logistics run well, you are unlikely to get many thanks for it, but when they don’t go well, you really pay the price. Making sure your travel arrangements are robust, ensuring the participants have sufficient information to find the venue, making sure the room you are in is big enough to accommodate the size of group, and type of work you are doing… these are all the basics you need in place, before you even start to facilitate.