I just finished a busy few months leading up to our Board of Directors meeting and it went very smoothly. I love it when things fall into place, but that doesn't happen without a lot of planning.
To get ready the first thing I do is populate my to-do list with the tasks I need to do leading up to the event. I go through my checklist of what I will need to bring to the venue, anything I need to remember to include in the meeting package and just about anything that doesn't fit goes on my catchall list. I prepare meeting templates for all the meetings I will need to take minutes at and fill it in as much as possible beforehand from the agenda. Having meeting templates is such a timesaver, even though it does take a few minutes to create each time, but well worth the effort. For those who have never tried it, the meeting template is just your agenda, turned into a minute template. You know what items you will be dealing with, so you can pre-populate the minute template and then it is just a matter of filling in any discussion, action items and/or motions.
Once I have done all that, I can then feel confident and prepared -- because I am! It's not magic, although I find the better you organize the more people think it was easy and seem to think it just all happened, which is the furthest thing from the truth. It should get easier though -- or should I say, when it is better organized, you will be more prepared and therefore more confident that you have not missed anything. My definition of a successful event is when it goes smoothly without a hitch. Or if there is a glitch, it is fixed quickly and professionally.
My boss is very appreciative no matter how easy things seem to go, which is very nice, but not always the case. I have been told by various friends of mine that they are not always acknowledged or get noticed for the efforts they take to make things they organize a success. It is not that they want the recognition, but a pat on the back certainly goes a long way to making you want to make the next event even better.
If you are a boss and something your assistant organized goes very smoothly, please recognize that it didn't just "happen", but that your assistant just made it look that way by being prepared.
Also, if you are not the only one working on a project or event, don't forget to acknowledge the team effort, as it takes many pieces to make the whole thing work. You may have done the bulk of it, but without the little things getting done, your job would have been harder so don't forget to say thanks.
Now onto the next meeting...