A pre-con meeting is short for a "pre-conference meeting." It's a chance to gather the key players in a conference together so everyone can review their plan for executing a successful conference. This meeting usually takes place in the conference space.
Here's what you need to know about a pre-con meeting before organizing your next event.
What Is a Pre-Con Meeting?
Depending on the size of the conference, there may be dozens—even hundreds—of people responsible for the successful execution of the event. The pre-con meeting, or simply "the pre-con," is a chance for all these people to meet in one place and discuss the details for the planned event. This is a chance for vendors to ask questions, for organizers to prepare staff for any quirks, and for crews to assess the space and decide where to place tables, chairs, stages, or any other fixtures.
The pre-con meeting typically takes place a few days before the event. On the day of an event, a shorter walkthrough may refresh participants of the plan just before the doors to the conference open.
Some people may associate pre-con meetings with planning larger conferences, conventions, congresses, and incentive programs. However, it is also common to hold a pre-con meeting for seminars and other special events. Even small gatherings in a hotel conference room should be preceded by a pre-con meeting.
How Does a Pre-Con Meeting Work?
For those who may not plan frequent meetings, a pre-con meeting may seem uncomfortable or awkward at first because it may include new terms or language, such as "event resume" or "banquet event order." However, pre-con meetings are meant to smooth out any misunderstandings or unclear aspects of the event. This is your chance to ask what those terms mean, and any other questions that will improve the success of the event.
What to Expect During a Pre-Con Meeting
At the pre-con meeting, the event planner will review all final logistics for a given program with the supplier management team involved in the program.
Typically, a pre-con meeting is coordinated and scheduled by the venue’s conference services manager. For example, if your conference is being held at a hotel, that hotel will likely have an employee whose job it is to coordinate events like yours. This person will invite managers from various areas that are involved in the event to review their particular role for an event.
This is an excellent time for the meeting or event planner to establish a rapport with everyone involved.
During the pre-con, it is appropriate for the event planner to highlight some of the key objectives of the event, including important information about the organization hosting the event, key messages being conveyed at the event, and important VIPs who are expected to attend.
Review the Event Resume
An event resume details all the specifications of the event. It includes all relevant information, including dates, times, contacts, attendee profiles, emergency contacts, food and beverage, transportation, shipping information, billing, audio/visual, and other special needs.
Each department manager will review their role in the event, including relevant details and their typical operating procedures. They will also review their understanding of the event contract and information previously shared on the banquet event orders.
Meeting and event planners should remember to ask detailed questions related to the event specifications during this time, such as staffing levels and the names of key contacts from all areas represented that will be present during the actual event. Key elements of the pre-con discussion may include a review of:
- Food and beverage requirements
- Guest rooming list requirements
- Conference and trade show exhibit requirements
- Meeting room and trade show space requirements (including detailed floor plans)
- Technical requirements, such as electrical and telecommunications specifications
- Details about signage placement and other decorations
Make Last-Minute Changes
The pre-con meeting is the ideal time to make any last-minute changes. Although they may not always like it, most vendors and suppliers expect a few last-minute tweaks and substitutions—but try to keep the requests reasonable.
Of course, the extent of changes that could be considered reasonable depends on how early the pre-con is happening. If the pre-con is scheduled during a time when set-up is already in progress, consider conducting an early room inspection to make sure everything is running smoothly. That way, you'll know what changes could be made without compromising the progress that's already taken place.
- A pre-con meeting is a meeting that takes place before a conference at a convention center, hotel, or any other event space.
- The pre-con meeting provides an opportunity for all the key players and staff to review their responsibilities, goals, and expectations.
- The pre-con meeting typically takes place a few days before the event.
- This is one of the last opportunities that organizers will have to request changes before the event starts.