After a short introductory conversaton, many of my prospective Vistage members search for additional information about the commitments and obligations that go along with being part of a high performing Vistage group – maybe one of the reasons you’re reading this now. One of the top questions I get is: Where are Vistage meetings held?
Vistage members rotate hosting arrangements for monthly meetings and this participation is important to the success of the group. For most groups, members are expected to host one meeting per year, either at their place of business or at a conference/hotel location of their choice. While some groups may choose to meet at the same location every month, other groups may wish to move it around. Hosting consists of providing a conference room with internet access as well as food, beverages and snacks for the day. Also, at some point during the meeting, the host gives a 30-45 minute in-depth presentation/overview of the business. This may or may not include a facility tour.
Here’s how it works. Prior to the meeting, the host (or his/her assistant) will coordinate with the group Chair to confirm the number of attendees, both members and guests. This will assist with food, seating and handout requirements. On the day of the meeting it is very helpful to have a designated contact person available since the Chair will need to arrive early for set up. It is also appreciated when the host can arrive early to assist with any unforeseen issues that might arise. The host then personally welcomes arriving members, speaker and any guests.
The following information will give you more specifics as to what’s expected when hosting:
The room could be a company boardroom or training room or in a hotel/golf club/private club or any civic organization which offers quality surroundings. The room must be private, with heating and air-conditioning control, and needs to be large enough for all of the members, Chair, speaker and perhaps some guests. Whenever possible, the room should be set up in a u-shape configuration but if that’s not possible, a large conference table is fine. The Chair and speaker will need an easel and flip-chart paper. Internet access is welcomed and appreciated. Windows are always a plus.
Food and beverages:
Ice water and glasses (or bottled water) should be set up at the table and available for each person throughout the day.
Breakfast – Juice, coffee, tea. Breakfast items could include bagels, pastries, muffins, fruit, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, granola or cereal bars – depending on what you like and how much you want to spend.
Lunch – Lunch could be a luncheon buffet, with one luncheon selection for all or assorted sandwiches/salads. Or, a lunch menu could be provided in the morning to allow for individual selections. Some hosts choose to provide a lunch selection that sets them apart from others like some great, local Chinese food or BBQ – something other than traditional sandwiches and chips. Provide assorted soft drinks, iced tea and water with lunch.
Afternoon snacks – Delight the group with some tasty snacks about mid-afternoon! This could range from decadent brownies and cookies to pretzels, salted nuts or trail mix. Again, it’s totally up to you. Hot and cold beverages should also be offered at this time.
The host presentation should start with a brief, personal history and then give an overall view of the company including ownership, description of products/services, differentiators, financial performance and strategic objectives.The host may wish to provide samples or demos of the product and/or may want to lead the group in a facility tour. Depending on the type of business, other areas to be covered could include operations, management structure, market challenges, etc. There will be a brief Q & A discussion following the presentation. Typically, agendas allow 45 minutes for the presentation.
So there you have it. Hosting a Vistage meeting is a great way to share the pride you have in your business. It also gives group members an opportunity to better understand and discuss the strategic challenges and opportunities you’re facing.