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May 22, 2023

Five Tips for Planning A Convening without Hiccups

The professional services Converge provides to our clients often have a convening component, whether it is a strategic planning committee meeting, a retreat to build consensus, or a coalition meeting with leaders from different organizations. The importance of these convenings cannot be underestimated, because they are the space for strategizing and thought partnership. 

Converge’s consultants excel at convening development because they bring both the expertise of equity-based facilitation and strategic partnership into the space. It is often suggested that event planners have clear objectives and a detailed plan; however, consultants at Converge offer a few practical tips that can ensure a successful and fruitful engagement:

  1. Contingency Plans A, B, and C: Unforeseen circumstances may happen when people convene in a space, especially in person. The team should always be prepared for unplanned challenges. By creating contingency plans, one can strive to meet people where they are. This requires a great level of adaptability and flexibility.
  2. Spread Out the Thought Partnership: Engage with a committee of thought leaders and assign them key roles to drive the direction of the event and add depth to it. 
  3. Debrief and Redesign: There should always be an immediate debrief with the full team so that fresh perspectives and reflections can be documented. For a multi-day convening, it is especially important to debrief for the purpose of revising or redesigning the agenda for the next day.
  4. Menus Matter: Food choices are important for the convening experience. People bond over sharing good food together. It is an equitable procurement practice to seek out BIPOC-owned catering businesses (if they are available in your area) that cater and elevate local heritage through food-making. You also need to gather information about participants’ dietary restrictions.
  5. Build Enough Mingle Time: Always build enough unprogrammed time for building personal and organic connections. If necessary, arrange seating and furniture to create a warm and welcoming environment for people to socialize. This time for socializing will always be time well spent because that is when a sense of community is created.

These tips can guide you to adopt a proactive and organized approach in planning a convening so that you can minimize hiccups and ensure a successful event. Converge shares an Event Production Checklist as a free resource. Being adaptable and resourceful will help you to navigate these situations and still deliver a transformative event experience for participants. 


Through our Convening Development service line, Converge facilitates strategic collaboration and builds values-centered leaders to mobilize action. We do so through the creation and implementation of large single or multi-day in-person/virtual convenings, retreats, team-building sessions, workshops and training. Converge-facilitated convenings help clients engage with local communities through deep listening, real-time learning, and two-way conversations. Our convening service also helps clients build up their network by connecting with key stakeholders in the field of racial justice. For more information, contact us at [email protected]