Tim Brown’s Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) Tips
OK, perhaps I caught your attention with this unconventional thinking...after all you're probably not considering coaching or mentoring your direct report. However, on the topic of Strategic Meeting Management (SMM) and meeting ROI, that is exactly what I am suggesting.
For those of you who report to a manager who has worked as a meeting planner, good for you, they get it. But for the majority of you who work for someone who has not played in this space, there is work to do beyond planning and executing meetings. Clearly senior management has a vision for the investment in meetings and events, but the challenge is that the higher up the company organizational chart, the better the chance this vision is blurred on what it really takes to succeed in today’s meeting management environment.
Perception vs. Reality
I have never seen a time in my long career in the meetings industry where planners are doing more with less and yet so misunderstood, I call this the Rodney Dangerfield effect...."I get no respect". When managers do not understand the meeting management process and the multiple categories of meeting value being delivered, this does not bode well for a long and prosperous career. Yes, it's a "fight or flight" situation and now it's time to be pro-active!
Communication Meeting Value
The bar has been further raised by the post recession focus on meeting value, the Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) initiative and increased expectations from senior management for improved planner productivity, cost savings, contract risk reduction and ROI.
For those of you who read my monthly SMM Tips, you've heard my reference to senior management's focus on the three P's, "people, productivity & profitability" and the need for planning teams to assure that these investments called meeting’s & events help drive management's vision. My points are validated by industry survey findings, that over 50% of CEO's and 40% of CFO's do not feel that their meeting planners are delivering meaningful ROI...truth or blurred vision?
Key Meeting Value Components To Assess
- Planning team productivity - focus on processes, systems, procedures and core competencies / time is money
- Cost savings - transparent metrics to define and measure success
- Hotel contract risk reduction / cost containment - validate specific reduced liability / mitigated damages
- Leveraged Spend – track meeting spend, by category to assure added meeting value, cost savings, risk reduction, & ROI
- Return On Objectives (ROO) - deliver / keep score on meeting stakeholder vision, goals and expectations
- Return On Event (ROE) - enhancing the overall attendee experience and learning / new skills
- Preferred Suppliers – evaluate “best in class” suppliers to assure SMM outcomes
- SMM Compliance – participation in your meeting procedures and policy is an essential metric to assure success (low participation equals low SMM performance)
- SMM Technology – streamline planning team workflow & 24/7 access to management and financial reports (including cost savings / risk reduction report, by meeting)
- Post Meeting Analysis – process to assess overall meeting results and stakeholder feedback / what was requested vs. delivered / keep score
The Shift (From Logistics To Strategic)
Whether your meeting responsibilities are enterprise-wide, within a department, division or cluster of meetings, the focus must be on Strategic Meeting Management (SMM). A carefully planned and implemented SMM can save a company 12% - 20% annually, but conduct your own needs assessment, there is no one size fits all solution.
- Shift communications to "meetings as investments"
- Understand key meeting stakeholder goals and vision for each meeting / post recap of results
- Communicate benefits of Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) / how to drive meeting value
- Create metrics to define, measure and report success
- Implement technology that delivers 24/7 data access & provide timely reports, including cost savings / risk reduction, by meeting (distribute to key managers / meeting stakeholders)
- On-going SMM analysis and outcomes / address changing & evolving needs.
Today, stakeholder management and communicating meeting value is a big part the Strategic Meetings Management process. Corporations and associations are going through significant change and planning teams must be pro-active in coaching their key managers on supporting and implementing a new meeting management model. Remember, the best way to manage change is to create it…and SMM is the perfect vehicle!