Strategic Meetings Management (SMMP) can be an never-ending process, but it is one that brings many opportunities.
When you are staring numerous tasks in the face, it can be daunting, and many of us in the industry do not know where to start. Even though the very definition of "strategic" is stated by Miriam Webster as "an art of devising plans or stratagems toward a goal", one usually asks - what are my first steps to making these so called "plans?”
No matter what your organization may be, or how your meetings program is specifically structured, approaching your meetings with these key components are sure to help you on your journey.
1. Data Matters - Collect It
Collecting data is so important to any Strategic Meetings Management process. I can't tell you how many times I've witnessed a crucial decision came down to an evaluation of data sets. If you have been collecting data on your meetings, then you are on the right track.
On the other hand, some organizations try to dismiss the fact that data is important. I would caution this approach by stating that lacking data on your program can slow down its success even to the point of becoming stagnant. Without data, it is difficult to foresee your next steps and the steps you do take won’t be on solid ground.
2. Always Evaluate
Regardless if you are obtaining data or not, planners should always be evaluating our meetings programs for their importance, quality, and overall condition. I've found that creating set times to run specific reports for insight into my programs helps me understand how things are going at each meeting. Taking a look at evaluations, where meetings are happening, and what is being spent on meetings programs can help you find places where you can influence changes.
3. Show your Results
Showing off can be very valuable to you. It is very important to present your results to others, particularly those that you report to. Having proof of where your program succeeds will help your leaders support your program and champion your efforts. Showing your leadership that some programs are struggling will also help your leaders support necessary change. They can also have specific conversations with those you might not have a seat at the table with to drive improvement quickly. If you haven't showcased your results, you might want to consider doing so as it might give you the boost of importance in your organization that you deserve.
4. Revise Your Plan
Sometimes, your data results highlight specific areas of growth that can alter the fundamental direction in which you operate. If that is the case, consider it a blessing and use the opportunity to change course if needed. Make sure to take note of these intended changes in writing, and write out the necessary steps that you will take.
Remember, revising your plan shouldn't be considered a failure, rather, an opportunity to update and reposition your program for greater successes. Don't forget to share your revisions with your team, stakeholders, or others that will help push the process forward.
5. Celebrate Milestones
Finally, always always celebrate even the smallest milestones! Having an SMMP can be a daunting process, and not all targets are easily met. If you celebrate the small wins along the way, it will help you remember and keep focused on your goal.
Cheers to you and your SMMP!
About the Author: Naomi Tucker, CMP is Past President of MPI Wisconsin Chapter, and Sr. Strategic Account Manager at Meetings & Incentives Worldwide, Inc. She has more than twenty years of experience planning meetings and events, and loves to write about her learnings in this industry at her personal blog, Plan It on a Post-It. When she’s not planning or writing about events, Naomi enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and getting lost in a good book.