Maximize Your Meeting Budget: A Checklist

checklistWhen it’s time to plan your company’s annual sales meeting or other educational meeting, large or small, it’s important to get the most bang for your buck.  Yet, many managers are cautious about their meeting and event budgets since the meeting scandals over the past couple of years hit the national news.  And rightly so. Every penny spent on your meeting or event should be used to accomplish a specific, measurable goal.

Does that surprise you?  It shouldn’t.  The focus on meeting and event ROI is the difference between hiring a logistical planner and working with a strategic meeting designer.  Both should be capable of handling the logistical details, but only a strategic meeting designer offers the business acumen and insight to help your company achieve its strategic vision and goals within a specific budget.

Checklist

Ask yourself:

1. Are all the stakeholders in agreement about the strategic goals of the meeting?

You can’t quantify your goals if you can’t agree on them.  Make sure that key leaders within your company share the same vision for the meeting and you have consensus on your goals.

2. Have you written the goals down?

Heads nod around the conference table and everyone is in agreement on the goals for the meeting.  Later, when the conference plan is circulated, everyone is at loggerheads again.  Why?  Because no one wrote down the goals the leadership team agreed upon.  Write them down and distribute to all committee members!

3. Are your goals manageable?

Too many goals are unmanageable.  Ideally, have no more than three or four goals for your meeting.  More than that and you are probably trying to accomplish too much or your vision for the meeting isn’t focused enough.  You may need to go back to the drawing board to winnow down the goals.

4. Do the goals support the company’s overall strategy?

Your conference or event goals should support the company’s overall business strategy.  If they don’t, there is misalignment between your meeting and your business; a major problem that must be corrected before you proceed.

5. Have you developed key messages to relate throughout the meeting?

Once the goals are in place, developing key messages to achieve each goal should be easy.  If not, review your goals to ensure they are clear and specific.

How Are These Questions Related to Budgets?

At first glance, you may question how these five tasks relate to a conference, meeting or event budget.  After all, what does agreeing upon the vision and goals a meeting have to do with saving money on lodging, food and beverages?

  • If you agree on the vision, goals and key messages, you can design an effective format and agenda focused specifically on achieving your goals
  • The meeting format determines your choices of venue, entertainment, and activities
  • A focused agenda eliminates activities and expenditures that don’t further your goals
  • Focus and purpose leads to clear choices about who needs to attend and who doesn’t; reducing expenditures on unnecessary attendees
  • Finally, clear goals can be measured.  After the meeting, you can measure the investment you made on the meeting and the return on your investment

Equinox Creative can help you plan strategic meetings, conferences and events with an eye on the ROI.  Call us at 952-893-1293 to discuss your strategic meeting planning needs.

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