There is a thing I have been wondering a lot about lately. A thing that I truly believe is a problem within the meetings and events industry. What is it, you say? Well, it is the fact that in most large organizations, meetings and events are not on the agenda at C-level.
In most of the organizations and companies that I know, meetings and events is a task that is carried out in the appropriate department – be it Marketing, Events, Training & Education or anything like that. The key word here being TASK. For meetings and events is not a task (well, it is for those of us who work in this field). It is big business and branding, and it can make or break an organization or company.
Where is the management?
In my opinion, meetings and events are simply too important and too expensive not to be a part of the company’s strategy.
I know! You do establish a purpose for your event (see the article ‘Meeting booker vs. meeting planner’ if you want to know more about purpose for events), but that is not enough, since that is a purpose (and maybe KPI) for that specific event. You need to include the event in your company’s overall strategy since each event has an impact on your brand.
And what do you want this impact to be? Or, should I rather say: What does the management want this impact to be? For most of the people I know in this business juggle with this on their own. This means that decisions are made by people who are brilliant at their job as an event person, but who doesn’t know the connection between the event itself and the company strategy – who doesn’t have the right competences for those strategic decisions (like I wrote about in the article ‘Education, education, education’)…and who shouldn’t have these competences, because that is a job for the C-suite.
Meeting and events brought to C-level
I believe there are many benefits to bringing meetings and events up to C-level. The most important is making executives aware of the impact that meetings and events have on a company – and I am not only thinking about the money spent on an event (they are probably aware of that impact to the budget).
No, what I am thinking about is making the C-level executives aware of how you can use the investment in a meeting or event to create a bigger return on investment for the company by optimizing the events you hold. Using strategic tools like experience design for your event portfolio to increase learning and motivation at your events will future-proof then and ensure return on objectives for the participants.
Another benefit of creating an awareness at C-level is that it will help create a culture of respect around the work within meetings and events.
Many event people are met with questions like “Oh, so you are a party planner” when they tell somebody that they work in events. But corporate and organizational events can be huge and with big budgets – they aren’t just nice little projects that the marketing coordinator can have fun with when she is not busy making ads.
This way, we can hopefully start up a culture around focusing on meetings and events instead of just focusing on fulfilling a strategy.
Shout out to C-level executives: Are you ready?