“You’ll never FIND until you DEFINE”
“Have you communicated?”
These two quotes have helped to guide me in life and business. As a meeting planner or event manager, I can complain all day about not having, not accomplishing and people not following. But the question remains, did I define what the final picture looks like and have I communicated that to the rest of the world or do I just think I did?
For a meeting planning company or an event planning company such as ours, defining and communicating are our bread and butter. When planning an event, clear definitions of what the desired result is and how we should get there is the foundation of our process. We work with our clients to find out what they want and then whittle it down into bite-size pieces to communicate to the world what their next Excellent Meeting is going to look like and why they should be there.
Our process of creating a meeting’s objectives begins with a couple of simple questions. These questions help us to determine what our meeting is “going to look like” and ultimately help us create a path to get there. We are going to ask some simple questions any good journalist would ask when reporting on a topic. In the process, we find out what the meeting’s priorities and goal really are. With these goals and objectives in play, in the end we’ll know if we hit the mark at the end of the meeting.
Questions to ask in defining meeting objectives
Why are we meeting? What is the purpose of the meeting, conference, event, breakout, banquet, etc…?
- Is it to inform and educate?
- To inspire and/or motivate?
- To network?
- To make money?
- The association by-laws require it?
Who are the attendees?
- Establish who you are inviting to your meeting. Are the attendees of your event members, employees, customers, suppliers, spouses and children?
In the process of answering these questions, we will also ask some of the other “W” questions that a good journalist will ask when investigating a story. We’ll determine the when and the where as well as the potential size of the meeting.
The answers to the previous questions can now be summed up into an objective statement that can be used to communicate to the world (and your planning team) just what your meeting should look like and what your goals are.
I did a quick Google search and found some samples – here is one:
Our goal is to provide health practitioners with an understanding of the central role of nutrition in health and healing. To provide a scientific basis for the integration of nutrition and medicine in order to practice preventive and therapeutic nutritional medicine.
It is clear who is coming to this event and what they hope to accomplish. Your meeting objectives should, too.
At Excellent Meetings, our meeting planners use these objectives in the meeting’s promotional material and we will add some other helpful information as well.
Who should attend
What you will learn
Who you will meet
When you provide clear objectives for your meeting or conference and then communicate them to your team, the world and everyone will be singing from the same page.