Tim Brown: The Strategic Perspective

The Meetings Industry as Viewed From the C-Suite

Leveraging Partnerships for Maximum Meeting Value

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The Power of We is actually the title of a thoughtful book written by Jonathan M. Tisch, chairman at the Loews Hotel Corporation. No, this is not a book review or an effort to promote Loews. I have never met Tisch, but I do have a high regard for his hotel company, industry leadership and being one of our industry's brightest thinkers. What I am attempting to do is to use his book title and apply partnership principles to the meeting industry, with a focus on strategic meetings management (SMM) outcomes. The term "partnership" is one of our industry's biggest buzz words, so hang in with me while I try to connect the dots on a useful application as you manage forward.

Achieving (and Exceeding) Expectations

Let’s face it, post-recession, expectations by senior management are off the chart and this has only been ramped up, by the intense industry focus on strategic meetings management. SMM is changing the way that planners plan and execute meetings and how hoteliers and suppliers sell and deliver service, so it's safe to say that we all have to rethink the overall planning, collaboration and value based partnership process.

Corporate and association planning teams are now focused on big picture organizational goals and reinventing their meeting management strategies and processes to assure more meeting value and ROI. This includes a careful meeting needs assessment process, with feedback from internal and external meeting stakeholders, including specific metrics to define, measure, benchmark and report success...when playing in the SMM space, the bar only goes up!

Start at the Top

As you look up the latter, senior managers must provide the big picture framework and expectations that will allow you to start the meeting design process and allow you determine what people, resources and content are needed to assure success. It is important to point out, that when communicating with senior management, the focus is not on planning and logistics "speak", but on how  these investments called meetings can achieve their vision. It helps to build your business acumen and understand how your organization works, evaluate the company website, annual report and any strategic initiatives announced by the organization. Most planners do not report to a senior manager, so their direct report must help gather this critical information and be part of the solution too.

Connecting the Stakeholder Dots

We've all heard the saying "it takes a village" and this is clearly the case in meeting management. Look around your organization (up, down, and sideways) and determine how big and wide your stakeholder and collaborative network is. It is important to know who can actively participate with ideas, direction, support and decisions to help drive high impact  meeting outcomes. In today's value centric environment, it is a must to place an emphasis on collaboration and strategic planning.

Understanding all stakeholder objectives for each meeting is essential. This is called return on objectives (ROO) and it is important to create a post report detailing specifically what was requested, by stakeholder and what was delivered (yes, keep score). Additionally, identify everyone with their hands (or fingerprints) on the meeting management and support process and bring them into the conversation and hold them accountable to deliver on their piece of the puzzle. This includes full and part time planners, administrative staff, departments (accounting, HR, marketing, technology, etc.) and all outside suppliers. Everyone must understand the overall goals and their specific role and expectations for each meeting. 

Conclusions

Yes, "the power of we" is essential in today's strategic meetings management (SMM) landscape. Meetings are big investments and when planners "rally the troops" and get everyone pulling the rope together, they can expect high impact results. So have a game plan for each meeting and raise the bar on the planning, communications and collaboration process with all internal and external stakeholders and assure that all expectations are clearly understood. Monitor results, make timely decisions and manage people and expectations at every phase of the process. Conduct a post meeting analysis and make specific recommendations that can be incorporated into future meetings.

And what's the payout, you ask? Think goal setting & goal getting, improved team productivity, added meeting value, cost savings, contract risk reduction, enhanced attendee experience and learning and ROI. All these will have a big impact on your organization....and your career!

A Happy 'New You' Year

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Don't read anything into my Strategic Perspective topic, as I am sure that there is nothing wrong with the "current you." My thinking here is based on several corporate and association meeting planner surveys and focus group feedback, where most planners expressed the interest and need to be more strategic, including validating success to meeting stakeholders. OK, I get it, clearly post-recession; there are increased expectations by senior management for improved planner productivity and ROI. Today, planners and their supplier partners must raise the bar on measurable meeting value, including metrics to define, measure and report success.

The Shift From Logistics to Strategic

The primary driver of this shift in thinking is the introduction of the strategic meetings management (SMM) initiative, and the need for planners and suppliers to move beyond a logistics mind set. The industry definition of SMM is: “strategic meetings management is a disciplined approach to managing enterprise-wide meeting and event activities, processes, suppliers and data in order to achieve measurable business objectives that align with an organization’s strategic goals/vision, and delivers value in the form of quantitative savings, risk mitigation, and service quality.”

 Meeting planners generally operate in one of the following areas:

Centralized – a meetings and event department is responsible for enterprise wide meeting and event planning and execution/spend management

Decentralized – full and part-time meeting planners within organizational departments plan and manage their own meetings and events/seldom report savings, risk, value

Clustered – key groups of meeting managers within a department support internal and external planners and track the meeting activity that they are directly involved in.

Outsourced Preferred Supplier Program – key elements of strategic meeting management are outsourced to preferred third party suppliers and take advantage of specialized services and volume buying.

Whether your meeting management responsibilities are enterprise-wide, within a division, department or a cluster of select meetings, strategic meetings management is your road map to success. Since there is no "one size fits all" solution, it is important to conduct a meeting activity needs assessment and create your own action plan. 

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Back to my point on "the shift", of course logistics and flawless meeting and event execution is still essential, but not enough in this valuecentric environment. Corporate and association planning teams are now working hard to get their arms (and minds) around a new "value and accountability" business model. Senior managers now expect meetings and events to produce business results and the good news is that the resources and technology exist to make this happen.

The key to success in today's SMM landscape is an on-going evaluation your overall meeting management processes, systems and post meeting analysis of outcomes and value generated (and reported). In addition to understanding your meeting activity components, and spend, by category, SMM areas to assess include:

Planner Productivity - current systems, processes and procedures, templates, workflow efficiencies and focus on core competencies

Stakeholder Communications - focus on all meeting stakeholder goals, objectives and expectations / post meeting review of what was requested and delivered (keep score)

RFP / Sourcing - hotel / GSO database, e-RFP's / proposals, budgets, side by side cost analysis and meeting space evaluation 

Hotel Contracts - custom contract process that assures risk reduction / cost containment

Preferred Suppliers - outsource strategy / evaluate of "best in class" suppliers to take advantage of a specialized service and assure SMM outcomes

Attendee Communications - specific methods to engage attendees at every phase of meeting, communications, including social media, learning strategies, survey feedback to gage shifts in perception and new skills

On-Site Management / Logistics – operations, logistics and communications action plan, including role and responsibilities of planning teams, hotel departments and outside suppliers 

Compliance - meeting policy and procedure compliance is an important metric to assure success (low participation equals low SMM results). Evaluate training, online tutorials, FAQ’s and help desk support

Technology - evaluate current technology tools and resources and what is needed to drive SMM reporting (24/7 data access). Communications to management and stakeholders, including a cost savings / risk reduction report, by meeting

Conclusions

Perhaps you have been sitting on the sidelines considering an SMM plan, or you may have implemented SMM components and want to conduct an audit, to assure maximum SMM performance and measurable value. The best way to manage change is to create it and periodically "re-inventing yourself" is just part of change management. Yes, strategic meetings management is changing the way that planners plan and execute meetings and the time is now to do your needs assessment and incorporate new valued based strategies that will have a big impact on your organization....and career!!

For a complimentary copy of Tim's "Meeting Value and ROI Analysis", contact him at tbrown@meetingsites.net

Meeting Value: What Lens Are You Looking Through?

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I have been blessed to have been immersed in the meeting and hospitality industry for my entire career, so I know something about change and how it impacts the way meeting planners plan and execute meetings and how hoteliers and suppliers sell and deliver service. Sometimes change is subtle, like trends in hotel contract terms, or attendee communications. Other times it's drastic, like a deep recession that turns our industry upside down.

All this leads to my real focus, which is the cumulative impact of change and the state of where we are today, which is a full court focus on measurable meeting value. I think we can all agree that the definition of meeting value and specific metrics to validate success is changing. Why you ask? Because there are more meeting stakeholders involved in the overall meeting management process, each with his or her expectations for outcomes and value. 

Of course, the introduction of the strategic meetings managementinitiative and the great recession helped fast track the intense focus on meeting value. The most important role for a meeting planner today is understanding each stakeholder's expectations and vision for meeting value (yes, even if it's blurred)!

Managing Expectations

At one of my SMM workshops, I asked the attendees (corporate and association planners) to draw a circle in the center of their notepads, with their name in it, and draw lines upward, with the names of internal meeting stakeholders and line downward with the names of supplier stakeholders (hotel departments, suppliers). Most had four to six internal stakeholders and six to eight suppliers...that's a lot of "expectations management" (and psychology).

Let's face it, meeting value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder and in today's strategic meetings management environment, this is where the rubber hits the road. Most planners have limited access to senior management, but since SMM buy-in at the top is essential to assure success, let me start here. Senior managers are focused on big picture company initiatives that drive productivity and profitability, so the shift is from planning and logistics "speak" to how these investments called meetings and events can achieve specific goals is critical. 

Beyond the Value of a Dollar

Now if you are dealing with the CFO or procurement, clearly there will be a big focus on cost savings and your metrics are tied to an umbrella of cost savings components, thus the need for a cost savings report for each meeting.  I always feel compelled to point out that while cost savings is important; it's not enough in today's value centric climate. This brings me back to my point, for the need to understand the objectives of each stakeholder and determining the best formula to measure and report value. 

We all want to squeeze more dollars to the bottom line, but if you playing in the SMM space, there are more meeting value dots to connect. 

Key Meeting Value Components

• Cost Savings: Transparent metrics to validate all cost savings components is essential and be prepared to defend your math. As an example, calculate sleeping room and suite savings from discounted group rates, not rack rates. Create a cost savings report for each meetings, from your negotiations plan and countersigned contract.

• Planner Productivity: Time is money and time well managed improves business results. Communicate your workflow efficiencies, systems, processes and procedures that allow you and team to do “more with less".

• Added Meeting Value: Value added concessions and negotiated hotel and supplier support services that improve overall meeting quality, service and meeting impact.

• Hotel Contract Risk Reduction: This has become an important metric and demonstrating negotiated contract risk reduction and cost containment measures is a must. The best way to do this is via a custom hotel contract, ready for signature, versus a contract addendum. Create a risk reduction/cost containment report from each countersigned contract. 

• Stakeholder Objectives: This is a top priority. This is called return on objectives (ROO) and the key is identifying goals and objectives, by stakeholder and providing a post meeting report (what was requested versus what was delivered).

• Return On Event (attendee experience/learning): Think of ROI as a financial metric and return on event (ROE) as enhanced learning and skills. Creating the right learning environment is essential and understanding adult learning and interactive communications methods are an important part of the ROE equation. Pre and post surveys will validate shifts in attendee perceptions, attitudes, behaviors and skills.

•Meeting Data/Leveraged Spend: Quick access to meeting activity and spend data will boost both cost savings and drive strategic decisions that have a big impact on your meetings. The right technology drives meeting and financial reporting to validate overall success.

Conclusions

Strategic meetings management is here to stay, so kicking off 2013 with a new meeting value Action Plan is the perfect addition to your "to do" list.

I had some interesting feedback on an earlier analysis that I shared on these pages titled, "Coaching Your Boss", where I suggested the need for meeting planner's to "coach and mentor" their manager's and key stakeholders on strategic meetings managementand the new era of expanded meeting value, leveraged spend and value reporting. Well, I am sticking with it! 

Meetings are big investments and today, corporate and association planning teams must focus on the needs and expectations of each stakeholder and create specific metrics to define, measure and report success. A carefully planned and implemented SMM can save an organization 12% - 20% and deliver a multitude of other value opportunities that will have a big impact on your company...and career!

For a complimentary copy of Tim's "Metrics To Define And Measure Success", contact him at tbrown@meetingsites.net.

Celebrating a Meeting Planner's Christmas

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Since this is my last Strategic Perspective for 2012, and we are starting the countdown for Christmas, I thought I would take a lighter approach and share my original poem “A Meeting Planner’s Christmas” with you.

 

I penned this poem to celebrate the many issues and variables that face today’s meeting planners and I hope you can relate to some of these scenarios.  

 

A MEETING PLANNER’S CHRISTMAS

Another fast and furious year...gone!

Jumping from project to project, little rest

Becoming very good at multi-tasking

Putting my time management skills to the test

What I really need is a Christmas vacation

We all need a periodic change in latitude

A break from "dates, rates, space and contracts"

Is the sure way to improve my attitude


My meeting stakeholders are well...demanding

But exceeding expectations a must

Working hard to add measurable meeting value

Building relationships, earning confidence and trust


OK, now let's focus on what's truly important

That's family, good friends and holiday cheer

And no more RFP's and meeting budgets

At least until early next year


I am trying to add a little balance to my life

Post-recession, clearly "doing more with less"

And now juggling work and a growing Christmas list

Yes, very overwhelming and adding to my stress


Christmas is a time to rejoice and express love

And appreciate wonderful people, far and near

Lots of camaraderie, big hugs and kind words

A time to reach out, give back, shed a tear


So I am knee deep in meeting details and post reports

And of course, the project files are starting to mount

And I feel the potential for a migraine headache

Trying to reconcile this big fat hotel master account


There is so much to be truly grateful for

Even though the recession has not been kind

Focus on family, friends, kind hearts and happiness

Reminders all good for the body, soul and mind


Here I am trying to make all these deadlines

Always keeping a sharp eye on the clock

And trying to get into the Christmas holiday spirit

By humming along to "Jingle Bell Rock"


For me, it's been a year of many blessings

My top notch team and strategic partners, it's true

And monthly, I get to express my strategic opinions

With Vince and the Successful Meetings crew


I am on Strategic Meetings Management overload

Yes, the  bar only continues to rise

But I have a meeting and event value Action Plan

Recognition of outstanding performance, the prize


And finally I would like to express

This important and heartfelt point of view

Happiness...good health...and God bless

And a very Merry Christmas to you!!


At the risk of bragging, I am darn good at what I do

Consistent peak performance takes a lot of work

So a few extra days off during the holidays

Is a very well deserved perk

 

I wish you all a very merry Christmas season and look for my Strategic Perspectives to resume in January!

Meetings as Investments

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Regular readers of this blog know about my ongoing reminders (and rants) about the need for meeting planners to think of meetings as investments. No, I am not going to break down our industry’s complicated return on investment (ROI) equation, but instead I'll suggest a new mindset that will help planners expand their vision for meeting outcomes, stakeholder communications, and their role as meeting value generators.

It's safe to say that in today's value and accountability focused environment there are increased expectations by senior management for improved planner productivity, added meeting value, cost savings, hotel contract risk reduction and ROI. Several recent surveys validate that over 50 percent of corporate and association meeting planners feel that they must now measure and report meeting value to key stakeholders.

Big Picture Approach

With expectations off the chart, meeting planners must demonstrate real meeting value, which requires specific metrics to define, measure, and report success. Senior managers are not focused on meeting logistics, but instead "people, productivity and profitability," so planners must understand all stakeholder expectations and assure that these investments called meetings achieve stated goals ond objectives.

During the recession, the emphasis was primarily on cost savings and contract terms, but today, meeting planners must step back and understand and drive an umbrella of meeting value components. While we all want to squeeze more dollars to the bottom line, it is important to note that often, there is too much emphasis on cost savings and not enough on planning team infrastructure, meeting content, design and architecture, and attendee communications and learning. Today, corporate and association planning teams are implementing SMM standards that help drive and measure overall meeting value. SMM is not just a knee jerk reaction to the recession, but a meeting value business model that is here to stay. 

Strategic Meetings Management: Big Picture Benefits

• Meeting activity tracking (meeting approval process and master meeting and event calendar)

• Improved planning processes / team productivity 

• Added meeting value / cost savings

• Hotel contract risk reduction / cost containment

• Meeting consolidation / leveraged spend

• Improved meeting quality / attendee experience / learner outcomes

• Integrate multiple meeting functions

• Data and spend management, plus 24/7 financial reporting

Have a Plan for Each Meeting

Understanding meeting stakeholder objectives, managing expectations and validating results is the most important role for meeting planners today. Success requires having an Action Plan for each meeting and communicating on a high level with key industry suppliers who assist and support your programs. In the SMM landscape, this is called Return On Objectives (ROO) and It is essential to keep score and have a post meeting report on what specifically was requested (by stakeholder) and what was actually delivered. Additional post reports include cost savings, contract risk reduction and cost containment, and added meeting value and enhanced attendee experience and learning.

Conclusions

Yes, the bar is rapidly being raised and senior management now expects meetings and events to deliver measurable business results. The good news is that planning teams now have the tools and resources to make this happen. As you put your sights on 2013, make meetings as investments and value reporting your top priorities. Corporate and association planning teams are experiencing significant change and the time is now to coach key managers and meeting stakeholders on this important value process.

For a complimentary copy of Tim's "Metrics To Define And Measure Success”, contact him at tbrown@meetingsites.net

Measuring What's Important To You

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The pages of today's industry trade publications are filled with different takes on how to measure meeting value and ROI and, equally important, how to communicate real meeting value to senior management and key stakeholders. I say "real" meeting value, because many CEOs and CFOs do not feel that their meeting planners are generating enough meeting value and ROI or leveraging their meeting spend to maximize savings.

Post-recession, clearly there are increased expectations by senior management for improved planner productivity, added meeting value, cost savings, contract risk reduction and enhancing the attendee experience.

SMM: The Path To Success

Strategic meetings management (SMM) became part of our culture in 2004, but did not achieve real traction until the great recession, which has changed our collective thinking. SMM is here to stay and it is important for corporate and association planning teams to understand this value and accountability business model and implement key components.

Simply put, SMM is a customized process to integrate key SMM components in phases and expanding capabilities based on your changing and evolving needs. The clear mission of this initiative is an umbrella of benefits and measurable added meeting value.

Create Your Own Action Plan

As you have heard me state before, with strategic meetings management, there is no "one size fits all solution", so it is essential that you conduct your own meeting needs assessment process and prioritize SMM components that achieve your short- and medium-term goals.

It is important to communicate on a high level with key managers and meeting stakeholders and get their feedback on their vision and expectations for meetings and events. This process will define the specific value components that need to be tracked, measured and ultimately, reported.

Defining Meeting Value

Let’s face it: meeting value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, so knowing all meeting stakeholders goals and expectations is essential to succeed in today’s value-focused environment. The other part of the equation is using transparent metrics to define, measure and report success. There are many meeting value components to consider, based on stakeholder interests. It is important to point out, that while we all want to squeeze more dollars to the bottom line, often too much emphasis is placed on cost savings and not enough on meeting design, content and the attendee experience.

Key Meeting Value Components 

Increased Planner / Team Productivity: Time is money and implementing (and communicating) meeting management and workflow efficiencies drives real value.  Evaluate current planning methods for full and part time planners and introduce time and data management efficiencies in the form of streamlined processes and procedures, planning templates (including custom hotel contract and cost savings / risk reduction reports) and technology tools and resources that minimize data entry (and improve data integrity) as well as expedite reporting capabilities.

Cost Savings:  This is high on senior management’s radar.  From your negotiations plan and countersigned contract, create a cost savings report for each meeting, breaking down savings by category (room rates, concessions, hotel fees and surcharges, hotel support services, preferred supplier volume buying, etc.).  The key here is transparent and realistic metrics to calculate a dollar amount and be prepared to defend your math.

Risk Reduction / Cost Containment:  Demonstrating risk mitigation is important and a risk reduction / cost containment report can be generated from your countersigned contract.  This includes highlights of your formulas for sleeping room attrition, cancellation, F&B guarantee, attendee walk / relocation, published room rates / rate integrity, construction / remodeling, breach by hotel, legal department language, etc.  

Return On Objectives (ROO): A big part of the shift from logistics to strategic is to get in the minds of key stakeholders and to understand and deliver their vision for each meeting.  This process will influence your overall meeting design, content and communications plan.  Your post meeting analysis will measure and validate that the meeting objectives were achieved (what was requested vs. what was delivered).  

Return On Event (ROE): Think of ROI as a financial metric, where a value or dollar amount can be assigned and ROE as a metric to measure meeting value and the attendee experience and learning.  ROE is the shift found between a pre-meeting measurement of an attendee’s rating for a specific meeting dimension and the post meeting measurement of the attendee’s rating on the same item.  Measurements include attitudes, networking, knowledge, professional development, new skills, goals, applied behaviors, perceptions and beliefs.  

Conclusions

As we set our sights on 2013, this is the perfect time to evaluate your overall meeting management processes, systems, planning and logistics and technology resources to manage forward. A carefully planned and implemented strategic meetings management (SMM) plan can save an organization 12 to 20 percent annually. Whether you are getting ready to implement SMM, or want to conduct an audit for an existing program to assure maximum performance, this initiative can be a real game changer for your organization...and boost your career in the process.

For a complimentary copy of Tim's “SMM Top Ten Tips”, contact him at tbrown@meetingsites.net

10 Tips To Assure SMM Success

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The great recession had a huge impact on the meeting and hospitality industry, primarily economic. However, a major carryover to the post-recession era is changing the way that planners plan and execute meetings and how hoteliers and suppliers sell and deliver service. And that carryover is strategic meetings management. This "value and accountability" initiative was launched by GBTA in 2004, but didn't gain real traction until the recession and thrust added meeting value, cost savings, contract risk reduction and ROI into the spotlight.

The Shift in Thinking

Strategic meetings management is a maturing business model and corporate and association planning teams are scrambling to get their arms (and minds) around this initiative. Whether you are responsible for meeting activity enterprise-wide, or within a department or division, SMM is essential to your success. There are many high impact SMM benefits to your organization.

10 Top SMM $uccess Tips

1. Organization analysis

Generally, it’s the classic “who, what, when, where, why” meetings and events analysis, however it can sometime be difficult to mine information. Get meeting history and feedback from all meeting stakeholders, including how meetings are approved, planned, specific meeting budgets and breakdown of meeting spend. Accounting and finance can help track planners and meeting sponsors who have requested deposits and payments to hotel and industry suppliers. Discuss expectations and goals with key managers and review and report post meeting results.

2. Understand your meeting activity spend

Regardless of the size, scope or number of meetings, track meeting spend, by category. This includes sleeping rooms and revenue contracted versus actual, group F&B, AV, production, business center, etc. Breakdown by individual hotel and chain and leverage overall spend for maximum negotiations results.

3. Review all meeting planning processes, procedure and systems

Improved planning team productivity is an important metric in today’s SMM environment and streamlining workflow efficiencies and minimizing data entry is an important part of the equation. Evaluate the overall meeting management infrastructure, support, logistics and execution and integrate new systems and planning templates (including budgeting tools, custom hotel contracts, cost savings / risk reduction reports).

4. Identify strengths, weaknesses, and challenges

Stepping back and taking a hard look at what is currently in place and what is really needed to deliver SMM outcomes is not an easy task. Put pen to paper and outline what specific components are working well, what are real challenges and gaps in the planning process and what new standards are essential to assure improved meeting quality and measurable results. 

5. Create an action plan summary

Your Action Plan summary is a composite of your research, findings, and recommendations for a SMM master plan. The emphasis is on specific benefits to the organization, not just cost savings, but added meeting value, contract risk reduction, workflow efficiencies, attendee experience and more. Support at the top is essential to your success, so collaborate with a senior manager who will understand and share your vision for an improved meeting management plan.

6. Evaluate and select "best in class" preferred suppliers

Today, planners are doing more with less and preferred partners are important. Outsourcing because you're busy adds little value. Evaluate and select top suppliers and make them an extension of your team. Educate them on your culture, goals, and objectives and collaborate on a high level. Take advantage of a specialized expertise and volume buying clout. Together, you can create metrics to define, measure and report success and establish a lasting partnership with SMM outcomes.

7. Integrate technology resources

Today's technology is a real game changer! It is important to assess what technology tools and resources are in place and what is needed to create robust data management and spend reporting. This included 24/7 access to current and past meeting data and management and financial reports, including a cost savings/risk reduction report, by meeting.

8. Create a SMM implementation and communications plan

When you get feedback and recommendations from key meeting stakeholders early on, the implementation process is easier. An effective SMM is based on team planning, training and on-going collaboration and evaluating results. If everyone is not aboard, many SMM components are compromised, including meeting management processes, negotiations, hotel contracts, meeting quality, data analysis and visibility into all meeting activity. Low participation means low SMM impact.

9. Ensure timely communications to senior management and key stakeholders

Senior managers are focused on the three P's, people, productivity, and profitability, and our job is to assure these investments called meetings & events achieve management's goals and objectives. Your ongoing reporting can include added meeting value, cost savings, contract risk reduction, increased planning team productivity, attendee learning and more. The key is credible metrics to define and measure success and be prepared to defend your math and improved quality and performance methods.

10. Ongoing evaluation of overall SMM plan and performance

One planner survey revealed that 43 percent of planners who had implemented SMM standards were not satisfied with the overall performance. Thus, it is essential to always assess each SMM component and what is being achieved for each meeting. The gaps generally occur in systems, processes and procedures not being followed and meeting spend data not collected, measured and communicated to stakeholders. Your SMM plan will evolve based on your changing needs and the evaluation and adjustment process is ongoing.

Conclusions

SMM is here to stay, so now is the time to be proactive, assess your needs and integrate select SMM components that work for you. A carefully planned and implemented SMM plan can save an organization 12 to 20 percent annually. That said, success is never an accident, it's a painstaking and quality assurance process. Whether you are sitting on the side lines contemplating an SMM plan, or have implemented SMM standards and want to reevaluate and enhance performance, start "planning your work and working your plan" and expect a big impact to your organization...and career!

For a complimentary copy of Tim's "Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) Action Plan For Success," contact him at tbrown@meetingsites.net