Securing a Spot in the New Order - 2005-09-01

Meeting Professionals International has released its second position paper on the increasing collaboration among these three areas, offering step-by-step suggestions on creating a collaborative meetings management program.

"The point of the first paper was to give a wake-up call to planners about the strategic perspective of a planning department," says Betsy Bondurant, co-chairwoman of the MPI committee overseeing the development of the position papers.

"What we're trying to do with this second paper is have a continuing dialogue about what a strategic meeting program might look like, and what a corporate meeting manager would need to do," says Bondurant, who is associate director of meeting planning and trade shows for Amgen, the biotechnology company based in Thousand Oaks, CA. "It just makes a lot of sense to have people thinking proactively."

The new paper—titled "360 Degrees of Influence: Demonstrating Professional Value Through the Development of a Meetings Management Program"—recommends such steps as understanding how a meetings department fits into an organization's overall strategic plan, identifying department competencies and key stakeholders, creating a department business proposal, assembling cost-saving tools including software, and finding means of defining success.

Central to a collaborative meetings management program are developing standard contracts for meetings goods and services throughout an organization, and identifying preferred providers to leverage for volume discounts.

MPI's first position paper on the topic, released in January, offered planners career-positioning strategies. For suppliers, the first paper also detailed ways to become a preferred vendor.

Due this month is the third installment of MPI's treatment of the collaboration issue, promising to detail ways planners and suppliers can work together to effect procurement synergies.

All three papers, as well as a tool kit with sample business plans and budget templates, are available at www.gccoe.mpiweb.org