In the midst of all of the planning you have done for your upcoming meeting, have you kept your stakeholders’ objectives in mind? While planners are generally aware of the logistical objectives of their meeting, somewhere in between the RFP’s, the BEO’s, and the DMC’s, the high-level strategic and organizational objectives are, more often than not, only reviewed when it’s time to execute the meeting. Most planners know the feeling…. it’s one week before your event and the executive sponsor of your meeting reviews the agenda and decides that’s not the message he or she was trying to convey. Thus, agenda re-organization begins!
It’s a bit of a loaded question, but – why the big fuss about aligning stakeholders’ objectives? Previous example aside, consider the following groups of stakeholders typically associated with a meeting and what their objectives could be:
Senior Executives – Typically the sponsors of your meeting; your objectives will need to roll up into their vision
Procurement – Based on your process, typically the department that adds credibility
Travel – Collaboration always provides optimal results
Legal/Regulatory – Will your meeting have any legal ramifications for your organization?
Finance – Compliance with your organizations data collection and payment processes for your meeting
This is just a small cross-section of stakeholders, but conducting a stakeholder analysis at the outset of the planning process will help you identify the parties likely to influence / be influenced by your meeting. Take one step further and arrange a meeting with those stakeholders–either all together or in smaller groups–and allow them to reveal their objectives for your meeting. You’ll be surprised at how much smoother the planning process will be once the stakeholders’ objectives are aligned with your meeting.