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What Does Your Meetings Client Really Want?

It may sound funny for a meeting professional with over 20 years in the business to say this, but the meeting or incentive trip is never the objective of the sponsor or budget owner.


It may sound funny for a meeting professional with over 20 years in the business to say this, but the meeting or incentive trip is never the objective of the sponsor or budget owner.

Events are held to achieve a purpose – motivate and reward high achievers, build relationships and loyalty, educate and inform clients, partners and employees, or discuss issues and find resolutions.

Basically, an event is held to improve business and personal results.

If you attended any of the educational sessions at M&IT’s mid-August IncentiveWorks trade show, in Toronto, this was abundantly clear.

The two keynote speakers (Simon Sinek and Gary Vaynerchuk) focused on asking, “why?” (to determine how to best achieve an objective) and outlined “how to get to where you need to be” (by using social media to complement events).

Many of the individual sessions were designed to give participants insight and knowledge to improve the value of their events.

In the Executive Perspective session I moderated, it was interesting to hear the executives talk about how they measure the success of their events in so many different ways.

But one thing they all agreed on – an event is really an investment.

The best meetings are those that are well designed (both logistically and content-wise) to complement a company’s business or marketing objectives.

Any event that does not help achieve an objective is either poorly designed – or just an excuse for a party.

The past 18 months have shown that in recessionary times, planners compete for limited budget with all of their company’s or clients’ other business initiatives.

The great planners are those who take the time necessary to understand the objectives of the event sponsor and then help design a meeting or incentive programme to achieve real (and measurable) business results.

They have earned that “seat at the executive table” that, for years, has been the goal of professional planners.

Achievement of tangible business results – not holding a meeting – is the objective.

There is an old saying in direct marketing: People don’t want to buy half-inch drill bits; they want half-inch holes.

Go one step further in your planning activities and ask yourself: What does your client really want?



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