Strategic Meeting Management


What is strategic meeting management? We are often bombarded with a veritable “alphabet soup” in regards to particular conference management strategies and solutions. Still, one of the most commonly misunderstood terms is strategic meeting management. Simply stated, this concept involves leveraging the right resources and procedures so that an upcoming event runs smoothly and is appealing to all involved stakeholders. This concept is still a bit more complicated than it may initially appear and many organisations fail to adopt the appropriate methods. Let’s take a look at a handful of core theories to appreciate before delving into some meeting and planning strategies which can have a lasting positive impact.

Strategic Meeting Management: Benefits and Misconceptions

Event and Meeting Industry Influencer Corbin Ball defines strategic meetings management as:

“A strategic meetings management program (SMMP) is the strategic management of enterprise-wide meeting related processes, spend, volumes, standards, and suppliers to achieve quantitative cost-savings, risk mitigation, and superior service. SMMP can help your company reduce meeting costs, reduce contractual risks and improve service.”

To put this somewhat technical description another way, this type of planning involves identifying and implementing the best approaches to meet stated goals and to present the event in the most attractive manner possible. Some of the issues to take into account include:

  • Clarifying workflow requirements
  • Sourcing the right third-party suppliers
  • Choosing the appropriate vendors
  • Managing finances
  • Meeting the needs of attendees
  • Analysing and interpreting the results to make future improvements

Related: A Marriage of Function and Insight: Keys to Effective Meeting Management

Those who are familiar with the flexible model of business management may find these concepts somewhat familiar, as many of the same processes are included. Above all, the main takeaway point is that management programmes should be able to identify and incorporate the metrics mentioned above to be sure that all bases are covered well in advance of a particular event.

Why Implement this Type of Strategic Event Planning?

The main reason why SMM is an excellent idea arises from the fact that many management teams find a less-defined approach confusing and unclear. Cost reductions, effective brand promotions, better forms of delegate engagement and legal concerns are all motivating factors which can be addressed by this framework. On the other side of the coin, there are specific risks which could otherwise be present. Financial losses as the result of a poorly executed meeting, losing clients to competitors, negative brand perception, and event security are all very real challenges that need to be addressed. Strategic meeting management can help to minimise the chances of such instances occurring.

Common Strategic Meetings Management Misconceptions

There are still reasons why management may not wish to employ such an invaluable strategy. They could feel that it is too expensive or that its implementation will be overly challenging. Other myths state that SMM is only appropriate for larger organisations or that executive-level participation is required. In fact, these are all fallacies. Meetings management programmes are cost-effective and malleable solutions which are excellent options to consider.

Related: Defining Roles, key to successful Meeting Management

Putting it All Together: Five Steps Towards Event Planning Success

How can professionals and stakeholders leverage the advantages of strategic meeting management? You will be happy to learn that you can utilise some of the very same principles involved with generalised project oversight. Some of the most important points to address include:

  • Define the underlying intentions and goals of the meeting. Clarity is necessary to ensure an accurate execution.
  • Communicate with other stakeholders, obtain advice and make certain that everyone knows their discrete role.
  • Develop specific policies geared towards the event and be sure that the team agrees with such goals.
  • Review the plan from time to time to make sure that no subsequent changes are necessary.

Increase both the appeal and ROI associated with meeting events by utilising these approaches. Keep in mind that some of the steps above may take greater precedence than others and yet, each should be used as one part of a greater whole to enjoy success. This article is only a brief overview of strategic meetings management. For a more detailed explanation as well as to obtain valuable advice, please contact us at your convenience.


Congrex Switzerland is an internationally operating agency delivering customised solutions. This encompasses the overall organisation of conferences and meetings including the management of hotel rooms and the strategic consultancy. Annually Congrex Switzerland organises approximately 33 events with over 73’000 delegates. Amongst our clients are international associations, governmental organisations and corporations.

If you wish to receive additional information about Congrex Switzerland, please feel free to contact us.

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