We can envision a conference or meeting much in the same way as we may define the gears of a well-oiled machine. It is only through the integration of each stakeholder that the ultimate goals of success and quality attendance will be met. In essence, effective meeting management often revolves around capitalising on the strengths of these individuals. Much like many other best practices regarding management solutions, such a concept is frequently easier said than done. It is therefore an idea to examine how leveraging these strengths will ultimately result in rewarding and effective conference management.
Effective Meeting Management: Appreciating the Roles of Volunteers and Staff
In this case, volunteers are those individuals who are concerned with promotions and relevant subject matter. Some examples of these metrics can include:
- Appreciating current industry trends
- Promoting the upcoming event to the relevant region or demographic
- Providing guidance in terms of protocol and flexibility
On the contrary, staff members are more associated with mission objectives, logistics and the overall decision-making processes.
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This is obviously a more in-depth role which requires a discrete knowledge of the company in question. We should also note that a Professional Conference Organiser (PCO) falls into this category. Some positions can include in-house staff, upper-level management, marketing and human resources departments.
The Synergy of Roles
A well-rounded approach to effective meeting management naturally involves bridging the gap between the two aforementioned roles. There are several guidelines which should always be kept in mind during this process. Primary variables can be listed as:
- Assessing and understanding KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
- Assigning and clarifying discrete roles to qualified stakeholders
- Building an effective and transparent communications system during the entire project
Of course, these disparate areas can be difficult to coordinate. Should consistency be lacking across the board, the end result of any meeting management technique will be disappointing. This is where the power of the PCO comes into play. Fostering cross-channel communications and building solid relationships with senior staff over time, this professionals are able to adequately address the needs of multiple conferences and events. The addition of such an expert is also an excellent means to integrate new stakeholders into the team with a minimal amount of disruption.
Any conference is partially defined by the financial outlay that is required when compared to the predicted ROI. In other words, a conference that proves to be a fiscal loss can greatly hamper the operations of any organisation. It is also worthwhile mentioning that the very same organisation may be hesitant to hold future events; potentially limiting growth and networking capabilities.
Managing any budget should be split between the assigned PCO and other decision makers who have a direct stake in its outcome. It could also be wise to employ the rather objective perspective of the Core PCO to uncover turnkey financial solutions that may not have been observed by in-house staff.
So, we can see that there is much more than meets the eye in terms of creating and ensuring effective meetings. Some of the main points we have covered include:
- Understanding and defining roles of all stakeholders
- The collaboration between volunteers and staff
- Establishing channels of communication between such roles
- Employing the expertise of a Core PCO
- Taking into account the budgetary concerns (and the projected ROI) of the event itself
These topics can all be quite challenging. In order to incorporate the most effective turnkey solutions, we encourage you to take a look at our in-depth ‘White Paper 4: Defining Roles in Meeting Management’ to find about the best strategies to employ at the most appropriate times.
Congrex Switzerland is an internationally operating agency delivering integrated solutions especially for non-profit clients. This encompasses the overall organisation of conferences including the management of hotel rooms and the strategic consultancy of associations. Annually Congrex Switzerland organises approximately 33 conferences with over 73’000 delegates. Amongst our clients are international associations, governmental organisation and corporations.
If you wish to receive additional information about Congrex Switzerland, please feel free to contact us.