– Do some people consider your meetings ineffective and a waste of time? – Do you feel you are having meetings without strong results? – Are your budgets slim and efforts wasted when executing an event? – Is it a challenge to learn from your past meetings and conferences? – Do you fail to capitalize on your prior gatherings?   If it’s a monthly, quarterly, or annual meeting your conferences, board meetings, events, or conventions corporate expenses are increasingly scrutinized.  Return on Investment (ROI) is the fundamental measurement of the success of your event. Even if you are fortunate enough to have a budget when planning your program; without knowing the goals and objectives you intend to achieve, you will have wasted your efforts, money, and the valuable time of your company and work colleagues. The one sure way to get attention and add fuel for thought when a company is planning and executing a program is to ask . . . Why are we getting together?   How do you maximize your ROI? · First, take a poll from prospective attendees prior to establishing the venue and program and ask: What are your expectations? Also review the crucial feedback at the close of your last program if you should have it available.

  • Second, via email or “snail” mail, address a short one-page document to the attendees that outlines the main points of the program, including an overall perspective and goals of the program. Even if the intent of the program is for socialization and comradery, make this clear.
  • Next, once the goals are established, move into executing and planning your program by researching venues that match your needs and criteria. After selecting a property or venue, make sure you understand what is being asked of you from your company and the hotel when working with a hotel or venue.
  • Third, understand you have a choice when it comes to you conference technology.  Venues typically have “in House” AV available at a tall premium.  With a little effort you can find AV companies, like Lucas Productions, which provide better service, similar equipment, and a much bigger value than the “in house” AV.  This goes a long way to increasing your ROI.
  • Remember, ROI does not only involve dollars. A key element of ROI is making sure there is enough time for networking, and if applicable, allowing your guests the opportunity to see the area at large. Research shows that companies are finding more and more that if there isn’t an element of mixing and mingling, attendees get frustrated and loose interest.
  • If you don’t have the time, or the resources to plan an event or meeting, hire an expert meeting planner. When planning a program with any budget, hiring an experienced meeting/event manager can prevent headaches, and more importantly, unexpected embarrassment and costs. Look for years of experience, credibility and programs executed. A “Wedding Planner” is drastically different from an “Event/Meeting Planner,” so make sure to ask questions when outsourcing this function. They are versed in the industry and have probably planned the same types of conferences and meetings you desire so you won’t be reinventing the wheel.
  • ROI can’t always be measured immediately. But, a key to achieving this goal is always to record a history after each meeting, including an evaluation from the attendees. If there’s not enough time to do so at the event, take advantage of today’s ever-changing technology: meeting planners are taking advantage of Palm Pilot and Blackberry technology to collect immediate feedback while guests are leaving the property or waiting for their flights. Develop a pattern of feedback and utilize your findings to your advantage.

Next month we will dive into the ways you can stay within your budget while looking like a billion dollars.  Lucas Productions provides total audio visual solutions for meetings and conferences in Clearwater, Tampa, St. Petersburg, and the entire Tampa Bay area. For more information, go to our website www.LucasProductionsUSA.com or call (727) 532-2122.