Meeting Matters: Set Objectives

Holding a Lighter Amidst the SilenceIn many cases, the annual meeting is an organization’s largest annual spend on group communications. Whether it’s a sales meeting, a franchise convention, a company conference or an association event; too often, organizations just go through the motions and call it a success if they escape without a major mishap.

In todays business climate, we should expect more.

Here’s one idea for getting more from your annual event.

Set Objectives

Strategic goal-setting is a step that’s often skipped when time-starved execs put meeting development on auto-pilot.

Define clear-cut goals:

  • Why are you having this meeting?
  • What would happen if you didn’t have your event?
  • What do you need your attendees to do in the coming year?
  • What measurable outcome would help propel your organization ahead (further, faster) in the coming year?

Usually, thinking about the meeting’s cost will add perspective:

  • How much will you really spend? Include…
    • Hard Costs, like transportation, accommodations, production, activities, and materials
    • Soft Costs, like the value of the time headquarters staff spends planning the event and developing content, the productivity and opportunity cost of having employees work on the meeting instead of their normal jobs and the cost of open territory days for the field
    • If your organization is like most, the soft costs will total 2-3 times the hard cost—which really puts a sharp point on the total investment an organization makes in it’s annual meeting
  • Now, ask what would make this investment worthwhile?
    • Treat it like the other investments you make in your business.
    • How will you be able to tell if it was a success or a failure?

The annual meeting, conference or convention is too important to put on auto-pilot. If you give the event a purpose—a purpose that is tangible, measurable and has real relevance to the coming year—it can become a springboard to a more successful year… for your attendees and for your organization.


Rick Cornish creates communications that inform, influence and inspire… helping organizations increase sales, promote unity and persuade their people to embrace change. Working in video, corporate meetings, event marketing and more; Rick delivers purposeful creative that drives business results and builds stronger brands.


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