A stakeholder meeting requires more from the meeting planner than simply a delicious lunch and comfortable surroundings. It’s an opportunity to shine in front of the decision-makers in your company or your client’s. But it’s those very opportunities that can also be the most troublesome. Planning a high-profile stakeholder meeting places the planner in a very precarious spot. Do well and shine. Bumble the opportunity and lots of important people notice.
How do you excel at the planning of a stakeholder meeting? It takes a lot more than simply coordinating a few moving parts. These 10 things will help you make an impression on people who may be key to your career advancement. In addition to appropriate food and beverage, you’ll need to:
1. Know The Goal Behind The Meeting
While this may seem like a ‘need to know’ situation that you don’t need to know, the reason behind your stakeholder meeting influences the type of event you’re hosting. Stakeholder meetings are not all the same.
If you don’t know the goal, how can you exceed it? Knowing what those behind the meeting want to accomplish, can help you figure out innovative and efficient ways to bring them what they want and more. You want your outcome to be tied to their desired results. This is impossible if you don’t know the goal.
2. Obtain The Attendee List And Their Travel Arrangements
You need to know where everyone is and at what time they are planning to show up. Travel delays can negatively impact meeting schedules and attendees’ attitudes. Keep abreast of arrivals and check-ins. You can use apps to track it all and share it as needed.
Knowing travel arrangements can also help you coordinate resources and cut costs. For instance, shared rides may be a possibility for two stakeholders who are coming in at similar times. If you know everyone’s schedule, you may be able to help coordinate significant cost savings for the company, assuming the stakeholders are willing to do so.
3. Create An Effective Layout And Select The Venue
This is one of the reasons it’s essential for event planners to know the goal behind the meeting. Seating for brainstorming and problem-solving sessions should be laid out differently than a room designed for a state-of-the-business stakeholder meeting. The goal may also factor into the venue selection.
In the past, hotel meeting rooms and office buildings were popular choices for venues. Many event planners felt roped into using office rooms because they felt tied to the technology. An innovative event planner recognizes that, with the use of WiFi, smart devices, and effective apps, a meeting can be held anywhere.
You don’t even need a whiteboard or screen anymore. If your attendees have devices, they can views slides and comment on them directly from an app. They can even zoom in on the slides, which makes every seat in the room a great one. No more struggles to see a screen. This has opened up the choice of venues to include comfortable options such as home-sharing rentals like Airbnb.
4. Secure A Copy Of The Agenda
This is a critical component of a stakeholder meeting and requiring a copy will not only ensure that your meeting timing is as perfect as possible but that there are extra copies onsite should they be required. Yes, meetings go off-schedule but knowing the basic flow and expectations will help you understand how to coordinate snacks, breaks, and other floating parts.
For additional cost savings and the most efficient meeting flow, an electronic agenda is your best bet. Two other benefits of a digital agenda are flexibility and personalization. Should something change you can update it on-the-fly for everyone to see. Using a digital agenda also allows you to personalize the content to each attendee based on their roles. For instance, someone who is attending the stakeholder meeting for a specific portion will only see that part of the agenda, while someone who is part of the entire event will see the entire agenda.
There are a lot of benefits to digital agendas. However, some stalwarts refuse to switch. An expert event planner understands their audience but also knows when to present efficient suggestions to streamline the process and innovate.
5. Use Efficient Technology
Time is one of the most highly-valued commodities in business and in a stakeholder meeting, you can be assured that the people gathered are very protective of their time. Using technology helps everyone stay in touch, engaged, and on track.
One of the most impressive and memorable ways to stay connected with technology is through Visual Collaboration. Our capabilities are light years beyond the average Powerpoint. Today’s attendees want more than a lecture, they want to be involved. With visual collaboration features, you can employ visual polling with real-time results generating heat maps to engage and stimulate your audience. You can invite them to add their comments to a SWOT analysis instead of employing a note taker or someone writing on a whiteboard.
Speakers can further engage participants through revealing visual content as they go. Make an impression by employing technology that allows speakers to graph information in real-time with Digital Chalk Talk.
Attendees no longer have to wait until the end of the meeting to share their thoughts. They can amend slides on the fly and share comments for immediate feedback. They can also create user-generated content, like uploaded images, for all to see.
6. Arm Yourself With The Basics
The stakeholders have work to do. Make sure you have the necessary components that will help. Some still love paper and pens (or Post-it notes and highlighters), so be prepared for that.
Others have turned to technology to handle administrative tasks, notes, and calendars so they may need chargers or power banks. Provide them with the essentials of what they’ll need.
Even though you want to ensure all stakeholders have what they need for taking notes, note taking has its limitations as only the transcriber can see and benefit from them. For more robust interaction, consider using Visual Collaboration technology, which allows attendees to give feedback and take notes directly on the screen for everyone to see.
Next, ask your client whether any business peripherals are necessary such as laptop rentals, printers, whiteboards, projectors, a screen, tablets, etc.
7. Secure Cloud Access And WiFi
If your venue has an option of connection speeds or WiFi packages, ensure you have more WiFi power than you think you’ll need at the venue. These days, most people who use technology access it from multiple devices during a meeting. The days of using only a tablet, laptop, phone, or smartwatch are gone.
Another benefit to providing secure cloud access and WiFi is that these will ensure the stakeholders are able to access and share documents and data easily. Setting this up prior to the meeting will allow everyone early access to the materials. No need to worry about a corrupt file causing issues or a bad memory stick making it impossible to retrieve mission-critical information at the meeting.
For a simpler approach, consider using an interactive platform like Connexme that allows for file sharing as well as drawing, highlighting, and commenting directly on the documents. The presenter can use these comments to enrich the meeting discussion.
8. Make Good Use Of Breaks, Icebreakers, Other Communication And Productivity Measures
The timing and importance of each of these depend largely on the length of your meeting and whether your attendees know one another. Assuming this event is several hours long and there are new participants, you want to provide time for interaction outside of the work at hand. Breaks and icebreakers can help with focus, productivity, and facilitating interaction.
Never leave the interaction just to breaks and meeting games. Using tech to connect your attendees beforehand can help them feel a part of things long before they officially meet. Once they’re there, give them an interactive app that can help them connect with one another through public and private messaging. Let them ask questions of one another and make comments about the content. This allows interaction without interruption.
9. Provide Concierge Assistance
Concierge assistance is critical if you have stakeholders attending from out of town, especially since so many people are mixing business and leisure trips these days. You can really stand out in attendees’ minds if you anticipate their needs before they have them. If your stakeholder meeting is an intimate gathering, you may be able to perform some quick social media research to discover what your attendees like and make suggestions based on your preliminary discoveries.
As part of the registration or RSVP process, request that attendees inform you of any important needs that must be met such as special dietary requests or mobility issues. This can be accomplished easily in a form or by confirming attendance through an event app. If your stakeholder meeting does not require attendees to RSVP, send an email or message to them providing details about the venue, what they need to know about the meeting itself and ask them to inform you of special requests.
10. Employ A Mobile App
Whether you’re in charge of a large, theater-sized stakeholder meeting or an intimate group around a boardroom table, mobile apps help people stay connected and engaged throughout the meeting. From complete guest lists to polling capabilities, from addressing live questions without interruption to private messaging, using technology to increase your communication abilities will help you stand out and appear to be an innovative part of any operation. You can even brand the app to your business colors and grant access to certain areas in the app based on attendee position or role.
The need for technology doesn’t end when the event does. A meeting planner can impress the stakeholders if they introduce technology at the meeting that helps everyone stay connected after the event as well including the status of assigned ‘homework’ and takeaways. Plus, often stakeholders will think of questions, concerns, and comments outside of the scheduled meeting time. Technology that can place them in easy contact with one another is highly valued.
When it comes to a stakeholder meeting you need more than a nice meal. Understanding what your attendees are looking to accomplish and then acting as a facilitator for that to happen will assist you in standing out. Preparation is key in order for the whole event to appear effortless. Now that you know what it takes to create an impressive stakeholder meeting, it’s time to see how technology can assist you in all levels of your meeting from organization to networking, audience engagement to more efficient collaboration. If you’re ready to see how visual collaboration and interactive tech can change your event or meeting, contact our team at Evenium today.