A well-delivered and effective meetings program will enhance the success of your organization. It will move you forward through connection, the exchange of ideas, the dissemination of information, and educational opportunities. Meetings help to build your business and the relationships you have with your customers.
The meetings management industry has experienced rapid growth and development in recent years. There is now a vast network of external resources available to help you develop and deliver your meetings program. This includes third-party contractors with advanced expertise in meeting management. If your business is not fortunate enough to have a high level of internal meeting expertise, contracting a meeting professional may be a strategic option.
While you may perceive some disadvantages, there is a compelling case you can make for outsourcing. The following are several points that should be considered.
- Access to skilled resources – An experienced meeting professional has specialized knowledge and expertise. They can help you more effectively deliver your meetings program. The right contractor will have certifications, strategic insight, an education program and a knowledge base upon which to draw. They will also bring with them relationships with skilled suppliers whom they have identified as leading experts in their fields.
- Access to advanced tools – Your business may not have the infrastructure and technology in place to enhance the meeting management experience. There are many advanced tools available to help you more efficiently and effectively deliver your meetings program. Selecting the right meeting professional will grant you access to these technologies. Such technologies will improve your registration and evaluation processes, project management and reporting, and financial management. It may also enhance your reservations and housing, as well as your travel management processes.
- Focus on core activities – Assess whether your meetings program is essential to the core of your business. If not, outsourcing can eliminate distractions and force your team to concentrate on your primary activities. After all, it is these activities that made your business successful in the first place. This can be done without sacrificing the quality or delivery of your meetings program. Consider engaging a meeting professional in peak periods or times of rapid growth when your team’s focus needs to be on your product or service outputs.
- Avoid workplace politics – One advantage of outsourcing that is often overlooked has to do with office politics. Strained relationships and bureaucracy can hamper the progress that needs to be made on managing your meetings program. These roadblocks may be significantly reduced by an outside meeting professional allowing for increased efficiencies and shorter timelines. The only connections a contractor will likely have to your workplace are with those to whom they report. This will allow for greater freedom in progressing through the meeting management process minimizing red tape and the influence of overbearing personalities.
- Risk mitigation – There is a perception of increased business risk that comes with outsourcing. This may be true when trying to assess the competency of an outside meeting professional. You must, however, consider the reduction of risk that comes with outsourcing to the right contractor. They will bring with them access to industry knowledge, best practices and management tools which can be used to identify and mitigate risks. Meetings professionals will bring you expertise in risk identification and mitigation strategies, data management, supplier contracting, security assessment and compliance management.
- New and innovative ideas – Meeting professionals are passionate about meetings management and are driven to excellence. They make it a priority to identify industry trends and new approaches to delivering meetings. They also give greater consideration to efficiency and effectiveness. A contractor may bring strategies and new ideas to your meetings program to help you deliver your content in more engaging ways.
If your business is fortunate enough to have an advanced level of internal meeting management expertise, then outsourcing may not be a viable option for you. If it is an option, hopefully these points will help you better weigh the advantages against the disadvantages. When you do decide to outsource there will be a meeting professional ready to help you take your meetings program and your business to the next level.
About the author
Brent Taylor, CMP, CMM is a Managing Partner at Timewise Event Management Inc. based in Edmonton, Alberta. He is very passionate about the meetings industry and believes strongly in education, professional development and setting industry standards. Connect with Brent online at www.twitter.com/brentjtaylor and www.linkedin.com/in/brentjtaylor.