November 14, 2019

by Henrietta Balint, Senior Director, Global Meetings & Events, Radius Travel

Corporate governance is a key aspect of any business project, and that is certainly true of meetings management programs.

Regardless of what stage you’re at in the development of your program, there are some basic fundamentals required to establish a successful and repeatable governance framework. Identifying the right stakeholders, communicating with them consistently and keeping them engaged will help you achieve success and create strong advocates for your meetings program.

Who are your key stakeholders?

Stakeholders vary from one organization to another and are not limited to just senior executives and procurement. This group will be made up of leadership from many different areas of your organization – often in different countries or regions if you’re part of a global corporation.

When building this list, identify what’s driving each stakeholder. Understanding what’s in it for each individual stakeholder will help you to optimize your communication and help you to obtain their buy-in.

How to engage meetings management stakeholders

After identifying key stakeholders, you must keep them involved and engaged in your goals. This involves consistent, clear and detailed communication. Take what you learned in the identification phase and use it here by creating relatable messaging that provides direct answers to all of their questions. Outline the reasons for the project, the value it will bring, the resources required and the timeline.

Stakeholder engagement doesn’t stop there. You must continue to show value. Set the right expectations early by asking stakeholders what success looks like for them, then build metrics and KPIs that meet those criteria. Establish realistic expectations for success and timeframes for delivery and ensure this is fully understood by senior leadership.

When success is achieved, communicate that to your stakeholder group. Make sure they’re a part of it so they can celebrate with you.

The importance of interdepartmental connections

Interdepartmental and cross-functional connections are very important in a meetings management stakeholder group.

As stated above, you will likely have stakeholders from many different areas of your organization. For multinational corporations, that group likely also extends across different countries and regions.

Goals and expectations will certainly vary across this group. That may be challenging, but it will also serve to benefit your meetings management program through the corporate insight and intelligence they can provide, both individually and collectively. Understand what is working well and what could be better from each stakeholder’s point of view, then establish a common purpose to help connect these stakeholders and build success.

With so many voices in this stakeholder group, it’s also important to identify an executive sponsor who can be your advocate, helping you navigate challenges and making sure decisions get made in a timely manner.

Meetings and events are a significant line item for most corporations. Establishing a meetings management program can drive significant value in terms of savings, compliance, and more. Understanding that value and effectively communicating it is key to engaging senior leadership and stakeholders.

If you’re a GBTA member, the recently released Meetings Management Toolkit provides more in-depth information on this subject, outlining basic, better and best strategies for engaging key stakeholders as well as successful governance strategies that you can implement in your organization.

Henrietta Balint
Senior Director, Global Meetings & Events, Radius Travel

Heni has a wealth of experience in both M&E and transient travel, having spent more than 20 years in commercial travel management company roles covering both sectors. A native Australian, Heni has lived and worked in Europe, Asia Pacific, and North America, and currently resides in the U.S.