Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Lessons in Hybrid Meetings: 5 Steps to Getting Senior Management Buy-In

One of the main reasons why associations choose not to produce hybrid meetings is the lack of senior management buy-in. I believe that the key to convincing them of your decision is to know your facts. I recommend the following to gain executive level buy-in to ensure the success of your meeting or event.

Step 1: Help them recognize the need for change. 

Schedule a brief project meeting with your senior management team to review why you determined a hybrid meeting was right for the association.  Identify your strategy and walk them through how you plan to implement it. It is a good practice to submit a brief overview in advance so that executives have time to prepare.

Step 2: Present your event strategy.

Building on the decision to go hybrid or not, you will want to clearly define your vision through a 1-2 page event scenario. This should be a concise document that captures key elements of the event including content, timing, checkpoints, venue suggestions, basic logistics, budget, scope changes and associated costs, and questions that you require senior management input. This scenario will become a reference for senior management, not the agenda for your initial meeting.

Step 3: Present multiple options for implementation.

Avoid an all-or-nothing scenario by presenting at least three options.  Presenting two options is good, but opens the door for a “who likes which option the best” discussion.  Present three or more options to create a better chance for dialogue and collaboration about advantages, disadvantages and innovative ways of combing the options.

Step 4: Allow questions and discussion during the initial meeting, and be prepared for other ideas to surface.

Give your senior-level executives the time and opportunity to ask questions, discuss and get used to new ideas.  To assist in preparing for this meeting, you may want to discuss possible questions or scenarios with other meeting professionals. Then, listen well to the management team for their input and be prepared to implement their recommendations (or validate why the recommendations were not considered).

Step 5: Research other associations who have produced successful hybrid meeting.

Use one of the many examples of successful hybrid meetings to demonstrate your commitment and understanding of the opportunities and risks at hand.  Also, knowing what the competition is doing shows your dedication to ensuring your association is positioned to continuously meet the needs of its members.
Planning an event without senior management input is a little bit like playing a game of Russian roulette. Armed with enthusiasm and facts, you will be sure to gain the confidence of even the weariest senior executives.

Next lesson: Building your hybrid event budget.

Mahoganey Jones is a Certified Meeting Professional and Digital Event Strategist with a background in continuing professional development.  She has a proven success record in planning meetings and events that boost revenues and increase brand awareness. She specializes in ensuring all details are considered and that all targets are met and/or exceeded.

Image courtesy of 89studio / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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