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How to Manage the Naysayers, Foot-Draggers, and Critics

A what’s-in-it-for-me strategy for delivering SMMP process change

We all need to manage negativity, either from colleagues, clients, or suppliers, personally or professionally! The challenge is to shift a negative attitude to positive one in order to improve relationships and business outcomes. Essentially, we want to turn that frown upside down!

With strategic meeting management programs, negativity is usually rooted in the fact that people don’t like change. When an SMMP is implemented, it shakes up the process for buying meetings and events. The simple act of calling the hotel down the street for a small meeting is replaced with a brief on-line meeting registration, which triggers a request-for-proposal process ensuring at least three bids.

There’s good news all around with this change: It protects the buyer and the company by ensuring a competitive purchasing process and guards the occasional planner from any inference of conflict of interest. Although this new process may not seem as easy as calling the hotel that has been used in the past, the benefits for the company far outweigh the perceived efficiency of unmanaged purchasing. Once the meeting is registered in the tool, the information is capture electronically, which can lead to pre-populating a meeting website for the participants as well as saving time and avoiding duplicate entry for the planner. 

It is effective to talk about WIIFM (What’s in It for Me) when working on transitioning negative influencers to positive influencers. WIIFM is a simple but powerful acronym. It allows you to develop a few key messages about why people should change what’s working for them and adapt to the new process. Frequently, the WIIFM value proposition for the SMMP is like other change initiatives at a company:
• Process efficiency, time savings, elimination of duplicate entry
Trained professionals do the challenging sourcing, negotiating, and contracting work.
Occasional planners still get to do the fun planning and operation of the meeting and event.
Doing the right thing to help the company to save money, reduce risk, and ensure duty of care for employees.

Although this example of managing negativity is focused on strategic meetings management, you will find these value propositions are applicable to many situations when working to turn those frowns upside down!


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