If you are unsure about the need for a strategic meeting management program at your organization, there are a few steps you can take to Keep It Lean, yet still gain valuable information. For those of you who have fewer than 50 meetings a year, keeping track of some key data points will help you understand the composition of your meeting portfolio. At this early stage, it's not necessary to invest in a technology tool, you can start the data-tracking process by keeping a simple spreadsheet of:
• Total volume and value of meetings and events contracted
• Location and timing of meetings
• Departments planning meetings
• Number of attendees
• Suppliers utilized
This information will help you understand the volume of meetings by number of attendees (if you are like most organizations about 80 percent of your meetings will be small), the busiest times for your meetings, where the majority of them are held, who is planning, and which suppliers they're using. These insights can help you make sound business decisions regarding the management of your meeting and event expenditures.
If you have a mature program, you may want to develop a Keeping It Lean path specifically for that high volume of smaller, simpler meetings so that the process is easier for people to use, which will help gain additional adoption. Perhaps that means using a leaner meeting request form or adopting an emerging solution such as Groupize, Bizly, or Kapow that are specifically designed for simple meetings. These solutions offer easy, self-service processes for the occasional planners in the company. A caveat is that you may need to aggregate data on the back end if you are using more than one technology tool, but that work will pay off significantly if you have a high volume of smaller meetings that are currently under-reported.
Whether you are just starting out with SMM or have a mature program in place, consider the approach of Keeping It Lean.