In order to plan an effective meeting, you need to understand why it’s happening and what would make it successful. That’s where your meeting stakeholders come in.
Simply put, stakeholders are any group that is affected by the meeting. They tend to fall into two groups:
1. Internal stakeholders
2. External stakeholders
Internal stakeholders are people who work within your organizational structure. They can be your events team, co-workers, your boss, your boss’ boss and/or the board of directors.
Internal stakeholders are the ones who can tell you about:
- The meeting’s history
- Its purpose
- What it should achieve
- Who it’s for
- What’s worked in the past
- What hasn’t worked in the past
- What should be different this year
- What success would look like
If the event is new and there’s no history or if they can’t articulate what success would look like, ask them:
- Who are we trying to attract?
- What will they get from this event that they can’t get anywhere else?
- How do you want people to feel while they’re on-site with us?
- What do you want them to do after this event is over?
That information should give you a good idea of what your stakeholders’ main goals for meeting are, which in turn will help you create S.M.A.R.T. objectives and calculate the ROI for your event.
External stakeholders are people that you don’t work with, but who have some relationship to the event and can be positively or negatively affected by its outcomes. They can be your sponsors, exhibitors, vendors, paying attendees, association members, speakers and industry thought leaders, among others.
Historical data from surveys, testimonials, sales numbers and past marketing campaigns can help you identify what your external stakeholders like, dislike and what they hope to achieve by participating in your event. That information will influence:
- The content of your meeting
- Your marketing and communication strategy
- Your sales strategy
- The participant’s onsite experience
Not all stakeholders are created equal, however, that’s why you need to prioritize their goals and objectives.