Meetings fulfill many legitimate business purposes, but how do planners overcome resistance with clients or bosses who are wary of meeting in this economic climate? Mike Mason, senior vice president of group sales at Gaylord Hotels, offers these top five reasons to meet in a down economy:
1. Meetings keep the sales force on task.
“Smart sales forces will meet even more often during a difficult economic climate to keep team members motivated and make sure they are all working towards a common goal,” Mason says. “This is especially important for a company with young sales professionals who have never faced a challenging economy before. Meeting with the team is an effective way to share what’s working and what isn’t and an opportunity to course-correct when necessary. These meetings are imperative to ensure everyone stays on strategy and on target.”
2. The benefits often outweigh the expense.
“The networking and awareness-building opportunities associated with attending and/or exhibiting is sure to outweigh the costs of business travel when attending certain conferences. Since some conferences are more beneficial to certain companies than others, savvy professionals should consider attending the gatherings that trade media tend to cover, and see it as an opportunity to reach out to that media during the event. The publicity that can result will be worthwhile and result in broader awareness among target customers, without having to spend money on advertising.”
3. Companies can engage employees on a local level.
“Big, annual meetings are a time for team-building, face-time and socializing with co-workers, and in some cases, the only time during the year that the entire company can get together. But they can be costly, especially with the associated travel costs. Removing them altogether could have a negative impact on company morale, and also make it difficult to deliver key corporate messages that are best presented in person. A thrifty, but effective, alternative is to hold smaller, regional meetings instead.”
4. Nothing is as powerful as meeting face-to-face.
“Since employees of big companies with multiple offices don’t get to see much of one another during the year, it’s important to strengthen their relationships through regular face-to-face interaction. This will help sustain the company’s culture as well as provide a much needed opportunity to boost morale. In addition, research indicates that in-person presentations are retained more easily and generate a more positive reception because the opportunity for interaction through Q&As exist. [Essentially,] it’s the best way to lay out the company’s annual goals and mission and introduce new products or ad campaigns, etc.”
5. A change of scenery enhances creativity and productivity.
“Breaking away from the stressful, everyday work environment is a great way to re-infuse staffers with some much needed energy. Research indicates that a change from the daily routine can result in enhanced creativity as well as provide a platform for innovation and imagination. Translation: a more productive meeting and an energized team.”