Get Strategic

This  web-exclusive article accompanies "Defending Your Event," by Michael J. Shapiro (M&C, May 2009). 

For those planners whose roles typically are more logistics-oriented or who might not be in a position to measure return on investment, Jack Phillips, chairman of the ROI Institute, offers the following tips.

Evaluate at lower levels.
Try to make sure the meeting meets a clearly defined objective. "Just ask some questions in the meeting itself to get feedback that tells you how well the meeting is connected to the need," says Phillips. If you see a disconnect, suggest opportunities for improving the next meeting. "Go back to the sponsor," Phillips advises, "and say, 'We've got some issues here. And next time we should be better aligned.' "

Ask about overall objectives.
What is the desired business impact of the meeting? What are attendees supposed to take away? "Just raising those questions can help," Phillips explains. He adds, "Most people don't get irritated when someone tries to bring accountability to the process. Rarely will they say, 'Just shut up, that's not your job.' Your opinion counts." -- M.J.S.