How to Streamline Off-Site Meetings and Events
Meetings — in particular, off-site meetings — are an essential part of doing business. And while we can’t eliminate these meetings entirely, everyone would benefit from making the most of that time.
By taking steps to streamline those off-site meetings, you and your team can significantly reduce some of the cost and complications of face-to-face gatherings. Here’s our guide to cut waste and resources for your business meetups.
Build on Existing Events
Are you attending that new marketing conference in the fall? Why not scout the attendees and exhibitor list for clients or prospects you want to meet? Use the opportunity to schedule brief, in-person meet-ups where you can accomplish more in less time. If done well, you can cut out the cost of flights and hotel for future meetings with these same contacts.
Be a Gracious Host
Even if a business partner or customer is in your area for the day, they may not have the flexibility to schedule a meeting. Think of ways you can alleviate the stress and cost of their trip to your city, and use those as an opportunity to have an impromptu meeting. Perhaps, offer to pick them up from the airport, or take them for a quick coffee or brunch.
Don’t Dismiss Digital
Although nothing replaces the value of in-person interaction, online or virtual meetings are a quick and simple option that’s gained popularity across the board. Digital tech has enabled even the most robust conference calls to take place over video, giving contacts in various time zones the chance to have a true meeting of the minds.
Simple project check-ins should almost always be done virtually, especially if the time spent traveling will hold up progress on an initiative. Consider the true savings of video conferencing, which involves more than plane tickets and per diem lunches. Days spent out of the office are costly from a productivity standpoint, as well.
Respond to Actual Needs
Is your annual golf and drinks routine something you really have to do with your favorite client, or is it done merely out of tradition? You may find it fun or even profitable to meet up and socialize, but changing times may require you to find other ways to accommodate busy schedules.
It’s possible that these sorts of outings are no longer expected. Talk to your contacts and find out if the ways things have always been done are the way they should continue. You may learn that a more streamlined and affordable meeting option isn’t just a good idea for your budget — it’s something they’ve wanted all along.
Bring Local Meetups In-House
Sometimes, a change of scenery can do wonders for creativity, and it’s reasonable to want to venture out for off-site meetings in your local area. However, understand the true cost of doing these too often. Travel time to the location, purchase of food and drinks, and lost focus are real expenses that should be factored into your return on investment.
Instead of making it a habit to go out, consider bringing in lunch and using a conference room to get the work done. Not only can you keep your teams focused for longer, but you can also work with preferred vendors to get the best deal on dining.
Maximizing Your Time
Whether you’re wooing a prospect or conducting a training event, it’s important to understand which meetings are needs and which ones are wants. Keep in mind that with today’s technology, daily meetings and check-ins can be made easier with a few online tools. But when off-site meetings are necessary, be sure to maximize your time to get the best value.