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Strategic planning still requires a managing of logistics. When your actions are mindfully centered on a specific goal, the logistics flow naturally. And, when everyone is on the same page, it propels the process forward.

Christy: What don’t planners ask you that you wish they would? Or what don’t they know that you would like to impart on them which you haven’t shared with me yet?

TLG: To quote Hillary Clinton, “I think it takes a village.” I feel meeting planners don’t think they need to include everybody in that process or don’t feel empowered to do so. It’s important to include the executives, the people who are going to present and the marketing team, before they’re onsite to see if there’s anything they want to contribute.

Christy: You’re so right. This goes back to creating a strategic messaging cycle; a continuous message that echoes the goal throughout the year.

TLG: I think the meeting planner has to be empowered to be the one who pulls everyone together and says “We shouldn’t just be paying a production or creative company to just do this one-off meeting, we should be paying them to look at us holistically and pull every piece they can into the meeting because that’s where our dollars are spent.” I think meeting planners compartmentalize all their areas. I’m going to talk to the hotel today about this. I’m going to talk with my DMC about this and so on.

Our perspective is they should pull it all together to have one voice, the whole time, and get the message across. I think they would be so much more successful.

Christy: I call that a “Request for Collaboration.” I tell my clients to bring all their key vendors on a call so they can leverage their expertise and work in concert towards the goal. A bunch of siloed vendors is not only more work it’s a missed opportunity to create an experience that will influence behavior, which is what this is all about.

TLG: And it’s a better use of everyone’s time as well. This also solves another challenge; for meeting planners, production is always the last part of the process.

Christy: Which is tragic because everything else is detail management. The content is the key to the meeting. Having it presented effectively is a critical component to the event’s strategic success. At the end of the day, if the food is average and there are no centerpieces, that doesn’t mean the event was a failure. If you have a logistically flawless event which does not provide measurable behavior change, THAT’s a failed event.

TLG: Planners tell us all the time that content is king. We can’t say enough how important it is to design content in a way that’s accessible to everyone. What goes up on that screen is important. You’ve spent all this money on a giant pretty screen with an elaborate set, but if you put up flawed graphics and content, it just falls apart.

We help our clients design content that works. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘Death by PowerPoint,’ but it still happens all the time.

Christy: I’m from the speaking world and can mentally hear a speaker pushing back if you ask them to rework a deck or reformat content. So, what do you do then?

TLG: We draw from our background of skills. One of my specialties is coaching. We spend time on stage coaching our presenters. We say, “Here’s where you should move, here’s what you should be thinking about, here’s how you can make that leap arc happen for you and then get the buy off you’re looking for.”

So many times, people write great speeches, but they don’t know how to deliver in a way that’s going to get the payoff. Then they rely on PowerPoint, which we know doesn’t work. Content helping content move forward is a huge focus for us.

Dennis has it right. One of the most consistent oversights which occurs when designing show content is that each presenter and presentation is developed in a silo, isolated from the others – not working together to move content forward.

Learn more about The Launch Group team in Part 5 – The “AHA” Moment.

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