Five mindsets can influence the outcome of a meeting. In a blog post entitled “Attitudes That Separate Growing, Healthy Conferences From Declining Ones,” Jeff Hurt discusses the major factors that he believes make the difference between a robust or a lackadaisical meeting.
1. Actionable Metrics versus Vanity Metrics
According to Hurt, leaders of healthy conferences focus on actionable metrics that can be used to make important future decisions. Actionable metrics include such things as the percentage of those in education sessiosn at any given time versus the total number of attendees, or exactly who is participating in the conference rather than the sheer number of how many are in attendance.
In contrast, Hurt believes that leaders of declining conferences focus on vanity metrics such as registration pace, the number of sponsors or the number of speakers. They are more concerned about annual revenue and expenses, rather than percentage invested into the attendee experience. While Hurt believes vanity metrics may make conference leaders feel good, they don’t permit leaders to identify future opportunities.
2. Guiding Principles versus Members’ Preferences
Hurt thinks it is a mistake to focus on the concerns of a small but potentially vocal minority who might complain about the opening session speaker, the lunch or the destination where the meeting was held. He points out that since planners cannot please everybody, it is unproductive to respond to the preferences of a handful of critics.
The more sensible approach, according to Hurt, is to focus on the principles and strategies that will help companies reach their target audiences and drive their missions. He thinks the mindset should be more about addressing future challenges, rather than trying to fix last year’s problems.
3. Proactive versus Reactive Approach
Hurt maintains that leaders must be proactive and refrain from yielding to the agendas of others that might divert them from their missions. He says reactive approaches waste valuable time and impede leaders from charting future growth.
4. Now versus Eventually
Impact meeting outcomes by taking action in a timely manner, rather than procrastinating. Unsuccessful leaders may have good intentions, but nothing is gained if they fail to follow through.
5. Meeting for Talk versus Meeting for Action
Oftentimes people meet for the sake of meeting, or waste time in what are ultimately unproductive meetings. Hurt believes leaders who spend time debating menu selection, room set-ups or other logistics are too focused on execution rather than outcome, and lose the vision and strategy for their event. He thinks it is more imperative to spend the valuable time figuring out how to move the company forward. According to Hurt, action produces traction. He recommends making decisions, especially about the important issues.