By: Chris Gasbarro
Did the owner of a meeting & event business just encourage you to have less meetings?
Yes, I did.
In social conversations, about the fourth question in after sharing my name, where I live, and what I do for living is, "How's business?" I have a very simple, well-rehearsed answer, "Good or bad economy, people always meet, and in fact, when thing's aren't great, organizations meet more."
That's just not small talk. Having experienced a couple downturns in 2001 and 2008 when the economy was sluggish, organizations and leaders gathered more frequently to communicate the "Everything is going to be alright" mantra. Don't get me wrong - I support cascading communication and transparency. However, I advise most leaders to be consistent in their meeting portfolio, have a "long road" view of their strategy of communicating to employees and customers, and check the brakes on short-term zags for the sake of getting people together.
So here's the part of the story that our procurement colleagues and CFO's love - meeting less can result in reducing costs, time, resources and planning, all of which is awesome. Another significant outcome that I would actually position as more impactful for organizations, is that if you review your portfolio of meetings and pull back on 1 or 2, when you do gather , it can be much more powerful. There are some great parallels in the economics of supply vs. demand that can be applied to company meetings, customer events, and product launches. I would offer a "curate" approach that intentionally crafts the limited gatherings to achieve the goals and outcomes your organization prioritizes - from employee retention to sales goals, thoughtful and well planned meetings work in good and bad economic conditions.
So go ahead, try meeting less... just make sure you collaborate with us, first.