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Is Bigger Really Better?

When it comes to corporate meetings, is bigger really better?

With large annual meetings, attendees enjoy a sense of unity amongst all the regions or departments within an organization. Executives are happy because one large meeting is less time consuming. Not to mention, you get more bang for your buck. Think one stage setup versus four stages in four different cities – that’s four times the work.

On the other hand, the opportunity and business environment in each region will nearly always necessitate a different approach. From a global perspective, this means the difference of Asia-Pacific and say, the Americas. The tactics are just going to be different. It’s like trying to plug your iPhone into an Android charger. Smaller regional meetings allow for more focus on that region’s specific needs and culture.

All and all, much like anything else, there are always pros and cons to each method.

One Size Does Not Fit All
Choosing between larger and smaller meetings has nothing to do with size. Instead, it has everything to do with the purpose of the business.

Perhaps, you are facing a pivotal time in the organization. For instance, introducing a new leadership team or launching a new product. The substantial savings and unified messaging of one large annual meeting might look more attractive compared to the alternative. Besides, even in a large meeting, you can still break your group out into their geographical regions or by the product they sell.

Now, let’s say you’ve been receiving the following feedback from your attendees,

“It’s all great and wonderful that we are getting the big picture for the whole company. But, I look after the Americas. What we are striving to do is very different than that of EMEA. I rarely have enough time to meet with my team to go over our challenges.”

In this case, some businesses might decide smaller regional meetings are a better fit. Either way, there is no one size fits all. You have to look at the purpose of the meeting and decide what is the best fit for a particular year.

The True Cost
Aside from the obvious, there are different costs associated with each method.

Say you are a company, who always hosts one large annual meeting. I bet if we were to look at your sales numbers for the year, it would be fairly evident which week your meeting was held on. For some organizations, having an entire sales force out at the same time is simply too big of a hit. As a result, companies split the group into smaller regional meetings to avoid any significant drop in sales.

That said, regional meetings come with costs that aren’t necessarily measured in dollar signs. As already stated, multiple meetings are far more time consuming for executives and presenters. Keeping the message consistent from meeting to meeting can easily become a challenge. What if the CEO can only make three out of four meetings? That leaves one region feeling slighted because they heard the message, or a variation of it, from a different source.

In the end, regardless of which meeting you choose, it is important to take the time to revisit your process every number of years. Make sure the meeting or meetings you are hosting are returning the investment. Ask yourself, if this method is the right one for your organization and for your people.

Until next time!