The value of meetings is an important focus for many companies, as they balance the investment in the event with the perceived and actual returns, ideally with a measurable return on investment (ROI). Based on our research, we recommend focusing on three main areas to measure meeting ROI — learning, networking and loyalty — beginning with pre-meeting, continuing during the meeting and concluding with the post-meeting.

Learning

The value of participant learning is a critical part of measuring the overall ROI. Designing the meeting with the learner focus and catering the learning to attendees will help increase your ROI for learning. In addition, it will help you identify strategies to support your communications so that attendee expectations are met.

Networking

“Networking is a common reason participants attend meetings, and it occurs in many forms, both planned and unplanned.”

Networking is a common reason participants attend meetings, and it occurs in many forms, both planned and unplanned. The value of networking is in the outcomes that lead to improved employee performance, innovation and customer success. Meeting professionals need to consider participant goals and how the meeting’s design aligns with their needs.

Loyalty

Building loyalty has become an increasingly important objective of meetings. It leads to many positive outcomes, including greater customer and employee retention, positive word of mouth, advocacy and higher levels of motivation — all of which have a meaningful impact on ROI.

To ensure value is being measured for learning, networking and loyalty in your meetings, here are some helpful tips based on our Measuring Meeting Value research.

Pre-meeting

  • Determine the level, amount and type of learning that will occur during the meeting
  • Ask participants who express interest in learning to suggest topics
  • Calculate the average cost of learning per hour for meeting participants
  • Design the learning to cater to the needs of the participants

During the meeting

  • Monitor and gather social media activity of meeting participants
  • Observe implicit feedback

Post-meeting

  • Send surveys to a random sample of participants with questions on learning, networking and loyalty
  • Incentivize and send reminders for survey completion
  • Send interview invitations to a random sample of participants

In addition, planners and designers should have a clearly stated meeting objective and purpose and communicate them both in advance to all participants; establish measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) that you want to improve, such as close ratio, reduction in account receivables days and increase in average sales; and then measure the results/impact on designated KPIs.

Using this approach, we are confident you will increase engagement, enhance the robustness of ROI claims and improve the chance of those returns being achieved.