You’ve worked with your stakeholders to define their corporate event objectives; you know what they want to accomplish by hosting the event and what they want the results to be back at work after the event. You’ve selected the best location, activities, and complementary details to achieve these objectives while engaging and entertaining attendees. Now it’s time to present your vision to your stakeholders so you can get their approval to move forward with your plan.
How do you pitch your event ideas in a way that speaks to your stakeholders and gets straight to a “yes”?
Set a Meeting
Meet with your stakeholders face-to-face so you can present your vision in a way that helps them see it too. With the chance to read the room, answer questions and address concerns in-the-moment, and generally enter into a dialogue, you can ensure that stakeholders understand the connection between your ideas and their objectives.
Before you meet, prepare a one-page summary that clearly outlines the main points, and have any visuals you plan to present ready to go. As you prepare your pitch, aim to be as concise as possible; if your stakeholders what more detail, trust that they will ask during the meeting.
Have All of the Information
Before your pitch-meeting be sure to gather all of the information you can on your desired plan. Even though your initial pitch should be concise, being prepared with the details will enable you to answer questions accurately. By having all of the details about the agenda items you’ve selected, and vetting vendors in advance of your meeting, you take the burden off of your stakeholders.
In addition, they will inevitably have questions around budget. Know the details about each vendor, what’s included in their costs, and have an outline of the budget with you. This instills confidence in your stakeholders that you have everything handled and they don’t have to worry about a thing.
Speak Their Language
Stakeholders and C-suite executives are concerned about the bottom line, return on investment, and ensuring that time spent away from the office is well spent. With this in mind, you’ll want to be prepared to speak in terms of your value proposition.
- Objectives - Show how the plan you’re presenting achieves the event objectives, and how it contributes to overall business objectives.
- Budget - Discuss how you’ve allocated the event budget in a way that prioritizes event objectives, and speak in terms of the return on investment they can expect. For example, if you’ve allocated a higher amount to a team building activity while trimming the per-plate cost of catering, show how the value of the activity outweighs the value of serving waygu beef at dinner.
- Benefits - Speak in terms of the benefits of your plan rather than assuming that they are obvious to stakeholders. Some examples include making employees feel valued, gaining buy-in for upcoming change, aligning employees with strategic goals, increasing teamwork and collaboration across departments, inspiring behavior change to improve performance, and so on.
- Measurement - Whenever it is possible, and makes sense to do so, discuss how the outcomes can be measured. Whether it is in terms of feedback surveys or a change in a performance metric back on the job, finding a way to measure the outcomes reassures stakeholders that the value can be proven.
In addition, show that you have anticipated possible obstacles and discuss how you would handle them. This shows stakeholders that you are prepared for anything and that the event will be successful even if something goes wrong.
Pro-tip: If you know you’ve picked the right agenda items for your audience and your stakeholder goals, but anticipate potential push-back during your pitch meeting, ask your vendors the questions you know you will get from your stakeholders. Chances are good that they have encountered questions before, and they will be equipped with examples and information you can use to inform your own answers for your stakeholders.
Approaching your pitch confidently gives the impression that what you are presenting to your stakeholders is the very best. From the best activities for achieving event objectives with measurable outcomes, to the best vendor-partners to create a valuable and engaging experience for attendees, your stakeholders will know you have it in hand.
Don’t get flustered if you face push-back in your pitch-meeting — you’ve prepared for this! Confidently answering your stakeholders’ questions demonstrates that you’ve done your homework and created this plan specifically around their objectives. Show them that you’re working toward the same goal: an awesome event with a positive ROI. Since this is a collaborative effort, it will require some give-and-take along the way to make your stakeholders happy.
We know you know how to plan a corporate event that will wow your attendees and get the results your stakeholders are looking for, but it can take some effort to prepare a pitch that will make your vision as clear to your stakeholders as it is to you. Being prepared will give your stakeholders the confidence that you understand their goals and can get results — and will get you the “yes” you are looking for.