A Rolex watch, Waterford Crystal, a Birdie in golf. Wouldn’t you say these are examples of excellence? So, how do you define excellence for your meetings, your career or your life?
When I was studying for the CMP exam, Goals and Objectives (G&O) were drummed into us as the ultimate basis for every decision we would make and by which we would evaluate the outcomes. G&O is the very definition of excellence.
If you want to make the best watch in the world, you make that your goal. Your objectives then are to determine the components that make it the best watch and the absolute best way to assemble it. However, that’s not what makes the watch excellent. You have to test its performance against the original goal as well. Does it keep time according to standard measurements? Does it exceed those measurements in reliability or performance?
Apply the same process to your meetings. What is the goal for the event? How are you going to achieve your goal (objectives)? How are you going to measure the outcome? Once you have these answers, you can determine if your meeting was excellent.
At a user conference I was managing, a very important client emerged from a session and saw one of her colleagues. She jumped for joy and said, “I just learned the most amazing thing!” I thought to myself, this is why I do this. It felt great!
So that’s the thing. Excellence is a value set by others. A Rolex is just a watch, but people have placed a high value on the brand and their expectations of the product. They will do the same for the meetings they attend.
They may not know you had to substitute a lesser-priced wine in order to meet your budget. They won’t know the hotel’s plumbing system was shut down the day before they all arrived. What they will know is whether the meeting met and exceeded their expectations—their own goals and objectives.
Setting expectations helps you set the tone for the meeting and set the attendee’s G&O. You tell them the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How, which gives them enough information to form an opinion and decide to attend. Then—and this is important—you have to create an experience that goes beyond the expectations the attendee arrives with. If you can delight your attendees by what appeals to them, your meeting will be perceived as excellent.