How can you get your boss, the Board/Executive on your side? You have a great idea for your conference—an event app that’s going to engage your delegates and organizers in a new and innovative way. You’re probably feeling excited (way to innovate!) and slightly apprehensive (um, how exactly am I going to convince my boss; Board; and Executive it’s worthwhile?).

To quote Corbin Ball, Meetings Technology Analyst and leader in the events industry: “The meeting industry is seeing substantial change from these forces. It is likely that apps and mobile devices will create more technology change in the next five years than technology in general has in the past fifteen years. The event app, used by only 9% of meeting planners in 2011, has become an expected component of many events, with strong growth expected.”

Remember, pitching a project to your boss is like pitching anything else—you need to look at the cost-benefit analysis from his or her perspective. To sway your supervisor that your brainchild is the way to go, be prepared with answers to the questions that will be on his or her mind. So, let’s talk about how to do it, even when your superiors are quick to embrace new ideas or slow to change and quick to reject any idea that challenges the status quo. Two words: Preparation and presentation.

Know your stuff!

To show your boss your idea is a good one, do a little research. Search for just a few pieces of the most relevant data you can. Don’t overdo it!

  • In this case, for example, you might look for stats showing event apps are proving to be quite successful when introduced to any demographic. Or research that supports the argument that you can increase sponsorship visibility taking your app from a cost centre to a revenue generator.
  • Check out the Event Apps Bible for planners.

Touch Base With Your Planner Colleagues!

It’s always good to know what’s going on in your industry below the radar, at the micro-strategic level—that alone
should impress people. Your idea is more likely to be well-received if you can present it in terms of what’s happening in the event industry. What are they doing? How do you stack up in comparison vis a vis introducing innovative ideas?

Ask Your Own Delegates What They Want!

Refer to your own post-con surveys. Have any of your colleagues asked the “technology question” in the post-
conference surveys? What were there findings? Have you asked your delegates if they are ready to move towards using more e-tools and a conference app? If you’ve asked the question, tie it into your report/presentation.

Show Them the Money!

Want to make absolutely certain your idea is at least heard? Involve dollar signs and reference them often. Show how your suggestions will add value to the company and translate into more dollar signs, and—I promise—the execs will at least give your idea a longer look. Then, if they like it, they’ll feel better about investing time or money in executing it. And if your grand idea is a way to actually save company money, you’re almost guaranteed an audience for at least a few minutes.

Prepare your Report/Presentation

Always prepare a short and concise Executive Summary citing: What? Why? Where? When? Who? What?
Budget Impacts? In all honesty, this is most likely be the only section that will be read in its entirety, so make it

The following is a sample table of contents that you could use as a basis to make your argument for moving toward introducing a conference app.

What? Include:

  • Identify your idea/innovative clearly and concisely

Why? Include:

  • The rationale as to why you think an event app is the way to go?
  • Research papers that you have read
  • Any member/staff surveys results and comparative data

Where? Include:

  • Where will most of the work be done?

When? Include:

  • Your implementation strategy
  • Your project plan

Who? Include:

  • Work impact on staff
  • Who will be doing most of the work
  • Which suppliers have you queried and what are their comparables?

Budget? Include:

  • The financial impacts
    o How much does it cost?
    o What other budget line items can you reduce such as printing costs.
    o How can you make money? Increased sponsor visibility = increase sponsorship fees; involve your exhibitors in a game and charge them a little extra if they want to be a part of that game that could
    result in more meaningful conversations with your delegates.

Follow these steps, and you’ll be one step closer to making your app idea a reality