Customer Advisory Board Agenda Development: It’s a Balancing Act

The spring meetings have wound down, the heat of summer is in full effect, and now it is time to turn our attention to the fall, with another round of customer advisory board meetings just around the corner. With many of the meetings a mere 10-12 weeks away, what is the secret sauce to creating a compelling, dynamic agenda that addresses the needs of both the host company and the CAB members? Well, I can’t share the secret sauce, but I can offer 3 steps to developing agendas that will help keep those at the table engaged.

  1. Hot buttons. What are the hot topics for the sponsor company? Are these topics ongoing dialogues or a new strategy? Are they new focal points highlighting new products, services or strategies where time is of the essence to get the new information in front of key customers before the competition does? Do these hot buttons align with the imperatives of the CAB customer members? Regular calls with key executives from the sponsor company and CAB members can unearth so much information and help to create a Venn diagram of sorts where there is overlap of the priority areas.
  2. Less is more. It is a fine, fine line between having too few and too many topics on the agenda. Too many, and it is a snorkel session where many things are covered, but none in great depth. Too few and you risk an agenda that is not compelling to everyone. Finding the right balance between the number of sessions and also how long to allot for each session can be a challenge. We find that for a full day agenda or two half days, if you pick a meaty topic or two and add one, potentially two shorter exploratory sessions you’ll strike a chord in terms of the snorkel problem and will keep your board members engaged and even wanting more (handy for future agenda development!).
  3. Mix it up. Nothing is worse than an agenda that features the same type of format session after session. Break up the agenda with facilitated roundtable discussions, member-led cases, and sponsor company presentations complete with numerous use cases. While you’re at it, ensure that your agenda has breaks at the right times to keep that energy level up and make the most of the networking opportunities that CAB meetings provide.

These three points may seem like no-brainers; but they can be often overlooked or underappreciated. By focusing on the agenda formation early in the development cycle, you will have time to consider these tips and more as you create the best agenda yet for your Board.

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