Jargon buster Part 1 – SMM

Updated: Feb 3, 2020

There’s a common misconception that a strategic meetings management programme can be a challenge to navigate without specialist knowledge and expertise.

Perhaps this is a result of the host of industry specific language and jargon that can often put planners off before they even get started.

Well fear not – at NYS, we’ve put together a jargon busting list of common terms to help you begin your SMM journey. Take a look…


We were going to start off with a slick alphabetical system but that can wait until we’ve tackled one of our most significant terms, SMM, which stands for strategic meetings management.

SMM is a metric and data-driven initiative for managing meetings more efficiently and effectively. SMM aids smarter buying, giving visibility and control of meetings spend, while putting delegate wellbeing at its core.

Now let’s get back to ‘A’…


This term relates to additional service providers outside of the primary vendors – often providing products and services in a supplementary or supporting role. This could be AV, team build as well as food and beverage suppliers. Did you know that most businesses spend as much as 85% on travel and ancillaries when booking meetings?

Cost avoidance

Cost avoidance is a way of decreasing your costs by lowering a potential increase in expenses.


Delegates are the attendees or guests at a meeting or event.

Fully managed programme

SMM programme devices and policies that are applicable to all meetings and events company-wide.

Partially managed programme

An SMM programme whereby some elements are mandated but others remain optional.

Unmanaged programme

No formal programme exists, meaning that SMM procedures are only advisory as meeting planners make their own decisions.

Internal meetings

Meetings that make use of an organisation’s own meeting rooms and spaces. Optimisation of an internal estate can be an effective way of saving on the cost of external meetings. At NYS, we help organisations maximise the use of their internal space through our specialist technology MeetingsPro.

External meetings

Meetings that take place outside of an organisation’s internal estate which often require cost consideration for room hire, equipment and food. A good SMM programme will reduce external meeting costs through a variety of methods.

Lead time

The amount of time between a venue enquiry and when the event takes place. Lead times can impact the cost of your meeting.


This is the sway that an organisation has in negotiating rates or concessions. By firstly analysing and harnessing data insight into organisational spend which includes combined meetings and business travel spend, companies can be even more effective in gaining better concessions and rates.


A performance measure key to meeting planners and organisations. This refers to the ratio between the net profit made and the cost of investment in the production of an event. A term that stands for Return on Investment; in the meetings and events world, this can be measured either directly as a financial return or as an indirect output such as employee engagement or improved organisational performance.

Small meetings

A standard industry measurement of a small meeting is defined as meetings of less than 20 delegates.

Standard operating procedures

Standard operating procedures (SOP) are written, step-by-step instructions that describe how to perform a routine activity. This process is a common way to implement an SMM programme – designed to offer easily adopted instructions for planners to use.

Stakeholders (Internal)

Internal stakeholders are people who work within your organisational structure. They can be your events team, co-workers, your boss, your boss’ boss and/or the board of directors.

Stakeholders (External)

External stakeholders are people that you don’t work with, but who have some relationship to the event and can be positively or negatively affected by its outcomes. They can be your sponsors, exhibitors, vendors, paying attendees, association members, speakers and industry thought leaders, among others.


This is a term that is often brought up alongside data analysis – describing the ability to recognise insights. SMM programmes providing insights into the meeting and event spend will allows organisations to understand their volume with individual venues and brands. This insight into spend data results in a more powerful position during venue negotiations.

Virtual meetings/conferences

Virtual meetings are those where attendees don’t need to meet face to face but can use technology to see or hear people. Using video technology to broadcast an event or meeting to participants unable to attend in person or as an alternative to holding an external meeting. This technology provides an option that can reduce both the associated costs of hiring a venue and the transport costs related to delegates travelling there.

Value adds

Additional products or services that can be added to a booking on top of those being agreed in the contract. In addition to organisation’s own meetings programmes, at NYS, we also have our own value adds programme called Meetings first – which offers value added benefits to all of our customers, regardless of their size.

If you’d like to know more about strategic meetings management, we've got just the thing; our in-depth dive into SMM. Download it here!