Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs is probably one of the most well-known theories in human psychology. Devised in the year 1943, it remains one of the most relevant models that elucidate human motivation, fulfillment, and development. For the uninitiated, the Hierarchy of Needs is a five-tier pyramid that depicts human needs stacked in order of necessity.
From the bottom-up, the five tiers are: survival, security, social, esteem, and self-actualization. The first pyramid can be further be broken down, with the first four tiers being clubbed under deficiency needs and the fifth being defined as a growth or development need.
Before we dive into the application of the theory, it is crucial to bring into perspective the roles and responsibilities of meeting professionals in order to understand how they play into their needs. Broadly, meeting professionals are hugely responsible for ensuring that the marketing and sales teams have as many meetings as required to nurture opportunities and build a pipeline of qualified sales opportunities. They are also responsible for logistics, quality of meetings, participation, meeting spaces and confirmations. Needless to say, they have a lot going on and are underappreciated heroes that often go unrecognized. With that said, let’s dive into the Hierarchy of Needs for Meetings Professionals at events.
Tier 1 – Physiological needs
The base of the pyramid encompasses the most basic set of requirements for survival. In general terms, it represents the need for food, water, air, etc., and are paramount to the basic function and physiological well-being of the individual. In the context of meeting professionals, physiological factors can be equated to criteria that are deemed basic to their job. For this reason, the existence of events can be equated to the fuel they require to survive. Moreover, the existence of a company that participates in these trade shows and specifically drives business through strategic meetings can be considered a basic need.
Tier 2 – Security needs
The second rung of the pyramid represents security needs such as shelter from the elements, a safe environment, and release from fear. For meeting professionals, this need has a direct drawing to the budget to attend the event. A budget most certainly dictates how much investment goes into the campaign and determines the projection of the company. But by no means does a large investment guarantee better results.
Security can, in a sense, also mean the number of meetings pre-scheduled for the event. A high number of pre-scheduled meetings also ensures that a certain pipeline of business is spoken for and based on conversion rates, can often persuade budget controllers (typically the Director of Events) to allot budgets. Moreover, pre-scheduled meetings not only helps internal attendees understand the pipeline associated with them and therefore drive better outcomes.
Tier 3 – Societal needs
Once security needs are realized, the individual looks to fulfill societal needs. These needs are closely bound to acceptance, affiliation, love, and belonging. In context, meetings form the backbone of every event and trade show campaign. Organizing these meetings involve multiple approvals, coordinating with multiple personnel, and ensuring they are a success. More often than not, these tasks are carried out by a team of people and therefore, every meeting professional craves to be a part of a successful team that drives productive meetings.
Tier 4 – Esteem needs
Esteem forms the fourth rung in the pyramid and represents the highest order of deficiency needs. These needs are of two types: one that appeals to the individual’s standing and stature within social apparatus and the second appeals to a personal sense of accomplishment. For meeting professionals, being an irreplaceable member of the team, meeting targets, and ensuring meetings drive as much revenue as they possibly can is of paramount importance.
Tier 5 – Self-actualization
The peak of the pyramid represents the need to achieve one’s absolute potential. In essence, these needs encompass the need for growth and peak experiences. Being a high performing member of the Events team brings with it rewards and recognition. But it does not just stop with personal gain; this category of needs not only requires the individual to be successful but also brings in the need for the company to grow. Performance metrics have a big role to play in this stage. Measurement and attribution of influenced revenue, pipeline growth, and winning opportunities can significantly contribute to realizing self-actualization needs.
The theory has found vast applications in numerous fields such as psychology, and cognitive studies as well as business-related such as marketing, sales, and human resource management. The above elucidation is just an example of its application in the realm of events and trade shows.