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Thinking Things

A Walk You Need To Take


Between associations pounding the drums in Washington, advocacy experts spreading the word in forums near and far, andsocial media threadsoffering diverse opinions on what’s right, wrong, what could and should be done when it comes to elevating the stature of the meetings industry, there’s only one thing for corporate meetings professionals to do to take the issue beyond mere words: get a voice in the executive suite.
 
Some gaudy numbers have been attached to our industry to confirm its relevance.

Wall Street Wake-Up Call - The Sequel

It was an inadvertent  wake-up call, initiated by a Wall Street Journal commentary ripping the meetings industry to shreds. And you know what? It woke us up!
 
After Holly Finn’s column referred to meetings as “Bordellos for the Brain,” we got mad. But we maintained our cool – for the most part. The outpouring of comments were heartening and on the money. My favorite was from the Convention Industry Council’s Karen Kotowski who noted in  her letter to the WSJ   that they chose not to print, “The editors of

The Inadvertent Wall Street Wake-Up Call


Thanks for reminding us what we’re up against and how far we have to go.
 
In the days since reading Holly Finn’s cynical and scathing assessment of the meetings and conventions industry in The Wall Street Journal, my mood has changed from outrage to anger to frustration to hunger (it was dinner time) to concern and then to excitement and exhilaration. Ms. Finn basically tore apart our industry, painting us as a bunch of Good Time Charlies who like to spend lavishly, party endlessly, and think, learn and network less than occasionally.

Too Many Awards -- Or Not Enough?

The principal of my daughter’s elementary school many years ago went on and on at an assembly praising staff members and volunteer parents for a variety of contributions. “I know we tend to thank a lot of people around here and it’s taking a long time,” she said in a friendly, unapologetic tone. “But that’s too bad!” She had an instant fan.
 
Leadership gurus preach the value and necessity of appropriate praise as a cornerstone to generating intended results. Like pistachio nuts, investments and extra golf balls, it’s one of those things you can’t have enough of.

What is an Endorsement Worth?

With elation, curiosity and confusion, I was notified that my daughter had endorsed me for Advertising, Social Media Marketing and Events using LinkedIn’s Endorsement mechanism. It was awkward getting her stamp of approval for professional prowess -- I could see perhaps Love and Understanding, Financial Support and Always Being There.
 
I was unfamiliar with the feature at the time. Then I started getting endorsements from people with whom I’ve worked, touting me in areas that often drew their ire and criticism.

A Simple Holiday Wish

So there was Dad out of nowhere standing in our yard – totally unexpected. Didn’t even see the car. He looks great, good shape, that perpetual smile I was lucky to inherit, hair blowing gently in the wind as early winter leaves take their final toss. When did he get the dog – so cute, and frisky pulling at his leash? What a nice surprise.
 
Thing is, Dad died 51 years ago.
 
At a recent gathering of friends, we went around the room answering the question of whom we would have dinner with if we could choose any one person living or dead.

Thinking About the Way You Think


As I entered the dry cleaner this morning, my friend behind the counter was serving another customer and, while doing so, told me to drop my clothes on a side table. We’re pretty informal around here – I don’t need a ticket, and only now and then does he lose something. Rather than just leave my clothes and run, I had to alert him to a special request on a torn sweater. But my reply was cut off by the other customer being served, who looked me straight in the eye and shouted, “Why don’t you shut up and wait your turn.

The Cold Truth

For a recent assignment, I had to make 50 to 100 cold calls a week. That’s actual conversations. Here’s a composite of how I fared, using a moderate degree of industry expertise, strategic phone sense, and charm:
 
15% - No interest, goodbye
21% - Polite no-thanks in seconds, not long enough to hear my accent
15% - Will pass info on to someone else (who may or may not work for the same company and who may or may not be born yet)
30% - Tolerant listening but minimal interest, inviting me to send materials (no environmentalists, for sure)

A Misguided Assumption?

This week I discovered the answer to life’s burning question can be as close as your next lunch.

Okay, so I wasn’t asking what reality is, whether God exists, or which candidate will carry Florida. I just wanted to know whether corporate meeting planners hire independent meeting planners.
 
You’re disappointed, I can tell. But I’m not taking on God in this post.
 
Humor me for a moment. Tell me you find it the least bit interesting that the very morning an independent meeting planner says she doesn’t want to waste time networking with corporate meeting planners because their companies don't hire independents, a noteworthy corporate planner says at a luncheon that her company hires independent meeting planners.

Using Passion as a Prerequisite, Size Matters

Would you rather belong to a club of 800 with 20 percent engaged members or a club of 200 with 100 percent passionate ones?

I thought about this at a recent gathering of Meeting Professional International  Greater New York’s Board of Directors. I am entering my second term on the Board’s Executive Committee – first as VP of Marketing and now as VP of Education. In both roles, my job is to help figure out how to engage members, present chapter happenings in an interesting manner, and create programs that will draw people from their computer screens into the real world of networking and participation.
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