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Thinking Things

My Five Favorite Posts of 2013


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.


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.


Between associations pounding the drums in Washington, advocacy experts spreading the word in forums near and far, and social media threads offering 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.


If given the choice at a professional education event, would you rather listen to an engaging speaker and get a new idea or two, or meet everybody in the room one-on-one for at least three minutes? 
I’ve been wrestling with this question, and, as Vice President of Education for Meeting Professionals International’s Greater New York Chapter responsible for program development, I am most interested in the answer.
 
History tells us compelling topics and charismatic speakers carry the day, draw people away from their computer screens, and send them merrily into the night.


A common sequence surrounding a discussion of ROI in the meetings industry:
  1. Speaker says measuring ROI is essential for validating and continuing to have events, as well as helping in many cases to validate jobs.
  2. Others nod in agreement.
  3. Speaker points to statistics indicating most companies do little or nothing to measure ROI.
  4. Others nod in agreement, some staring down at their notepads.
  5. Speaker encourages and energizes others to go back to the office, work to penetrate the layers of executive decision-making, and make ROI a priority.

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