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Last Build Date: Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:24:02 +0000


Unproductive? If your meetings are a joke, it’s time to change the punchline

Sat, 05 Dec 2015 15:00:07 +0000

By Adriana Girdler Jokes like the one above can be hurtful to the meeting and event planners who make putting on events their life’s work. The planners I know go to great lengths to ensure their meetings are productive, valuable experiences that result in creative outcomes and lead to action with impact. In fact, for many, meetings are a great collaboration tool that when structured and facilitated effectively, bring people together to resolve issues, enable brainstorming, develop new ideas and support the achievement of business goals and objectives. A Verizon-commissioned study Meetings in America V, found 92 per cent of meeting attendees value meetings as providing an opportunity to contribute, suggesting that successful meetings may be a contributing factor to employee job satisfaction. So, why are meetings so often the punchline of jokes? Large, out-of-the-office meeting events rarely fall into this category. Rather, these type of problematic meetings surface during the in-house meetings people attend within the context of their jobs. These day-to-day office meetings are often frustrating simply because, despite all of their intended virtues, it is not uncommon for people to spend whole days attending back-to-back, unproductive meetings that prevent them from getting to their actual work. In [...]

TIME Too little? Too much? Just right?

Tue, 01 Dec 2015 14:51:40 +0000

By Michelle Ray, CSP “Brevity is the best recommendation of speech, whether in a senator or an orator” ~ Cicero, circa 43 BC Fast-forward from Cicero to the new millennium and the ever-increasing popularity of the 12- to 18-minute “TED Talks.” Add the shorter attention spans of audiences and you can understand why meeting planners are rethinking the formats and agendas for their conferences. Even if a speaker has the celebrity status of a “Cicero”, satisfying the objectives of a client and vying for the attention of attendees has become a formidable task. More clients are asking for shorter presentations, but this doesn’t mean that 60- or 90-minute keynotes are passé. The key question for meeting planners should be, “What is the best way to build my agenda with as much value as possible?” Rather than focusing on time and “slots,” the best agenda is one that is designed with the goal firmly in mind. A presenter’s biggest challenge is keeping people’s attention in an age where many attendees tune out within seconds. The question should be less about “What is the ideal length” and more about “How can I best provide the value my client needs in the time [...]

THE TRUE VALUE OF THE MEETING Making every penny count translates into increased ROI

Sun, 15 Nov 2015 15:57:43 +0000

By Faith Wood, CSP, and Lani Donaldson When it comes to attending conferences, who is responsible for ensuring that delegates utilize the experience to assist the company they represent and not as extra vacation time? In an era where every dime counts, is it time to rethink or clarify expectations around return on investment? Typical case: we’ll call him Bob Bob works for a large oil and gas company. During his seven years with the company, he has always looked forward to attending the annual conference as a way of reconnecting with friends and colleagues as well as exploring what’s new in the industry. The time spent at these events helps him to refocus his energy and his productivity and, as a result, he feels it’s been beneficial for both him and the company. This year, Bob’s manager advised him that the company was looking to cut expenditures as a means of adapting to the economic slowdown and the decline in oil prices. The boss indicated that the company has not seen significant ROI (Return on Investment) from the annual conference and is contemplating discontinuing sending staff in the face of higher priorities. As many companies face similar decisions, the [...]

THE IRONY OF DIGITAL STREAMING How this technology actually enhances face-to-face engagement

Sun, 01 Nov 2015 14:54:49 +0000

By Leah Young, MBA As a long-time marketer, I was confronted by my own bias towards virtual events when a client of mine approached me excited about the idea of running a virtual conference to promote new research in lifestyle medicine. “Are you sure you want to go virtual?” I asked. “Don’t you think you’ll be missing out on forming the stronger relationships that come through face-to-face engagement?” While I appreciated that the touch-point costs of engaging with conference delegates virtually were likely to be lower than a live event and, as my client pointed out, “People want to consume information from the comfort of their homes now;” I was having trouble getting past the loss of face-to-face relationship building. However, when I raised this issue with Brian Swann, director of digital services for PSAV, he pointed out the great irony of digital streaming: it does not actually take away from but can enhance face-to-face connection. For Brian, the most significant value in streaming digital content comes when it is used in combination with face-to-face events. With digital streaming technology being so much more affordable (less than half the cost of attending face-to-face) and with on-demand access now so important [...]

On Being Socially Savvy

Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:31:53 +0000

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave…” By Michael Kerr, CSP, HoF If you’re in the meetings business and you’re not active on social media, chances are you are doing other things such as interacting with actual human beings, working productively, or sleeping. But, those are all rather pathetic excuses, frankly, for not getting more involved in social media. #pathetic Social media, you see, is where it’s at. You know how I know this? Someone on social media told me. And, if I wasn’t on social media, I never would have learned this. See how valuable it is? #seeItoldyouso But, it’s more than just where it’s at, it’s also who’s following who, who likes each other, and who’s linking up with whom. Yes, it’s the nightclub of the 21st Century. #backawaycreep Social media is, of course, the wild, wild west of marketing and promotion. But, considering it’s got the words “social” and “media” in it, how could any respectable meeting promoter not partake in a little S&M? Sure, there’s a lot of grey area, perhaps as many as 50 shades, so it can be a little painful at first, but don’t worry, I’m here to help guide you through the [...]

Future Vision

Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:12:37 +0000

The story as it appeared in Speaking of IMPACT, Summer 2006. A Second Look is an opportunity to revisit interesting stories from the Speaking of Impact archives. What better way to launch this new department than to re-read a futurist’s vision of the meetings industry written in 2006 and projecting the state of affairs in 2016.

Defining Value

Thu, 02 Jul 2015 16:54:15 +0000

What happens when you just can’t afford the speaker? By Lois Creamer Relationships drive the speaking business. Meeting planners, their clients, keynote speakers and, ultimately, their audiences expect a strong program and value for their investment. I recently returned from presenting to a National Speakers Association chapter. One of the most interesting questions posed was about the definition of value in our industry. How does a meeting planner define value when working with speakers? If a planner has a low budget but a desire to bring in a big speaker, how can that planner create value with a small budget? The planner could offer several valuable options to speakers. The speaker will be interested if they feel something is offered that would be equal to, or commensurate with their fee. Value, to each of us, can be different. You have to define it for yourself. It has much to do with what the speaker may need in their business at that time. Here is a list of what I think may be of “value” to a speaker. Referrals. Perhaps you can offer to be very proactive in bringing relationships and interest to your speaker. Offer to make calls on their [...]

Using Tech to Connect

Thu, 02 Jul 2015 16:10:37 +0000

From bums in seats to a connected community in 22 steps By Randall Craig, CSP Not so many years ago, meetings were the one time during the year when attendees could catch up with each other, learn from experts who speak and see the latest offerings from vendors at the trade show. Accordingly, meeting planners spent their time finding ways to market the meeting, improve the experience for attendees and, generally, put bums in seats. More seats meant a better meeting. Today, this has changed. Mobile, social media, webinars, tight economic times and other factors have meant that to compete in the marketplace of ideas, meeting planners need to do more, and do it different. For many, that means technology, but chasing the latest shiny tech costs time and money, without guarantees. A better approach is to invert the purpose and role of the meeting itself. Instead of the old model of driving attendees to the event using old-style marketing, consider the event itself as the driver/builder of an always-on community. Then, consider the community itself as the driver of the agenda (and the attendance) for the event. Large events (an annual convention) add large amounts of energy into the [...]

The Myths of Mirth

Thu, 02 Jul 2015 15:53:04 +0000

"The shortest distance between two people is one laugh" - VICTOR BORGE

Culture: the Roots of Your Organization

Mon, 22 Jun 2015 20:11:02 +0000

What does culture have to do with buffet breakfast? By Jo-Anne Hill Culture is the driver of business performance. It is the nucleus or foundation before anything else, even before the strategy is determined. “If I had to do it again, I would start with culture,” stated Jean Monnet, regarded by many as the chief architect of unifying Europe. Commenting on Monnet’s quote, Peter Aspden wrote in the Financial Times, “To focus on the continent’s most profound sense of common values could have set it (Europe) off on the right foot.” Whether it’s unifying Europe, establishing the direction for an organization or orchestrating a meeting, defining the culture, an umbrella term for finding the common or shared values of the individuals that make up the organization, is the first place to start to develop any successful endeavour. Positive values such as integrity, respect, innovation, caring, humour, quality or whatever values are deemed to be the core values of the organization create the foundation for working together as a team and it only makes sense that they are embedded into the meeting program. What is Organizational Culture? Culture is described as the roots of an organization. It is the beliefs, customs and [...]