Anxiety is anxious times

Posted 1 week, 2 days ago @

stress anxiety

I turned 50 years old last year. Leading up to the milestone birthday, I found myself getting angrier and angrier by the day. Just about everything made me mad. To rescue me from divorce, I agreed with my spouse to see a therapist. Turns out I was anxious. Very anxious.

The therapy proved helpful and I learned a great deal about anxiety. I’m reminded about what the therapist and I discussed as I hunker down and prepare to ride out the COVID-19 crisis, along with the rest of my friends, colleagues and co-workers, who make up the meeting industry—a vital aspect our work, our community and our economy.

Breathe

One of my biggest challenges was learning to breathe. Breathing is a blessing. I know, we’re all breathing all the time, but to focus on it takes skill. At least for me. It also helps. Tremendously. It gives me time to think, reflect and contemplate how threatening my situation is. Just how dangerous is it standing in the checkout line at Harris Teeter? How threatening is turning 50 years old?

Breathing lets me focus and look for positive elements, things to be grateful for. It’s also healthier. It helps slow my pulse, reduce my blood pressure and gain a different perspective. Once or twice, I have erupted in laughter when I realized how irrational my anger had been.

I’m not an emotional or medical specialist, but in a nutshell, anxiety is a life-saving predisposition that’s part of our ingrained fight-or-flight instinct. Without it, we humans might not have survived long enough to reach today.

zebras running

In the wild, a zebra munching on grass in the African plain, is calm and anxiety-free. Until he senses the nearby lion, crouched and ready to pounce. Then the zebra’s anxiety level spikes and off he darts, his flight response robotically engaging. When he evades the threat, when the lion gives up the chase, the zebra goes back to his vegetarian meal and his anxiety level returns to zero, his tail unconsciously swatting at harmless flies.

Unlike wild animals, human anxiety levels don’t always work that fittingly. Sometimes when we perceive a threat, be it legit or not, our anxiousness grows. The complexity of our lives—work, family, bills, health, traffic congestion—can trigger responses that make mundane or routine things feel threatening and propel our angst soaring.

Act as if you’re already infected

With the novel coronavirus, it certainly feels like we’re being threatened, right? You might expect some anxiety. Co-mingle that with a rush on toilet paper, Purell and frozen foods and you might feel like a zebra being hunted by a lion. However, experts say don’t panic, stay calm, act as if you’re already infected.

We still have some control. Following COVID-19 protocols is important. By doing so, we actually reduce the threat. Less threat equals less anxiety. Cut back on media. Leaving CNN on while reading The Washington Post while trolling Facebook hurts in at least two ways: reduces focus and increases anxiety. Stick with limited resources. I recommend the CDC for coronavirus news/updates and one or two local media outlets, to keep abreast of updates in your community. If you need industry-related updates, check out MPI’s page dedicated to novel coronavirus news and resources.

Help fight off the feeling of isolation by staying in touch with friends and family, be it via Facetime, Google Hangout or a simple phone call. I rang my cousin, Ian, who lives in a Boston suburb, and felt relief just knowing someone else shares some of the same worries, even if he is more than 900 miles away. But seeing someone else’s face can make an immense difference. And not just for you.

Don’t forget to move. We’re prone to sit, especially at home or at a desk. Get the blood flowing and increase those endorphins. Try not to think of this as isolation, but as “me” time or a chance to look for new opportunities or tackle chores. This coronavirus might be with us for a bit, so keep the creative juices flowing.

You have a large community to lean on and we’re all experiencing some frustration, challenges and tribulations, but in an arena with lots of patience, inspiration and knowledge. Don’t let it go to waste. Anxiety can be unhealthy, so don’t let it control you. We’ll get through this.

In the meantime, remember to breathe.

 

The post Anxiety is anxious times appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

Coronavirus: Suppliers’ View

Posted 3 weeks, 2 days ago @

Last month, I deployed a survey for MPI of meeting professionals (planners and suppliers) to gauge the concern related to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and its impact on the meeting and event industry. (You can see those complete results here.)

Most recently, we wrapped a subsequent survey specific to the experiences and opinions of industry suppliers re: the impact of this virus. In the field between March 3-5, the survey had 217 respondents. Here’s what we found.

Cancellations

cancellations

Notably, in mid-February, 80% of respondents said their meetings/events had not been affected by the virus. This time around, we specifically asked about cancellations (a big step up from simply “affected”) and 73% of suppliers said they have encountered these as a result of the virus.

Business impact

business impact

Here, we see that 65% of suppliers expect less business in 2020 thanks to the novel coronavirus; 26% believe they’ll have more business as a result.

Concerncoronavirus concern

A total 95% of suppliers are concerned about the business impact of the novel coronavirus. Last month, 90% of meeting professionals were concerned.

Duration of impact

Understanding that most industry suppliers aren’t virology futurists, we still sought to hear opinions on the anticipated duration of the virus’ impact on meetings and events.

duration of impact

Most notably, 70% of respondents believe our industry will be affected for 1-6 months; 3% think it’ll be wrapped up in April; 15% believe its impact will stick around at least through the end of 2020.

Sales strategies

sales strategies

Yes, 49% of suppliers indicate their sales strategies have not changed as a result of the novel coronavirus. However, that means more than half of all respondents are changing their sales strategies. How?

14% – Limiting international travel

9% – Offering greater discounts or complimentary amenities/services

8% – Shifting to remote calls with clients rather than in-person meetings

8% – Limiting involvement at trade shows and professional events

 

More surveys on this evolving topic are likely in the coming weeks and months, so stay tuned to Plan Your Meetings as well as MPI’s dedicated novel coronavirus page.

The post Coronavirus: Suppliers’ View appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

What do meeting planners truly want?

February 18th, 2020 @

When retaining speakers to present at their conference or convention, meeting planners must tread very carefully. Picking the wrong speaker for an event can have disastrous consequences. If it’s a day-long event and five speakers are scheduled to present, if even one of them says something inappropriate, it can dominate the event in ways that no one would prefer to have happened. Worse, the off-remark might call into question your judgment.

It behooves speakers to rely upon veterans, those who have presented to dozens, if not hundreds of groups. Speakers who know the ropes and know what it takes to deliver with impact, are highly professional at all times. They go on their way to ensure that the meeting planner feels comfortable and confident that their presentation will be well-received.

Beyond the above, here are four factors that add up to success for both the meeting planner and the speaker:

Having a timely topic

The reason that a particular speaker is brought in at a certain time is because of the speaker’s wisdom, knowledge, and information that will benefit the group.

Even if a speaker is a humorist, or someone who is simply hired to entertain the audience, that speaker is still bringing with them knowledge and information, in the form of how they’re going to deliver, how they will pace themselves, understanding of the audience, and so forth.

RELATED STORY: 6 event planning mistakes that will destroy your budget

Offering a dynamic presentation

No one, meeting planners most of all, wants to have a speaker who delivers an off-the-shelf presentation, something the speaker said to the last group, and the group before that, etc. Sure, a speaker will draw upon an established body of material but it has to be, at the least, tailored to the group.

What challenges do audience members face? What has happened recently? What will be of concern after this meeting is over? The dynamic speaker takes into account such factors and delivers accordingly.

Interacting with the audience

Increasingly, meeting planners seek presenters who have an affinity for the audience. They’re not afraid of give-and-take. They might even step down from the stage and wander a bit throughout the hall. They encourage participation. They ask questions, pose dilemmas, and elicit responses.

Not all presentations, for all purposes, lend themselves to interaction with the audience. For those that do, however, interaction can be a notable, even memorable factor for audience members, who have sat in front of one staid delivery after another.

RELATED STORY: The 33 skills meeting and event planners need to succeed

Being succinct

All meetings have an agenda, whether tight or loose, written down, or verbally offered. At some point, a meeting must end, just as an individual presentation must end. Speakers who stay on time, even if their time has been chopped, and end at the original designated ending time, do everyone a favor: Get the meeting back on course!

The seasoned speaker, on the fly, knows how to convert what was scheduled to be a 45-minute presentation into what now has to be a 32-minute presentation, and has the ability to do so without the audience knowing the difference. This speaker doesn’t complain or wince, and he or she stands up and delivers and ends on the button, having done the job.

The post What do meeting planners truly want? appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

5 tips for evaluating safety during site selection

February 4th, 2020 @

magnifying glass

Safety is a big topic and covers a lot of different elements. The thought of it is often enough to make even the most experienced meeting planner want to change careers. How does snake charmer sound?

There’s cyber security, crisis communication, public relations scenarios and emergency response planning. It doesn’t help that we’re under constant barrage of scary news on nearly every screen we set eyes upon, usually displaying nothing more than mere seconds of loud noise and scandalous photographs. It’s not enough to get details, but just the right amount of prattle to set our nerves on edge.

There’s good news, however. Our brains don’t really know the difference between a real fear and a fake one, so although we think there’s lots of stuff to worry about, it’s not as bad as the 24-hour news cycle makes it seem. You are far more likely to have someone at your conference suffer a medical issue, such as a cardiac event, or a minor accident, such as a trip and fall, than you are an active shooter. It’s all about preventing or mitigating the most probable concerns.

That means at least one item under the safety umbrella will be a bit easier for you to prepare for: physical safety. A rule of meeting safety is ensuring the space, facility or venue is free from harm and offers components and measures that keep it free from harm.

We, as planners, can prepare for bad things to happen. As a matter of fact, we even have the power to prevent or mitigate some of them. Starting with our site selection, we can begin the process of helping to keep our attendees safer.

Here are a few simple things to do during your next hotel or venue selection.

1) Ask about safety in your RFP

Most venues won’t release their safety or emergency plans for reasons of liability and/or confidentiality—but mentioning your interest in emergency plans, in your RFP, indicates you take safety seriously. Just a few sentences are all it takes, asking how the venue responds to emergencies and how they handle onsite incidents.

RELATED STORY: Lack of planning won’t avert an emergency

2) Include safety staff at the walk-through

Planners are used to being guided around a property by sales staff, banquet folks and conference service managers. Next time, request that someone from hotel security go along with you for the stroll. It is a great time for the venue to point out emergency exits, fire extinguishers, describe how the hotel meets local and state codes and regulations and even talk about the venue’s emergency action plans.

3) Ask about first responders

As you’re checking out the meeting space and the guest rooms, ask which hospital is the nearest, what police agency has jurisdiction and where the hotel’s access points are for fire trucks, ambulances and other first responders. These are area you want to be free of charter buses, delivery trucks and the like. The time is also ripe to ask about future building and road construction, which could block easy in-and-out access.

RELATED STORY: Do you need armed security at your event?

4) Access points and access points

Ask about security cameras and security staffing (how are they identified? Do they go through background checks and training?) and see if lighting is adequate in parking garages, outdoor function space and other places your attendees might visit after nightfall. See what parts of the venue are only accessible with keys and what areas get locked up at night.

Access also includes first responders and other help. They need to have outdoor areas to park vehicles, doors that will open when they pull the handle and as few obstacles as possible to reach the person (or persons) in need.

slip up

5) Ask about back of house

Although some venues might not let you have access to view back of house areas, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Make sure they agree to make hallways free of clutter and items that might hinder an emergency exit or provide a hiding place to unauthorized people. If the food service area or kitchens have to meet certain local health codes or regulations, confirm that they do, either by visual inspection or written certification.

Don’t forget to include ADA compliance in your walk thru and confirm the venue is prepared to assist with any attendees that might have special needs during an evacuation.

RELATED STORY: 9 ADA-related questions we must be asking venues

Knowing these tips, you just might organically begin to ask other safety questions to help make sure you’ve chosen a site that’s both safe and secure.

The post 5 tips for evaluating safety during site selection appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

10 signs that you’re a workaholic

January 6th, 2020 @

working overtime

Far in advance of the jam-packed days before a forthcoming convention, conference or meeting, and long afterwards, do you work unusually long hours? Workaholism is not pretty. It gets in the way of other things you could be doing in your life, mainly having free time, enjoying your leisure, being with others and renewing yourself so that when you return back to work you can be at your best.

A clear mission

As with many afflictions and addictions, there is even a society founded to help those who believe that they have fallen into workaholism. The group is called Workaholics Anonymous. Founded by a schoolteacher and a corporate financial planner from New York in 1983. its aim was to help others, “Who suffer from the disease of workaholism to stop working compulsively.”

RELATED STORY: 8 signs that your work-life balance is looking good

The two soon became three as the first meeting included the spouse of the financial planner. This spouse had started Workanon, a recovery program for those in a relationship with a workaholic.

The primary purpose then, and to this day, of Workaholics Anonymous is for each member to stop working compulsively and, “To carry the message of recovery to workaholics who still suffer.”

How to know if you’re in the grips

Here are 10 questions that will help you determine whether or not you have slipped into workaholism.

1. Do you continually underestimate how long a task will take and then find yourself rushing to complete it?

2. Are you fearful that if you don’t work diligently you will lose your job or be regarded as a failure?

chicken overworked3. Do you become flustered when people ask you to stop doing what you’re working on so that you can focus on something else?

4. Do you constantly think about your work even while you’re doing other things such as speaking with others, driving about town or even dozing off?

5. Do you consistently put in more hours on the job per week than is asked of you?

6. Do you do everything with high energy and in a competitive mode, even during leisure?

7. Do you become irritated with other people who have other priorities besides their work?

8. Do you consistently take work home from the office, to deal with on weekends, on vacation or as you’re about to retire to bed?

9. When you boil it all down, is work that single activity that you actually like to do best, and that you talk about the most?

10. Have your long work hours impaired your relationships with your family or with others, and have family and friends essentially given up on you?

RELATED STORY: Recognizing workplace psychopaths

Crossed over the line?

You don’t have to answer “yes” to all 10 of those questions to know that perhaps you’ve crossed the line into workaholism. A solid four or five yeses is as good an indicator as any.

If you’re ready to take the vital first stop to tone down your workaholism, starting today, get out of the office on time, engage in an enjoyable leisure activity this evening, go to bed with a clear conscience, arise in the morning and have time before work to be a person: to meditate, reflect, stretch or do whatever suits you—other than work.

The post 10 signs that you’re a workaholic appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

Most-read stories of 2019

December 30th, 2019 @

Get up to speed on some outstanding reports you may have missed during your busy 2019, by exploring this year’s most-read stories from the Plan Your Meetings blog.

1) Understanding the Event Grant and Program Funding Process

2) 5 Common Event Planning Mistakes

3) Vegan Inclusion Tips for Meetings and Events

4) Fyre Festival and Planning in Cinema

5) 10 Engaging Tips to Boost Meeting Participation

The post Most-read stories of 2019 appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

Texas Airports

December 19th, 2019 @

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Category : Blog and Industry News

Beware the dangers of ‘up-titling’

December 9th, 2019 @

career cv resume

Ensuring your résumé honestly references your titles as well as your actual work responsibilities can be a conundrum for job seekers.

Many job titles nowadays don’t reflect the actual work being done on the job.

Whether the person who wrote them was clueless or poorly intentioned during the writing process, what ends up happening to the employee is that they are stuck with one thing: A job title on their résumé that doesn’t fit…or sucks altogether.

Poor job titles are everywhere

I recently had a client that worked at one of the biggest sportswear brand companies with the title of “manager,” even though he was clearly operating at a vice president-level role.

He’s not alone with this problem that literally is holding him back. Over the years, I consistently see inaccurate job titles on client’s résumés. And to be frank, many workers are fed up.

Having an inaccurate job title can be embarrassing, off-putting and even act as a deterrent for moving forward in one’s career.

In fact, a lower title ends up dragging them backwards or making the person look under-employed.

RELATED STORY: Top ‘harmless’ résumé lies that cause big-time hurt

Why the job title problem exists

The job title problem starts with the boss.

Sometimes bosses are reluctant to change a job title (usually upwards) due to the correlating expectation that a salary increase is close to follow. Other times, they simply don’t have a full grasp of what it is that you do day in and day out.

That’s why it is important to discuss your job duties with your supervisor every time you have an annual review.

By going over the types of tasks and projects you’ve handled over the past year, you can request to revisit the actual job description and position title to make sure it is calibrated accurately.

If a manager is smart, they will realize that by keeping job titles and descriptions current, they are better prepared to hire appropriate talent should a vacancy come open because it is a better reflection of what the job actually does.

‘Up-titling’ problems

But be cautious about taking matters into your own hands.

Up-titling is a new buzzword, but not new to the people reading your résumé.

This word means the process where people over time and through frustration, end up changing the job title on their résumé for the position that they held, and “massage” it into something more accurate.

But this too can set one’s career backwards.

Theoretically, let’s say you apply for a job with altered job titles on your résumé. Everything is going well, and you’ve made it into final consideration after multiple interviews.

What’s next? The employment verification process. And this is precisely where many people hit stumbling blocks.

The job titles and dates listed in your résumé should match exactly what is on your file in the human resources office.

If it doesn’t, that raises red flags…and that’s where many people get into trouble.

You always want to be accurate and truthful in your résumé.

RELATED STORY: Recognizing workplace psychopaths

How to make the fix

There is a way to convey what you want to say about your job duties/career level without making changes on your résumé that could come back and bite you. The solution is to provide both pieces of information.

In the example of my client who was a manager but really at the VP level, we switched things up as follows:

North American Manager (equivalent to: Vice President)

By leading with the actual job title, you are being truthful and reflecting what the company has on file as your accurate job title.

And by adding the equivalency, you are also helping convey to a potential employer the following:

“Even though I didn’t hold this title in NAME, I still had this level of responsibility.”

This approach helps you kill both birds with one stone to achieve what you need to get across in the résumé.

psychology masks

Another trap to avoid

Sometimes, people have worked multiple roles within the same company.

All too often, however, they will write their résumé to only list the highest-level job held at the company while including the start date of the first (lower level) job they held.

This is another trap to avoid, because it isn’t truthful, either.

For example, if you started out as a receptionist in 2000, got promoted into manager in 2005, then rose into a vice president position in 2015 at a company, you can’t say that you were a VP from 2000 onwards.

It’s tempting to lump all of one’s experience under the highest job title, but you are setting yourself up for disaster.

While you aren’t really up-titling, you are date-consolidating, and that’s the same type of issue.

Being honest helps you

What most people don’t realize is that showing a career progression by listing each position held and the dates worked in a tiered format actually demonstrates that you have been a valued company asset.

Plus, your titles and dates match what is on file in the human resources department.

It is critical that you are always transparent and forthright about your job titles and dates worked so that you never have to worry about discrepancies popping up, especially if an employer is considering making you an offer.

The post Beware the dangers of ‘up-titling’ appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

Beware the dangers of ‘up-titling’

December 9th, 2019 @

career cv resume

Ensuring your résumé honestly references your titles as well as your actual work responsibilities can be a conundrum for job seekers.

Many job titles nowadays don’t reflect the actual work being done on the job.

Whether the person who wrote them was clueless or poorly intentioned during the writing process, what ends up happening to the employee is that they are stuck with one thing: A job title on their résumé that doesn’t fit…or sucks altogether.

Poor job titles are everywhere

I recently had a client that worked at one of the biggest sportswear brand companies with the title of “manager,” even though he was clearly operating at a vice president-level role.

He’s not alone with this problem that literally is holding him back. Over the years, I consistently see inaccurate job titles on client’s résumés. And to be frank, many workers are fed up.

Having an inaccurate job title can be embarrassing, off-putting and even act as a deterrent for moving forward in one’s career.

In fact, a lower title ends up dragging them backwards or making the person look under-employed.

RELATED STORY: Top ‘harmless’ résumé lies that cause big-time hurt

Why the job title problem exists

The job title problem starts with the boss.

Sometimes bosses are reluctant to change a job title (usually upwards) due to the correlating expectation that a salary increase is close to follow. Other times, they simply don’t have a full grasp of what it is that you do day in and day out.

That’s why it is important to discuss your job duties with your supervisor every time you have an annual review.

By going over the types of tasks and projects you’ve handled over the past year, you can request to revisit the actual job description and position title to make sure it is calibrated accurately.

If a manager is smart, they will realize that by keeping job titles and descriptions current, they are better prepared to hire appropriate talent should a vacancy come open because it is a better reflection of what the job actually does.

‘Up-titling’ problems

But be cautious about taking matters into your own hands.

Up-titling is a new buzzword, but not new to the people reading your résumé.

This word means the process where people over time and through frustration, end up changing the job title on their résumé for the position that they held, and “massage” it into something more accurate.

But this too can set one’s career backwards.

Theoretically, let’s say you apply for a job with altered job titles on your résumé. Everything is going well, and you’ve made it into final consideration after multiple interviews.

What’s next? The employment verification process. And this is precisely where many people hit stumbling blocks.

The job titles and dates listed in your résumé should match exactly what is on your file in the human resources office.

If it doesn’t, that raises red flags…and that’s where many people get into trouble.

You always want to be accurate and truthful in your résumé.

RELATED STORY: Recognizing workplace psychopaths

How to make the fix

There is a way to convey what you want to say about your job duties/career level without making changes on your résumé that could come back and bite you. The solution is to provide both pieces of information.

In the example of my client who was a manager but really at the VP level, we switched things up as follows:

North American Manager (equivalent to: Vice President)

By leading with the actual job title, you are being truthful and reflecting what the company has on file as your accurate job title.

And by adding the equivalency, you are also helping convey to a potential employer the following:

“Even though I didn’t hold this title in NAME, I still had this level of responsibility.”

This approach helps you kill both birds with one stone to achieve what you need to get across in the résumé.

psychology masks

Another trap to avoid

Sometimes, people have worked multiple roles within the same company.

All too often, however, they will write their résumé to only list the highest-level job held at the company while including the start date of the first (lower level) job they held.

This is another trap to avoid, because it isn’t truthful, either.

For example, if you started out as a receptionist in 2000, got promoted into manager in 2005, then rose into a vice president position in 2015 at a company, you can’t say that you were a VP from 2000 onwards.

It’s tempting to lump all of one’s experience under the highest job title, but you are setting yourself up for disaster.

While you aren’t really up-titling, you are date-consolidating, and that’s the same type of issue.

Being honest helps you

What most people don’t realize is that showing a career progression by listing each position held and the dates worked in a tiered format actually demonstrates that you have been a valued company asset.

Plus, your titles and dates match what is on file in the human resources department.

It is critical that you are always transparent and forthright about your job titles and dates worked so that you never have to worry about discrepancies popping up, especially if an employer is considering making you an offer.

The post Beware the dangers of ‘up-titling’ appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

Exploring your professional development

November 25th, 2019 @

How often do you work with a convention and visitors bureau (CVB) for assistance organizing your meetings and events? If you answered “never” or “what’s a CVB?” then the newest edition of the Plan Your Meetings Professional Development Guide may very well open up a whole new world of possibilities in your work!

In “CVBs: A Planner’s Best Kept Secret?”, we explain what this type of destination management organization is, how it operates and, most importantly, how it can best be leveraged to help with your event planning efforts—at no cost. Along with those various elements, you’ll also find additional online resources and educational opportunities to help grow your skills relevant to planning and working with CVBs.

For this edition’s columns, we once again tapped résumé and career expert Dawn Rasmussen, CMP, to share successful job-seeker advice (“The Dangers of ‘Up-Titling’”). This is an especially notable problem as the current business landscape is filled with a confusing blend of old-school and creative titles—the title “associate cat herder” certainly requires an explanation. And digital strategist Andrea Williams pops up to emphasize the importance of truly knowing your potential clients (“Why You Need Detailed Customer Profiles”).

Of course, you’ll also find the usual resources we update and collect here to aid your professional growth, such as planner scholarships, complimentary industry magazines and no/low-cost online education and live events.

Updated twice per year, the Professional Development Guide is created as an interactive resource for you—loaded with active links, a complimentary MPI Academy webinar (“Digital Storytelling: Create New Revenue Streams Through Digital”) and more. With that in mind, please reach out and let us know what essential resources you’re struggling to find so we can try to collect those in a future edition.

Don’t miss free education opportunities at Plan Your Meetings live events throughout North America—see future dates and register.

The post Exploring your professional development appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News