A career coach can accelerate your progress

Posted 2 weeks, 3 days ago @

career coaching

Of the possible strategies you can pursue in advancing your career, most will not outshine the effectiveness and pure efficiency of working with a coach.

I was fortunate early in my career to recognize the need to retain a career coach and the many benefits that accrue. In a nutshell, a career coach can help:

  • Diagnose and sort out your situation and opportunities.
  • Offer new strategies for coping with office politics and competition from other firms.
  • Show you vital stress management skills.
  • Discover or capitalize on new opportunities.

A good coach provides new tools to improve communication and helps chart your goals and career path. Your career coach can also be your positive personal, behind-the-scenes confidant, consultant and resource.

RELATED STORY: Switching gears: Making a change mid-career

Can you benefit from a career coach?

If you lack self-confidence or feel as if your career progress is idling then it’s likely you need a career coach. Are faced with any of the following?
1. Major changes within your organization especially if they have a direct impact on you.
2. Acquisitions or mergers.
3. Expansion into new markets.
4. Diversification into new products or services.
5. Increased competition to your firm from other firms trying to take over your market share.
6. Increased management or supervisory responsibility.
7. Increased leadership opportunities.
8. A recent or soon-to-be-available promotion.
9. A new boss or leadership shake-up above you.
10. Changes in your role or assignments within your company.
11. Blockades of your progress by internal feuds or informal political processes.
12. In-company competition and power plays, corporate intrigue, jockeying for position or turf protection.
13. Increased media exposure or public speaking requirements.
14. Increased production or sales quotas.
15. A new project you must lead or participate in developing.

For several years I worked with a career coach—we met only once quarterly for two hours, but I would depart supercharged.

RELATED STORY: Long-term career options for meeting planners

An employment contract

Your coach might be able to guide you on the topic of employment contracts. The notion of generating an employment contract has been around for decades, yet most meeting professionals to this day do not know what an employment contract is, how to draw one up or how to ensure that they only work with a contract in force.

Among other things, my coach advised me on the importance of establishing a contract. When I first heard this, I was amazed.

“You mean that I am to march into my boss’s office and suggest that we develop a contract that defines both the company’s and my responsibilities over the next twelve months?” Yes. Exactly!

In all professions, the most valuable people work with a contract. This is true in Fortune 500 companies; Major League Baseball; the highest levels of government; philanthropic organizations; and civic, social and charitable organizations. The top talent works with employment contracts.

Among other things, having an employment contract is a great confidence booster. Essentially, it defines your working conditions for the length of a specified term. It establishes your compensation rate and it secures your employment.

As a kicker, the contract enhances your confidence while you’re writing it, and it gives you practice in acting assertively, both when you first introduce the subject with your prospective or current employer and when you actually conduct the session to consummate the contract negotiation.

The post  A career coach can accelerate your progress appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

Resilience matters to meeting professionals

August 12th, 2019 @

Abe Lincoln

Upon unexpected termination at work, some people fall into a “justice trap.” They think that somehow a cosmic sense of justice will prevail. Consider the 12 million people who starved in the Ukraine in the 1930s, however, at the hands of Josef Stalin. Is that cosmic justice?

Justice, like fairness, is an ideal. In the endeavors of humankind, fairness is certainly worth seeking, but, like justice, it is largely illusory.

Disruption happens

Events of varying magnitudes can disrupt one’s sense of homeostasis. Disruption and reintegration occur often, even simultaneously. Yet for each of us, increases in our resilience can occur in mere moments or over the course of several years, depending on what we experience and how we process it.

Perhaps the quintessential example of the resilient individual is none other than the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was defeated in his bid for Congress on many occasions. Even as late as 1858, two years before he won the presidential election, Lincoln lost his bid to become a senator from Illinois.

1831 – Failed in business

1832 – Defeated for legislature

1833 – Again failed in business

1834 – Elected to legislature

1835 – Sweetheart died

1836 – Had a nervous breakdown

1838 – Defeated for speaker

1840 – Defeated for elector

1843 – Defeated for Congress

1846 – Elected for Congress

1848 – Defeated for Congress

1854 – Defeated for Senate

1856 – Defeated for Vice-President

1858 – Defeated for Senate

RELATED STORY: Switching gears: Making a change mid-career

Following everything written above, in 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States.

A benchmark for the ages

Anyone studying Lincoln’s life could draw the conclusion that until 1860, when he was 49, he was largely a failure. Did he let election defeat after election defeat subdue his willingness to serve? Apparently, not at all. The resilience he exhibited during his decades-long quest to be elected to public office was eventually rewarded when he was elected U.S. president.

Once in office, Lincoln’s resilience became the benchmark of his tenure, during perhaps the most harrowing time in our nation’s history. The Civil War, in which a divided America slaughtered itself by the tens of thousands, is unprecedented in our history. All other mass casualties from wars or attacks came at the hands of external enemies to the U.S. Only Lincoln, amidst all other presidents, governed during a time in which Americans fought Americans; in some cases, literally brother against brother.

failure

Fail forward

So, you had a meeting that didn’t turn out so well? Undoubtedly, Lincoln had one harrowing experience after another, as he lost the runs for U.S. Congress and for the Senate repeatedly. Somehow, as he processed his experiences, he managed to “fail forward,” drawing upon the reflections and lessons that he gained. Indeed, many successful people in history experienced career setbacks before ultimately achieving their greatest triumphs.

Drawing upon his inner strength, Lincoln’s lessons from childhood, his marvelous, self-initiated version of home-schooling, the philosophy and resilience he had developed over the years and his legal education, he was able to maintain a perspective of equanimity over a four-year period that would have broken other men.

RELATED STORY: Beyond the usual in the latest Professional Development Guide

Albert Einstein, for example, worked as a lowly clerk in the Swiss Patent Office when he developed his Theory of Relativity. Thomas Edison made 8,000+ unsuccessful attempts to find the proper filament for his lightbulb. Babe Ruth struck out more times than anyone on his way to hitting more home runs than anyone.

So, face your obstacles head on, and realize that you are more resourceful than you currently presume.

The post Resilience matters to meeting professionals appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

Prevalence and nature of virtual reality for meeting pros

August 5th, 2019 @

virtual reality

The topic of virtual reality (VR) and its use in the meeting/event industry first popped up in comments to MPI’s Meetings Outlook survey several years ago. A mere blip. Mentions have grown little by little since then, so this quarter several questions specifically about VR were included in the survey. While the immersive technology isn’t yet taking over, more and more industry professionals are experiencing it—and such first-hand experience is essential for the proliferation of VR as that’s the best way to truly understand its uses and potential.

Have you had a VR experience in the past 12 months?

Yes      36%

No       64%

While most meeting/event professionals have not experienced VR in the past year, the percentage who have used VR recently (36%) is generally in line with the general population of adults (41%) who report an interest in trying VR (according to a 2018 Google consumer survey).

RELATED STORY: 10 intriguing VR takeaways from SXSW

What was the nature of your VR experience(s)?

32%    360-degree video

21%    First-person experience (“walking” around and viewing a virtual world)

15%    Interactive environment (similar to “first person” but users can also interact with virtual objects)

12%    3D content creation (e.g. painting or building in VR)

10%    Riding on rails (guided through a virtual environment, only able to look around; e.g. rollercoaster)

9%      Social VR (interacting in real time with other users while in a shared virtual space; e.g. VR chat)

Understandably, 360-degree video is the most common VR experience reported. This is a very accessible segment—the most affordable type of VR experiences to create, easy entry for VR newbies or those without video game navigational experience and supported by every brand/style of VR hardware. The following video was shot in 360 outside of San Diego Comic Con–you don’t need a VR headset to experience this, either, just click and drag on the screen while viewing the video.

What brand of VR headset or system did you use?

47%    Mobile phone-based (e.g. Google Cardboard, Google Daydream, GearVR)

24%    Oculus Go

15%    Oculus Rift

3%      HTC Vive

3%      Oculus Quest

3%      Samsung HMD Odyssey

This is completely in line with expectations. For several years, inexpensive VR headsets that use a mobile phone for the display and computing power have introduced many to the basics of the technology. This is the most widespread and accessible type of VR headset available and, in fact, the platform I used to demonstrate the technology while speaking at Forum Eventos in Brazil in 2015. The Oculus Go (late 2017) lowered the bar of entry to slightly more immersive VR ($199, wireless, with a controller, but otherwise on par with a mobile phone experience)—so a strong showing here makes sense. Expect the new Oculus Quest (released in late May) to create more VR converts than any headset to date, given that it’s the first high-end, standalone, wireless headset with six degrees of freedom/movement (and a controller for each hand)—and has been perpetually sold out since going on sale at the relatively affordable starting price of $399.

To explore more findings from the summer 2019 Meetings Outlook report, read the full report.

The post Prevalence and nature of virtual reality for meeting pros appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

Why you need detailed customer profiles

July 29th, 2019 @

question-analysis

As an executive, sales professional or member of a large team, you know how important it is to do your homework. More specifically, you need a full view of your clients or customers, so you know what you’re walking into—and what kind of pitch or interaction will work best. After all, how can you engage someone directly, without knowing who they are and what they’re all about?

That’s exactly where the concept of SWOT Analysis comes into play. SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) is a remarkably useful technique to help you identify your audience and get a foothold in the market.

In business, it’s all about carving and targeting a sustainable niche. You learn as much as you possibly can about a rival party or client, before meeting or interacting. This gives you the resources and the preparedness to land an appropriate deal, pitch or engagement.

Obviously, it’s impossible to conduct a SWOT analysis before every single meeting or event, but you can integrate this into a mobile app strategy to help facilitate this as much as possible. This is possible thanks to customer profiles or customer profiling. Personalized, customer profiles that allow the storage, organization and retrieval of data regarding a user or demographics.

RELATED STORY: 10 engaging tips for boosting meeting participation

Think of it as a 360-degree account view, which provides the big picture, at least as it pertains to your audience and customers.

How does this work?

The option to automatically upload customer profile data can open new doors for you and your team. For example, before a meeting, you can look up any user or customer within the app, peruse their profile, read additional insights and connected data and then dive back into the real world. But once you’re prepared, you can face those customers or clientele with full confidence.

The best part is that the experience and information provided can be customized by the leading company, your business, which helps set the tone for your successes, needs, gaps, revenue, industry and more. And all of this can provide an impromptu pre-briefing of sorts. It’s the pre-game before the big game day.

This is all a form of customer identity management, which makes interactions and engagement with your audience more personal. This permeates even down to the customers themselves, who can see what meetings, briefings and events they attended, and how they contributed, if at all.

RELATED STORY: Listening well opens door to good relationships

It’s a simple process, and all the components are streamlined, conventional in a personal profile sense. For example, you have the standard profile image or images, a brief bio or blurb about the person, detailed insights and interactions, and more.

superhero strengths

When a client or potential customer walks right up to you, you will recognize them instantly thanks to the profile data associated with them. This pushes meetings and agendas into the spotlight more, as you never have to walk into a room or venue and learn who is who. You know, simply because you (or someone in your organization) has interacted with them before, in some small way, creating a rich customer insight legacy.

75 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that recognizes them and makes recommendations based on personal history. So, you want them to be more recognizable.

Not only does this build stronger, more reliable relationships but it also provides a deeper level of context to meeting your customers in-person. Furthermore, you can see how interactions and engagement play out through all the steps across pre, during, and post-meeting touch points.

A final, more resolute way to look at it is you’re building customer profiles and collective databases for sales enablement. Every team can leverage the insights and data collected on your audience, from marketing and sales to second-level management and board members. This enables a more efficient, more interactive and much more personal community.

The post Why you need detailed customer profiles appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

Livestreaming options for meetings (2019)

June 26th, 2019 @

tv streaming

The web is designed to connect people all over the world, which is what the meeting and event industry is all about. So why not use the resources at your disposal? Livestreaming provides agility and a longer reach to your event. Not only are you reaching the live audience in front of you, but also the online audience that is unable or unwilling to travel.

Among other myths about livestreaming, there has been some question as to whether streaming events will cannibalize some of your live audience. However, according to a study by Digitell, between 20 percent and 40 percent of the virtual audience will invest in the event next time, providing a positive rate of attendance (ROA).

Whether you’re just starting this venture into livestreaming or you’re a veteran looking for new resources, the plethora of choices can seem daunting. Below are some quick tips and basic information about livestreaming options to get you started.

Quick Tips

  • Use a high-quality camera setup if streaming for a large audience or for a more professional broadcast. Built-in cameras on phones and computers are getting better, but there is a still a vast difference between them and a professional camera and microphone.
  • Many of the following free live-streaming services are social media platforms, which provides a perfect opportunity to engage with the audience before, during and after the event (not to mention easy promotion via speakers). That said, social media may not work for white-label branding, but it is up to you and your vision.
  • When choosing a streaming service, keep in mind monetization, privacy/security and tech support.
  • For more info on additional strategies for streaming, visit the MPI blog.

Facebook Live

Facebook Live is free, quick, easy and has the ability to reach a large audience pool from a mobile phone or computer. However, if using a computer, you must download broadcasting applications such as Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), Wirecast or XSplit, most of which have free and paid options.

RELATED STORY: Download the Live Streaming Checklist

One of the best aspects of Facebook Live is its internal reacting and commenting within the live feed. Audiences can use emojis and live chat, providing direct engagement and interaction with you and each other. If you don’t want the chat open to the public, you can also choose who sees and interacts with the feed by broadcasting to either the public, friends or yourself. Facebook also provides “Insights” into your video by giving you basic data about your stream, such as how many viewers are watching and when.

Caveats: Longevity is not a strength for Facebook Live. The scrolling capability of Facebook makes it difficult to keep viewers consistently watching an entire video. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that people scrolling through their timeline will find your video again as Facebook videos cannot be found via search engines such as Google.

YouTube Live

YouTube Live is free and versatile. You can stream from your mobile device, a webcam or a professional set up using an encoder (some of which are not free). If you don’t already have a channel, you’ll need to create one in order to stream—but once that’s in place, you can go live immediately or pre-schedule a live event.

Your YouTube Live video’s reach will extend far beyond the original broadcasting time as once the stream has ended, you can upload it as a video with keywords geared for search engine optimization (SEO).

One drawback of YouTube Live is that it if you don’t already have YouTube subscribers, your video may not initially reach as large of an audience.

Discord Streamkit

For events with a more laidback approach and greater online presence, Discord has recently unveiled the Discord Streamkit. As the name implies, the new program includes Discord and multiple add-ons to assist in livestreaming. Although to be clear, you do have to create a Discord server if you don’t already have one.

Some of the add-ons include Patreon (an easy way for patrons to donate), Nightbot (moderation tools for spam, inappropriate words/phrases, other inappropriate communication), Muxy (analysis add-on for metrics) and MEE6 (fun moderator that includes “leveling” for audience members who interact the most).

The kit also hosts Twitch integration, YouTube integration and Mixer Integration while also including some of the aforementioned broadcasting applications (i.e., XSplit and OBS). What’s more, although all of these applications are available, you can mix and match to best suit your needs.

RELATED STORY: Strategies and considerations for low-cost live streaming

Vimeo Livestream

Although Vimeo Livestream is a paid service, they are also high-quality with extended capabilities. You can simultaneously stream full HD video to social media and your personal websites straight from Vimeo. They also have built-in engagement tools, video metrics and video editing.

Customers can try any Vimeo streaming plans for free for 30 days; plans range from $7-$75/month. To live stream, you must have the $75/month premium plan.

IBM Cloud Video

IBM Cloud Video boasts customers such as Food Network and Mazda and is the most ideal for white-label branding.

This service is available for multi-screen broadcasting and is scalable for large and small events so you’re not paying for services you’re not using. IBM Cloud will also help find marketing resources and provide in-depth analytics on your video. They also have a content delivery network (CDN) to avoid a network overload and have an emphasis on security.

Monthly plans vary from $99-$999 but includes viewer hours, video storage, HD broadcasting, support, live polling and control over where you embed your videos. If you’re not sure if you want to commit, they offer a 30-day free trial.

 

Disclaimer: This is not a comprehensive list. If you know of a service that you have used that is not listed, please leave a comment for fellow readers.

The post Livestreaming options for meetings (2019) appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

Livestreaming options for meetings (2019)

June 26th, 2019 @

tv streaming

The web is designed to connect people all over the world, which is what the meeting and event industry is all about. So why not use the resources at your disposal? Livestreaming provides agility and a longer reach to your event. Not only are you reaching the live audience in front of you, but also the online audience that is unable or unwilling to travel.

Among other myths about livestreaming, there has been some question as to whether streaming events will cannibalize some of your live audience. However, according to a study by Digitell, between 20 percent and 40 percent of the virtual audience will invest in the event next time, providing a positive rate of attendance (ROA).

Whether you’re just starting this venture into livestreaming or you’re a veteran looking for new resources, the plethora of choices can seem daunting. Below are some quick tips and basic information about livestreaming options to get you started.

Quick Tips

  • Use a high-quality camera setup if streaming for a large audience or for a more professional broadcast. Built-in cameras on phones and computers are getting better, but there is a still a vast difference between them and a professional camera and microphone.
  • Many of the following free live-streaming services are social media platforms, which provides a perfect opportunity to engage with the audience before, during and after the event (not to mention easy promotion via speakers). That said, social media may not work for white-label branding, but it is up to you and your vision.
  • When choosing a streaming service, keep in mind monetization, privacy/security and tech support.
  • For more info on additional strategies for streaming, visit the MPI blog.

Facebook Live

Facebook Live is free, quick, easy and has the ability to reach a large audience pool from a mobile phone or computer. However, if using a computer, you must download broadcasting applications such as Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), Wirecast or XSplit, most of which have free and paid options.

RELATED STORY: Download the Live Streaming Checklist

One of the best aspects of Facebook Live is its internal reacting and commenting within the live feed. Audiences can use emojis and live chat, providing direct engagement and interaction with you and each other. If you don’t want the chat open to the public, you can also choose who sees and interacts with the feed by broadcasting to either the public, friends or yourself. Facebook also provides “Insights” into your video by giving you basic data about your stream, such as how many viewers are watching and when.

Caveats: Longevity is not a strength for Facebook Live. The scrolling capability of Facebook makes it difficult to keep viewers consistently watching an entire video. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that people scrolling through their timeline will find your video again as Facebook videos cannot be found via search engines such as Google.

YouTube Live

YouTube Live is free and versatile. You can stream from your mobile device, a webcam or a professional set up using an encoder (some of which are not free). If you don’t already have a channel, you’ll need to create one in order to stream—but once that’s in place, you can go live immediately or pre-schedule a live event.

Your YouTube Live video’s reach will extend far beyond the original broadcasting time as once the stream has ended, you can upload it as a video with keywords geared for search engine optimization (SEO).

One drawback of YouTube Live is that it if you don’t already have YouTube subscribers, your video may not initially reach as large of an audience.

Discord Streamkit

For events with a more laidback approach and greater online presence, Discord has recently unveiled the Discord Streamkit. As the name implies, the new program includes Discord and multiple add-ons to assist in livestreaming. Although to be clear, you do have to create a Discord server if you don’t already have one.

Some of the add-ons include Patreon (an easy way for patrons to donate), Nightbot (moderation tools for spam, inappropriate words/phrases, other inappropriate communication), Muxy (analysis add-on for metrics) and MEE6 (fun moderator that includes “leveling” for audience members who interact the most).

The kit also hosts Twitch integration, YouTube integration and Mixer Integration while also including some of the aforementioned broadcasting applications (i.e., XSplit and OBS). What’s more, although all of these applications are available, you can mix and match to best suit your needs.

RELATED STORY: Strategies and considerations for low-cost live streaming

Vimeo Livestream

Although Vimeo Livestream is a paid service, they are also high-quality with extended capabilities. You can simultaneously stream full HD video to social media and your personal websites straight from Vimeo. They also have built-in engagement tools, video metrics and video editing.

Customers can try any Vimeo streaming plans for free for 30 days; plans range from $7-$75/month. To live stream, you must have the $75/month premium plan.

IBM Cloud Video

IBM Cloud Video boasts customers such as Food Network and Mazda and is the most ideal for white-label branding.

This service is available for multi-screen broadcasting and is scalable for large and small events so you’re not paying for services you’re not using. IBM Cloud will also help find marketing resources and provide in-depth analytics on your video. They also have a content delivery network (CDN) to avoid a network overload and have an emphasis on security.

Monthly plans vary from $99-$999 but includes viewer hours, video storage, HD broadcasting, support, live polling and control over where you embed your videos. If you’re not sure if you want to commit, they offer a 30-day free trial.

 

Disclaimer: This is not a comprehensive list. If you know of a service that you have used that is not listed, please leave a comment for fellow readers.

The post Livestreaming options for meetings (2019) appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

5 common event planning mistakes

June 17th, 2019 @

prickly situation

Events are stories; live, and in real time.

What’s more, events have no delete button. As an event planner, you are certainly in the limelight, when things go right and when things go wrong. It’s no wonder that Forbes has ranked event planning as among the most stressful jobs out there.

Whether it’s a corporate function, a global festival, a product launch campaign or a private wedding, the delicate balancing act of a meticulous logistics operation, clear content strategy, as well as cosmic alignment is quite an undertaking.

Then there’s the unfortunate reality that event planning is largely related to Murphy’s Law.

To try to get ahead of the curve, we at Eventos Barcelona have identified five event industry pain points, and proposed touch points to resolve any event planning mistakes.

Pain point 1: Lost the plot

A typical event planning blunder is to get caught up in trivialities, and to forget the story line altogether. While free drinks, a sunny day and a beautiful venue are mainly happenstance event takeaways, the real sweet spot for having the event in the first place is to create some sort of impact.

Content messaging, whether it’s a simple tagline, mission or vision statement, is the basis of clear and concise event strategy.

What’s more, this has become an industry demand in the experiential economy. With Millennials now driving the experience economy and opting for experiences over products, the space to create meaningful event narratives is essential.

Touch point: Content messaging: The messaging of the event should start with the onset of the guest journey; the invite, pre-event app, even the sense of arrival, and then resonate right up to the post-event survey or net promoter score. Anchoring the messaging and then creating a list of content platforms will ensure the message sticks.

Pain point 2: Budget

Breaking the budget is pretty much a deal breaker. It’s so easy to do, that it’s so important to get it right. Hidden fees including taxes, permits, flight changes, even traffic jams and finding alternate routes, can quickly snowball into a whole list of expenses.

Touchpoint: The only real advice here is to have a margin of around 15 percent.

Pain point 3: Lack of cultural sensitivity

Lack of cultural sensitivity is one of the biggest shortfalls for a global events series; from a strategic as well as activation standpoint.

I have recently been involved in the LinkedIn Talent Awards global launch program, with an event series planned for the Middle East, South America and parts of Europe. The careful attention to cultural nuances was essential.

While the rollout plan and decision to launch in a particular city is typically linked to the brand’s overarching strategy, a simple blip such as not considering Ramadan, Passover or an important public holiday can lead to a disaster.

From an activation standpoint, this can be amplified further, with a lack of attention to catering, toilet segregation and temperature regulation of the facilities, amongst other factors.

Touch point: Get local experts on the ground to check all aspects of your event, from the rollout dates, to the food preparations and logistical setup.

Pain point 4: Technology

Technology can both enable and disable your event. From Slido to Crowd Compass and Zerista, these wizardry apps can certainly create a seamless event experience. However, guests fumbling around on their phones logging into event apps, instead of engaging in the event itself, or scanners unable to read tickets because of heat or humidity, can quickly disable the situation.

Touch point: Test everything as it would be on the day needed, from the perspective of the guest. Imagine the guest entering the space, bumping into friends, then looking for the sign to download the app. All those steps can interfere with what you might imagine as a foolproof plan. Also, using one operating system can certainly help the flow.

Pain point 5: Timing

The biggest caveat, of course, is the time crunch. While budgets can be in place, sharp and concise messaging implemented, technology fully rehearsed and holidays considered, the biggest tipping point for any event is timing. From the crucial few seconds of an opening act to over roasting the main course, timing is everything, and there’s no going back.

Touch point: Make a critical path timeline. Make sure every detail is covered in that, including all imaginary scenarios that can disrupt that path such as a short circuit, a traffic jam or a fast oven. The best event planners out there have truly mastered a critical path.

The post 5 common event planning mistakes appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

Beyond the usual in the latest Professional Development Guide

June 3rd, 2019 @

In addition to the usual resources we assemble twice a year to aid your career growth—scholarships, no/low-cost online education and live events—this edition of the Plan Your Meetings Professional Development Guide offers insight to some revolutionary and very important education opportunities for meeting and event professionals, whether students, young professionals or veterans.

A major development that’s finally taking shape this year: U.S.-based master’s degree programs in event management. Indeed, this high-level education boosts not only your professional standing but that of the meeting and event profession at large. To learn more about the course offered by New York University’s Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, launching in September, we spoke with academic director Lynn Minnaert (“The Birth of an Event Management Master’s Program”).

PYM2019Spring-coverEarlier this year, I had the opportunity to experience the three-day Event Design Certificate Program in Las Vegas. This highly focused process uses the #EventCanvas to map out the behavior changes you seek in affect in your attendees and stakeholders and determine how to make this change a reality. (Spoiler: I went in a skeptic and came out an evangelist.) This course was so much more than I expected, and I cannot recommend it enough!

Unlike most of the resources provided herein, neither the master’s nor event design programs are free—but that just means you need to utilize our scholarship resources we’ve assembled in the Professional Development Guide. It’s exciting to envision an industry made up of professionals who have been through these programs.

Career expert Dawn Rasmussen, CMP, also returns in this edition with a new column offering advice on “Shifting Gears: Making a Change Mid-Career.” And rest assured, elsewhere in this Professional Development Guide, you’ll find more of the updated essential goodness you’ve come to expect, including a free embedded webinar from the MPI Academy (“Five Keys to Cultivating Strong Partner Relationships”).

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

The post Beyond the usual in the latest Professional Development Guide appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

6 tech-savvy solutions to meeting obstacles

May 29th, 2019 @

hurdles obstacles

Meetings are necessary. We have to have them to move business forward, make decisions, plan projects and communicate with cross-functional teams. They are an intrinsic business component.

But what is not a given is an effective meeting. We all want them, want to be in them and want to host them. But often, we are faced with meetings that are either poorly managed, unnecessary or a huge time suck.

How much time do you spend in meetings? I’ll bet it’s more than you think.

I average about four or five planned meetings per week, about an hour each. For half of those meetings I am the lead, so I spend an additional hour per meeting preparing each week. The other half, I typically have to be reasonably prepared for which requires research, brushing up on current topics etc., so that I can pitch in when needed—so let’s say 30 minutes per. In addition to planned meetings, there are typically one to three impromptu meetings that pop up on my calendar each week, that I do not prepare for due to lack of information or timing. Add in a couple of group Skype chats and phone calls and I’m looking at about 15 hours of a 40-hour work week spent in meetings, which I’ll admittedly say is on the low side. I can easily double that for a few co-workers who work with different teams or with customers. But still that’s more than 30 percent of my time spent in or preparing for meetings.

I’m sure you can relate.

Taking Back Control of Your Meetings

Job growth in the meeting and event planning sectors is expected to grow at a rate of 11 percent from 2016 to 2026. And that’s because our work lives are intertwined with meetings, so instead of just accepting the status quo, let’s change it, one meeting, one meeting participant, one meeting manager at a time.

We wanted to face common meeting obstacles and challenges head-on and provide solutions to help overcome them. We see you, unproductive meetings, and we are coming for you.

Obstacle No. 1: No agenda, or lack of a clear agenda

Yes, the subject of the meeting is likely clear, the who, when and where. But not always the why.

SOLUTION: Set agendas, topics or even a bulleted list of talking points to help attendees be on the same page and prepare for an upcoming meeting. This way, when all are present at the table, you eliminate the haziness. It even helps to summarize the objectives one more time before you get started.

RELATED STORY: 10 tips for clock-wise agendas

Obstacle No. 2: Changing priorities and schedules

This can be mitigated, but not always avoided. In our fast-paced environments and customer-centric worlds, priorities can and will change. A key person may no longer be able to attend the meeting and only give you a 30-minute heads up. While it’s important to stay focused and push through, if key persons are not available then you will likely need to find a new time or place.

SOLUTION: Luckily, advanced software tools help you edit meetings on the fly, especially when it comes to mobile meeting management tools, where you can manage your meetings and be sensitive of other team members while you’re on-the-go.

Obstacle No. 3: People show up late or get lost

Back-to-back meetings exist. And meetings often go over the allotted time, causing schedules to get disrupted or pushed back. Also, with sprawling corporate campuses, there are too many rooms and locations to keep track of that occasionally people get lost or confused on their way to the dedicated meeting space, resulting in late arrivals which causes meetings to not start on time or having to repeat information.

SOLUTION: The only way around this, other than a printed map of your offices, is to leverage new technology that has embedded functionality for way-finding. With this type of immersive functionality, your meeting attendees can literally find their way to each and every meeting room with turn-by-turn directions that cut across buildings and even floors. Knowing where they need to be and how to get there will hopefully ensure your attendees are prompt. If not, notification reminders 10 minutes before the meeting help.

Obstacle No. 4: Meeting room overload

On the other hand, sometimes there just aren’t enough places and spaces to meet, or the chosen meeting room gets double booked. And as we just mentioned, meetings often go over time, and when you’re supposed to take over a room at the time you booked it for, there’s a chance the meeting previously in that room needs another 15 minutes and they aren’t willing to budge.

SOLUTION: Looks like you’re going to have to find a new space or new time. Mobile apps with built-in functionality to edit meetings at a moment’s notice keeps all participants in the loop. That way if you do have to change locations, calendars will automatically be updated with time and/or location so those that haven’t arrived yet will be synced up. Another great tool to use is advanced meeting room booking capabilities like finding a conference room based on your meetings parameters: by capacity, proximity and, of course, availability. 

RELATED STORY: #EventCanvas FTW!

Obstacle No. 5: No follow through

The worst outcome from a meeting is lack of action. This tends to cause additional meetings to be scheduled to review what was talked about in the former meeting.

SOLUTION: To ensure that your meeting was not only efficient but also effective, be sure to always end your meetings with clear action items, follow-ups and to-dos. This should be given to specific individuals or even teams and have expectations of delivery associated with them. Better yet, get verbal buy-in before leaving the room.

group feedbackObstacle No. 6: Lack of input

As I’ve experienced before, sometimes you’re the meeting leader, sometimes you’re a participant (or even unknowing participant) and sometimes you’re an observer. Regardless of what people think their role is, collaboration is the key ingredient for any meeting. You need to have thinkers and doers in the room to help solve challenges or push tasks through. But do the people in the meeting know that? Are they prepared?

SOLUTION: In addition to a documented agenda, it also helps to have open communication channels for collaboration to progress a meeting forward. You, as the project owner or meeting manager, need to develop strong collaboration before, during and after to keep meetings focused, productive and innovative.

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

The toughest part about being responsible for meetings is ensuring you’re not wasting anyone’s time, including your own. These common challenges in the workplace are ever present but can be overcome—you just have to embrace tools, technology and a personal dedication to ensure that you’re creating and delivering a team experience that moves business and productivity forward. It’s no easy task, but someone’s got to do it!

And when all else fails…donuts!

The post 6 tech-savvy solutions to meeting obstacles appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

Lack of planning won’t avert an emergency

May 20th, 2019 @

helicopter emergency

Flashback to Fall 2001, post-9/11, event organizers everywhere were clamoring for information on how to create an emergency preparedness/crisis communication plan. In just a few short months, the horror of 9/11 faded and other issues bubbled to the surface, as some plans were finalized, others halted midstream and yet others never started.

Fast forward to Las Vegas, October 2017, where, in the matter of 10 minutes, a gunman using 23 weapons fired more than 1,100 rounds of ammunition aimed at country music festival goers, killing 58 and injuring more than 800.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), more than 60 percent of Americans are neither prepared nor practicing for disasters of any kind, be they natural or manmade. Certainly, event facilities and other public places, including hotels, have developed emergency plans. According to Reuters (Sept. 20, 2016), almost 80 percent of school districts nationwide have plans to prevent, control and help in the event of multiple kinds of emergencies, including active-shooter incidents.

Event organizers and other meeting professionals have a duty of care to ensure the safety and security of event participants. If you are among those who have yet to begin the planning process, start today. Start small and work up so you don’t become overwhelmed. Make your plan a living document that is constantly refreshed and rehearsed so it is an effective tool when emergencies happen.

RELATED STORY: Event safety tips from a meteorologist

Begin by Googling “emergency preparedness,” “crisis communications” and similar phrases—that will provide you with a plethora of samples, templates and guidelines. FEMA, OSHA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security also have materials you can implement immediately, including online classes that are free.

The process of creating an executable plan is not necessarily simple, but taking it one step at a time, you will become comfortable with creating this plan for your events.

Research and analysis are your first stop on the way to building a plan. Where is your event being held and when? Research the area for any potential threats—natural and manmade—to your event. The likelihood of an earthquake in Louisiana would be low as a threat potential, while a hurricane would be high. Is there political unrest in the city where your event will be held?

Risk management is defined as the identification, evaluation, analysis, mitigation, communication and monitoring of risks. In other words, what can go wrong, how can it go wrong and what can be done about it before it does?

4 phases of risk management

Risk management has four phases, and this is where analysis steps in. Plan for the most credible, worst-case scenarios. Start small and work up (slip and fall, medical emergency, strikes, boycotts, civil unrest, tornadoes, floods, bomb or terrorist threats/assaults and power/technology disruptions to name just a few).

Once you identify your most credible possibilities, determine what you will do to reduce or eliminate risk to life and property. Mitigation also includes various types of insurance your event may have that offers additional protections. (See image below.)

Prioritizing risks is part of your assessment process. Using a grid (example below) rank each risk to the event from insignificant to catastrophic.

Creating a risk probability chart provides a useful framework for deciding what risks need your consideration. When a risk is considered low impact and low probability, you can often ignore it. On the other end of the spectrum, a high-impact/high-probability risk is critically important.

Responding to an emergency also means a well-developed, rehearsed crisis communication plan. The U.S. government offers an excellent, detailed plan that you can adapt as your own. Download it.

The Essential Guide to Safety and Security: Best Practices for Meeting and Event Planning 2018 is free for MPI members, $49 for non-members and will coach you every step of the way.

The final phase, recovery, assumes the incident does not render the event unrecoverable and deals with the ability to restore the event after the crisis has passes. Consider, for example, bond trader Cantor Fitzgerald who occupied the top floors of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Because the company had a plan in place, and even though they lost 658 employees on 9/11/2001, they were able to immediately shift their functions to their Connecticut and London offices, where surviving traders began settling trades by telephone. Operations were resumed in two days, partly with the help of backups, software and computer systems.

Once you have conducted research and analysis, begin the planning process in six steps.

  1. Formulate a collaborative planning team
  2. Understand the situation
  3. Determine goals and objectives
  4. Develop the plan; identify courses of action
  5. Prepare the plan; obtain review and approval
  6. Implement the plan, rehearse it, maintain it and revise it

The safety and security of participants are the prime responsibility of the organization during an emergency. As situations develop and parameters of operability shift, organizations must provide a safe and secure environment for attendees, vendors and staff.

RELATED STORY: 8 essential event security details

And while you are in a risk-management frame of mind, why not also consider creating a plan for yourself and your loved ones.

Planning for protection

I asked a friend and colleague, Eric Rozenberg of Event Business Formula, for his views since he emigrated to the U.S. from Belgium for his family’s safety and security due to the explosion of antisemitism in Europe. In his words, “In an environment where danger exists, you cannot deny the reality to move. Lead, follow or get out of the way.” Eric went on to say that incidents can happen anywhere and at any time: “Preparedness is an attitude we must live by. Prepare your children without stressing them.” Keep a positive attitude. Even though Eric’s daughter was in school at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and is safe, Eric’s attitude is that “despite the Parkland event, the U.S. is the greatest country in the world. Whether for business or for family, prepare yourselves and your family to defend themselves mentally and physically.” Rozenberg’s daughters were trained in Krav Maga (a form of self-defense and physical training first developed by the Israeli Defense Force) on the use of reflective responses to threatening situations. The first thing taught by Krav Maga is if you CAN run, run.”

Eric concludes that “preparedness is a mindset to enjoy life and be prepared. Prepare by training your brain muscle.” Sound advice for business and personal plans.

The post Lack of planning won’t avert an emergency appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News