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

Pause and refresh for productivity

November 18th, 2019 @


The amount of stress that you experience everyday might well be increasing. Instead of letting everything you come into contact with master you, seek to master your environment, only allowing those things you choose to come into your consciousness. Attempting to do too many things at once only leads to stress. Taking a strategic pause every now and then can lessen the time pressure you feel, help you to be more productive for the brunt of your career and probably help you to live longer.

Years ago, a Time magazine editorial lauded one of their senior writers who died of a massive heart attack at age 44. They described him as a “vivid personality, first-class intellect, bracing professionalism.” The editorial/obituary said that this fellow did an extraordinary number of things extraordinarily well. He vigorously filled his post, and also wrote extensively about politics, social issues, the media and books.

In addition to those things, he frequently appeared on TV panels, ready to express provocative, but well-thought-out opinions. This gentleman lectured, wrote books and freelanced for other publications. Amazingly, they say that he had a wide, varied circle of friends—people at every level.

RELATED STORY: 15 guidelines for wellness zones that really work

A ghastly tribute

I was aghast when the editorial/obituary said that this fellow rarely did fewer than two things at once and lauded him for doing so. He “opened his mail while discoursing on story ideas. When he went to lunch with a co-worker, he often took a book.” Apparently, he never turned down an assignment and he attacked the most mundane task as if a Pulitzer Prize “depended on it.” The piece concluded by observing that this gentleman had a forthcoming book wherein he decried that “it was a simple fact that ‘some people are better than others—smarter, harder working, more learned, more productive, harder to replace.’”

just be

Don’t the good people at Time magazine understand that cramming everything into your life at hyper speed can contribute to early death? I wrote to the magazine following this commentary, although I didn’t expect them to answer. I asked, “Where was the reflection in his life? When did he pause? When did he ever reset his body clock? I understood that he was a notable individual, but to praise him publicly for doing two things at once, and in the same breath recount that he died of a massive heart attack at 44 is dripping with irony.”

This person was the antithesis of someone who masters his personal environment. Rather, he let all assignments, all intellectual queries, all interests, anything, apparently, that appeared on his personal radar screen, to master him.

RELATED STORY: Are you a human being or a ‘human doing’?

What about you?

In your life, what are some techniques that you could use daily to pause, collect your thoughts, reduce your level of stress and move on with relative grace and ease?

1) Close your eyes for as little as 60 seconds and visualize a pleasurable scene. It could be a waterfall, a favorite hiking trail, a mountain top view, the shoreline, a campfire or simply the image of a loved one. Any time that you can visualize a pleasurable scene, it is like resetting your internal clock. You get an immediate “time out.” Think of it as a vacation of the mind. When you return to where you are, invariably, you will be in at least a slightly better frame of mind.

2) As a variation on this theme, with your eyes closed, listen to music with your headphones. When you are concentrating solely on music that you like, giving it the undivided attention of one of your senses, the time begins to expand. A three- or four-minute-long song goes by, perceptually, in ten minutes.

3) Allow one of your senses—smell, taste or touch—to dominate. For the next several minutes, close your eyes and simply explore your immediate environment by touch only. Yes, I know that you already know how many of these things will feel when you touch them. Make a game out of it. Pretend that your sense of touch was the only vehicle that you had for understanding your environment. When you open your eyes again, the world will look a little different, and things will be a little less intense.

Do the same with your sense of smell. If you are in an office environment and think that you don’t have options, look around you. Perhaps there is a non-toxic smelling magic marker nearby. How about a flower or lead pencil or a cup of coffee? When have you stopped and actually smelled the coffee?

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

4) Play with Rover. Interacting with pets enables you to reset your internal clock. A growing body of evidence shows that pets have a calming, tranquil effect on people.

5) Notice your breath. Breath is the key to life. If you can’t breathe, you can’t live. In a particularly stressful environment, you might be engaging in shallow breathing. If you can draw three deep breaths, you will find that you can more easily feel in control.

The post Pause and refresh for productivity appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

Recognizing workplace psychopaths

November 11th, 2019 @

sinister foreboding

This article by industrial-organizational psychologist and executive coach/consultant Dr. Paul Babiak was originally published by Meeting Professionals International in July 2008, yet the content is just as valid today—especially for meeting and event planners and those in roles requiring interaction with many different people. It is republished here in recognition of the revised and updated edition of Snakes in Suits, the “definitive book on how to discover and defend yourself against psychopaths in the office” that Babiak co-authored, which was released in August.

Annoying co-workers, deceitful colleagues and egocentric clients can make the job of the meeting professional a challenge. But nothing could be worse than dealing with a psychopath.

The word “psychopath” scares people. Psychopaths are often the subjects of newspaper headlines and television crime shows—cold-blooded killers, pedophiles and ruthless con artists—people we hope to never meet in our own lives. Yet, research shows that about 1 percent of the world’s population has psychopathic tendencies. The fact is that not all psychopaths are violent and dangerous; rather, the headlines that raise our awareness have skewed our understanding of who they are and what they’re like. If one in 100 individuals you meet in any given day could have psychopathic tendencies, how can you tell if your colleague is a psychopath or just someone with a disagreeable personality? An important first step in defending yourself is to learn about and understand just what makes someone a psychopath.

Psychopathy is a personality disorder defined by 20 traits and characteristics. Studies of the personalities of criminals over the past 30 years, as well as many individuals in the general population, form the basis for this research.

To make these traits and characteristics easier to understand, we can group them into four domains based on how they play out in daily life.

1) Interpersonal domain

The interpersonal domain defines how someone with a psychopathic personality disorder comes across to other people. When you first meet a psychopath, he or she seems to be very charming, often charismatic and quite likable. Psychopaths have excellent oral skills and will impress you with their knowledge in many areas, convince you that their view is the correct one and entertain you with humorous, and sometimes pleasantly outlandish, stories. But if you spend some time with one, you’ll eventually notice the grandiose style seems a bit too superficial and the air of superiority and the sense of entitlement a bit too much to take. If you dig deeper, you’ll discover that most of what you know about them is just a mask or façade. The façade they create provides the cover they need to get what they want: money, power, sex, status and so forth. Think Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Once you suspect that someone is not who they appear to be you should be careful not to take the relationship any further. But, if this is a work situation—whether a co-worker, client, vendor or property owner—you may have to deal with him or her anyway.

RELATED STORY: 5 ways to promote positive conflict in meetings for more effective collaboration

Psychopaths are master manipulators, investing notable energy and skill in creating and then preserving their masks. Their masks are successful because they tailor them to their targets, lying to get what they want. Pathological lying, even about insignificant things, is a core trait of the psychopath.

How can we be fooled? The positive first impressions psychopaths make are prone to last far too long because it is human nature to trust our initial judgments of people. We also want to give people the benefit of the doubt. We filter in information that supports our initial impressions and filter out facts that don’t fit. Should any doubt arise in our minds, the psychopath is there with a convincing explanation or plausible excuse that soothes any concerns we may have had. Over time we come to believe we really know this person and trust him or her.

2) Affective (emotional) poverty

Psychopaths also lack the capacity to feel the wide range of human emotions the rest of us experience; they suffer from affective (emotional) poverty, which is the second domain. Neuropsychologists have discovered that the emotional parts of a psychopath’s brain work differently than the emotional parts of a non-psychopath’s brain. Words, acts and feelings don’t connect in their minds. For example, when you lie, or when you hurt someone, you feel remorse or regret, and believe you should apologize or make it up to the person somehow. Not sleeping at night when you’ve done something wrong is a symptom of a working conscience, which the psychopath lacks. So is fear that you may get caught should you break the law. On the positive side, most people take pleasure in art, music, professional accomplishments and achievements of their friends. Psychopaths do not have this capacity for human emotion. In fact, other than anger, rage and frustration, they rarely feel anything akin to normal human emotions. People who do not interact regularly with psychopaths will find this concept difficult to understand and accept, especially since psychopaths will mimic emotions in order to manipulate their targets.

Besides lacking empathy and sympathy for others and being unable to feel remorse for anything wrong they may do, psychopaths are unwilling to accept responsibility for their actions. They readily blame others for everything that goes wrong. Should you be in their lines of fire, you may find yourself a convenient scapegoat.

RELATED STORY: Thoughts from a hotel’s neuroscientist in residence

3) Lifestyle

The third domain, lifestyle, deals with how they live day-to-day. Theirs is an impulsive, irresponsible lifestyle. They lack goals and are unwilling to expend the effort needed to achieve anything of significance. However, lists of major accomplishments (faked), high-status positions (exaggerated) and significant scopes of responsibility (distorted) will fill their résumés. Their irresponsibility can be frustrating, especially if you are conscientious about doing your job and doing it well. Their impulsivity can also be dangerous as they don’t care about the impact of their actions on co-workers, clients or their employers. They do enjoy handling “the big picture” and schmoozing with clients, but details bore them, and they leave important work undone. Yet, expect them to take the credit for anything you’ve done, even if they weren’t even involved.

4) Antisocial behavior

Because psychopathic tendencies can develop early on in life (both nature and nurture are involved), psychopaths often have personal histories filled with antisocial behavior, the fourth domain in our model. Examples include early adolescent problems (such as delinquency, truancy, shoplifting, disturbing the peace, public intoxication) as well as later adult antisocial acts (such as fraud, excessive speeding violations, spousal abuse). Their inability to control their behavior in socially acceptable ways seems rooted in their belief system (they are above the law) and how their brains are organized (they don’t feel fear and suffer no guilt).

RELATED STORY: 5 tips for speaking confidently and influencing undecided stakeholders

The corporate psychopath

Interpersonal influence, emotional poverty, aberrant lifestyle and antisocial tendencies together make up the psychopath’s profile. People who demonstrate most of these characteristics tend to end up as criminals and in prison. The corporate psychopath, however, has a muted profile. He or she is typically high on interpersonal and emotional domains (they have the psychopath’s personality) but score only moderately on the lifestyle and antisocial domains (they have “learned” how to better fit into society and corporate life). Unfortunately, they can incorporate many seemingly effective traits of leadership into their masks. Yet, all the while they may be working behind the scenes to sabotage projects, ruin careers and even commit corporate fraud.

The best advice if you suspect that you’re dealing with a psychopath? Avoid contact as much as possible, document everything, follow-up on all details and keep superiors in the loop. It’s tempting to trust people who appear to be too good to be true but remember that often they are.

Pick up the new, revised and updated edition of Snakes in Suits: Understanding and Surviving the Psychopaths in Your Office (2019).

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Category : Blog and Industry News

When to ask for a raise

November 4th, 2019 @

money ball

Ask for a raise when few other people in your work environment are doing so. That begs the question, when is everyone else likely to ask for one? Traditionally, this would occur around the time of performance reviews, be they annual, biannual, quarterly or monthly.

Nell Wulfhart, at, is a decision coach who helps people make personally important choices and move on with their lives. She offers some highly worthwhile advice on proceeding with your quest for more pay. In particular, ask for a raise following your brilliant performance, when you’ve racked up several successes in a row. When you know you’re on a roll, others are likely to know it as well, especially your boss.

Sleuthing for dollars

In many organizations, departments or divisions, and even among teams, salaries are not known among one another. When you’re able to glean salary information from some of your peers and you can make a reasonable assessment as to your value to the organization, based on the information you collected, that would be a good time to proceed as well.

If you gather industry information about what others in your position are earning, that data might be useful to bring with you during your discussion and request, especially when your compensation is less than the earnings range for your position, or when you have recently assumed more responsibility. Also, when you haven’t been granted a raise more than 12 months, that can work to your favor in your current discussion.

Note: We are all influenced by a well-assembled competitive analysis. However, avoid data overkill. If possible, shrink your competitive salary analysis to a single page. (Data on sites such as and can help you assemble this competitive analysis.)

RELATED STORY: The meeting professional and overtime laws

profit more moneyDuring the day, when to seek a raise

A favorable time of day to ask for a raise is midmorning. Too early in the morning, and you’ll likely catch your boss, when he or she is concerned with a myriad of other things. Too close to lunch, and your boss might be preoccupied with stepping out of the office or with what happens after lunch.

Mornings, your boss is more likely to have a higher level of self-control and what researchers call “moral awareness.” A study jointly conducted by researchers from the University of Utah and Harvard University concluded that a “morning morality effect” results in your boss being more likely to approve of your request.

Assuming you deserve the raise that you’re seeking, your boss is more likely in the morning to carefully consider the merits of your request then at other times during the day. As the day wears on, your boss is more apt to become both mentally fatigued and less willing to be fair, according to Dr. Alex Lickerman, author of The Undefeated Mind: on the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self.

Directly after lunch is a possibility, especially if your boss appears to be in a good mood. When people have eaten recently, and are satiated, they’re more prone to a valid suggestion. If your boss seems to be in good spirits and agrees to meet with you on short notice, the stage is probably set in your favor.

The advancing afternoon is not as desirable as midmorning. Too much has built up during the day, perhaps for both you and your boss. Plus, why wait around for half a workday or more before asking a question that is bound to provoke a little anxiety?

Mondays and Fridays aren’t favorable times to seek a raise. On Monday, everyone has returned from the weekend and, perhaps, not as settled and collected as they might be on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. On Friday, people are focused on finishing up the week’s work, leaving and starting their weekend. So, all signs point to midmorning, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, about 9:45 to 11 a.m., as logically ideal times to seek a raise.

When not to ask for a raise

When your organization or company recently had big setback, lost a major account or is facing a merger, it is not an opportune time to ask for a raise, even if you absolutely merit one and your boss knows it.

Wait a few weeks, or a month or two, then discuss that you have intentionally waited, and feel that now is the time for your efforts and results to be rewarded accordingly.

RELATED STORY: Where do you rank on the salary scale?

Don’t ask and you won’t receive

It’s not advisable to ask for a raise based on your financial needs, such as seeking to buy a new house, welcoming a new baby, caring for your sick mother and so on. Those issues have nothing to do with a company’s or organization’s sound reason for increasing your compensation.

Avoid asking on the first day of the month and the last day of the month, or any other time when fiscal budgeting begins or ends.

P.S. When you don’t deserve the raise you’re seeking, no time is the right time to make the request. Worse, asking for a raise when your performance does not merit one could hamper your ability to be effective during a future attempt.

The post When to ask for a raise appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

15 great entertainment ideas for corporate events

October 21st, 2019 @

concert entertainment

When it comes to entertainment ideas for corporate events, things have pretty much been done a billion times over. There’s the photo booth, cooking classes, live bands, not to mention the escape room. Aimed at creating bonding opportunities for employees, sharing company culture initiatives and sparking collaborations, corporate events usually have strong mandates in mind, yet one of the biggest challenges is that people are pretty much dragged into going there, and end up either leaving early, leaving drunk and/or missing the point entirely. 

From conferences, gala dinners and road shows to incentive trips, corporate events are essential to a company’s success. In fact, according to the Event Marketing 2019 trends report, 84 percent of leadership believe that corporate events are critical for their company.

So how to create a powerful and memorable event for your employees?

Think about each event, no matter what it is, as an experience; a live journey for each attendee. All entertainment ideas should flow into the event and have three simple attributes: They should be sensory, memorable and participatory.

RELATED STORY: Creating memorable events focusing on the peak and end

Following our golden rule, here are our top 15 entertainment ideas for corporate events.

  1. Immersive food and cocktail station. Try a DIY gin and tonic bar or Build Your Own Poke Bowl; these collaborative activities spark the senses, create memories and are highly participatory.
  2. Augmented reality (AR) is in. Setting up an AR booth to create a scavenger hunt or training simulation not only stimulates participation but is also sensory and educational.
  3. Instigate a jam session. Live entertainment has always been a key element of corporate events. Why not make it participatory? Book musicians to start a jam session inviting attendees to pick up instruments and join in.
  4. A carefully designed escape room. An escape room with a clear objective and simple instructions can create powerful bonding experiences, inspiring imaginative scenarios and building memories.
  5. A 3D photo booth. The photo booth might be a thing of the past, but what about a 3D printer to go with it? Taking home a 3D object of oneself certainly tops instills a powerful memory.
  6. Competition app. Starting a playful competition online between attendees can inspire engagement at the event. Using tools such as Slido or Glisser are great for crowdsourcing questions, and then inviting attendees to respond.
  7. A little karaoke. Karaoke might seem like a risky activity, but all it takes is a few hidden talents from the room that can start a symphony of fun within the group.
  8. Book stomp. Introduce an opening act that inspires balance, teamwork and coordination, as well as jumpstarts the event with a surge of energy.
  9. An alluring invitation. Make attendees part of the event content by creating an engaging invitation process with a question that entices each of them to participate.
  10. A collective masterpiece. Invite guests to snap a photo on their phone or device during the event and post them on Twitter or Instagram using the event’s unique hashtag. These photos then became part of a live and evolving digital collage.
  11. A story for a story. Create an opportunity for personal, yet anonymous sharing by building a story corner, where attendees can write a short story about one of their colleagues and pick up another at the same time.
  12. Stage a hologram. Create a striking memory by having a famous character surprise the audience and pop up on centre stage.
  13. Projection mapping. Set up a projection mapping sequence tailored to each speaker, keeping guests engaged with constantly evolving visual content.
  14. Food performances. Educate and engage attendees with interactive food stalls, introducing science-based food concepts orchestrated by a laboratory of chefs concocting recipes like tomato water bubbles. 
  15. Let the employees design the event. If you are truly looking to win over your audience, why not have the employees themselves create the entertainment, with their favorite speakers, chefs and dream activities.

karaokeRELATED STORY: Classy cuisine for galas and festive events

As long as your entertainment idea follows our golden rule and is sensory, memorable and participatory, your corporate event will be a winner.

The post 15 great entertainment ideas for corporate events appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

 A career coach can accelerate your progress

September 30th, 2019 @

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.


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.

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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).

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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.

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Category : Blog and Industry News

Why you need detailed customer profiles

July 29th, 2019 @


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.

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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.

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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.

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Category : Blog and Industry News