SEO for events in 2019

December 3rd, 2018 @

SEO

The internet landscape continues to make drastic changes as new technologies are developed, artificial intelligence (AI) is implemented and social media expands beyond its existing boundaries. For event organizers, these changes may be as worrisome as a thunderstorm in Australia (unless, of course, you’re actually in Australia). My point is that your event’s sponsors and attendees are using the internet to search for events to sponsor and attend. How will they find yours?

Google’s algorithm is the main reason marketing on social media is exploding right now. Google’s algorithm is making it impossible for new websites to reach page one, which means no free organic traffic. So, after learning that gaining free organic traffic from Google search is not really an option, how do you plan on getting customers to your website?”

In the above quote from Austin Lawson, it’s clear that Google controls the vast majority of your customers’ search results. It is the 800-pound gorilla. Maybe you don’t worry about search engine results for your events, using email marketing instead. But if you’re like us, the majority of your customers are using Gmail accounts, which are still controlled by Google. In other words: Comply or die.

RELATED STORY: Event website and SEO best practices for meeting pros

What is search engine optimization (SEO) and why should you care?

To think about SEO for events in 2019, start by appreciating that the amount of content being created on the world wide web every day is greater than 2.5 quintillion bytes. Google processes over 40,000 searches a second. Yes, a second. In a vast sea of information, how will your conference website be found? And how will it make a great impression so your members, customers and sponsors want to open their wallets and pay for your live content rather than another conference?

Here are a few tips to make sure your event is displayed by search engines:

  • Use the same domain name (in other words, the website address before the .com or .org) for your event every year. You’ll earn domain authority because Google weighs domains that have been in existence for a period of time. If you make up new domains for every new event, you’ll be at the bottom of the search pile when a potential attendee runs a search.
  • Describe your event at the very top of the event home page and use meta tags on your event pages if you have more than one page. Why? Because if you aren’t writing your own meta tags and telling Google what content is important, the search engines will scan all of your copy on the pages and determine what they think the purpose of the page is.

Search Engine Watch says, “…meta tags offer more details about your site to search engines and website visitors who encounter your site in the [search engine results]. They can be optimized to highlight the most important elements of your content and make your website stand out in search results.”

RELATED STORY: Event marketing strategies for tough economic times

How could this go wrong?

online marketingImagine a situation where a capital markets conference is confused with a conference for grocers. The search engine could see “market” and just assume it’s a retail store when in reality the capital markets refer to inter-bank lending and such. The grocery conferences will be intermixed with finance conferences because the word “market” was ill-appropriated.

  • Thirdly, you may want to consider listing your conference or trade show on an event listing site. You see, backlinks are another way Google and other search engines decide whether a website is reputable. Over time, they’ve come to determine that sites that are referred to have clout and authority. If your event is listed on Convention Nation, for example, you’ll earn a free backlink back to your site. And by re-linking back to us (for example, “proudly listed on Convention Nation”), you’ll share the referral authority.

Staying up to date on modern search engine tactics is time-consuming and frustrating, but it’s the best way to attract your customers, your attendees and your sponsors who are using search engines to see what other people are doing.

RELATED STORY: Twitter event marketing 101

If you’d like to discuss ways your event can be matched with Convention Nation attendee members, feel free to set up a call. We’ll discuss how your event is best marketed to our audience and make some suggestions. The goal is to increase your attendee satisfaction score so you can win more sponsorships.

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Category : Blog and Industry News

Importance of a sense of humor

November 26th, 2018 @

dog balloons

You know how vital it is to retain professional speakers for your meetings who can keep audiences awake and alert, through their elocution skills and their humor. Within the speaking profession itself, an age-old question-and-answer axiom remains popular to this day: “Q: Is humor important? A: Only if you want to get paid.”

Why is it that having some laughs throughout the day is not one of your ongoing, mini-objectives? It’s one thing to have a great career, increase your net worth, live in a big house, drive a nice car and enjoy the benefits of being a successful meeting professional; it’s quite another if your life is relatively humorless.

Is that all there is?

Based on some studies, 44-year-olds, on average, laugh less often each day than children under age 7 and adults over age 65. That’s kind of sad when you think about it. Imagine going years, if not decades, in your professional career maintaining a relatively humorless posture compared to those much younger or significantly older? Like the Peggy Lee song lamented, “Is that all there is?” Is the career and life that you’re currently leading all there is?

If it’s been awhile since you have let out a good belly laugh, or you’d simply like to smile more often throughout the day, here are some ideas that will get you back on the road to mirth.

RELATED STORY: How to pick the right speaker for your group

1) Buy a joke book.

What kind of joke book you want to buy is up to you. The Dilbert series by Scott Adams is quite funny if you’re into office humor. The Far Side series by Gary Larson hasn’t been in vogue for almost two decades, but my goodness is it funny even to this day. A variety of other joke books and joke genres are readily available. In fact, you don’t even have to buy a book, you can go online and find comic strips, lists of jokes by topic, by geography, and so on. Your ability to quickly find reading material that will make you laugh has never been easier.

charlie chaplin

2) Watch funny movies.

On DVD, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon or however you acquire them, you can find funny movies and funny shows that can make a difference in your life. Teen flicks are particularly funny when done well. Mean Girls, 10 Things I Hate About You and She’s All That are bound to bring a smile to your face. Screwball comedies might be your cup of tea. Some comedies from the 1930s, 40s and 50s have stood the test of time and are still funny. In addition, there are a number of channels where you can watch comedians in high gear, including Showtime, Starz, Cinemax and HBO.

3) Associate with humorous people.

If you already have close friends to exchange jokes and witticisms with, it’s to your great advantage. Now, consider your professional colleagues, people in your social circles, those you knew way back when, including college and even high school—what percentage of them are humorous? Is it one in five? Is it none in five? Is it time, perhaps, to seek out new friends who have a lighter, cheerier and more mirthful approach to life?

4) Look for everyday humor.

We all encounter humorous situations at work, at home and in life, but to what degree do we take note of them? Sometimes, we muster a half, inner smile and then in the next second, proceed past it so that the encounter has no bearing on us. If you begin to note the humorous situations all around you, soon enough, they begin to take on greater importance. You actively seek them. Before you know it, your quest for a humor-filled life becomes a significant part of your day.

If you undertake the activities above, not too far in the future, you’ll find that you’ve added a measure of humor back into your life that helps to offer some semblance of balance. After all, as a meeting professional you will face trying days and intense challenges. It’s that fine balance that makes it all so much nicer.

RELATED STORY: 21 ways to gauge your work-life balance

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Category : Blog and Industry News

5 team-building activities to evoke extreme enthusiasm

November 19th, 2018 @

business team

Team-building activities have gotten a bad rep in recent years. Even the mention of the term can quickly result in snarky comments or at least eye-rolling from employees. And honestly, who can blame them—team-building activities are often dull, awkward and, in the end, useless.

But that doesn’t have to be the case. Team building can be a very effective tool for increasing productivity in the workplace, improving communication and creating a better office culture.

But how can you ensure that your team building activities bring the desired results? Well, there are a few approaches that work great for making team-building activities in London more exciting—these ideas can not only help you achieve your event goals but do so naturally and with enthusiastic participation from your employees.

Get outside

London isn’t the most reliable city in terms of weather, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting out of the office and doing something fun outdoors.

Chances are, your employees spend enough time indoors as it is, so even a simple change of scenery can serve as a terrific morale booster and help to kick off your team-building day the right way.

There are many kinds of outdoor activities you could try, and if you want to get specific suggestions, you can always consult corporate event companies who have organized similar events multiple times before.

For those that want a bit more adventure in the outdoor activities, you can go for a more active activity such as rafting, zip lining or even a paintball tournament. These are all activities that will encourage your employees to work together and compete in a friendly environment.

Of course, you can opt for something more relaxed and simply go for a hike or even set up a picnic—this way, your employees can learn more about each other in a casual environment and also provide you with more opportunities to achieve the team-building goals that you set out.

Cooking class

The kitchen can be a great place to build relationships and get to know one another, so it only makes sense that a cooking class can be a great way to have a good time while at the same time accomplishing your team-building goals.

Learning how to cook requires cooperation and communication, which are both essential skills your employees need to develop to reach their goals in the workplace. Working together to create a meal that everyone gets to enjoy is hard to beat, so you’ll have no problem getting your staff excited.

In a typical cooking class, a professional chef demonstrates the basic skills and tools necessary to complete the culinary challenge and then people have to work in teams to complete the task.

Each person has their own task that they need to do correctly for the result to be achieved, so employees will be naturally inclined to encourage and help one another, as everyone’s working towards a common goal.

Learning how to use the tools of the trade and presenting the dishes in an appealing way will require creativity, problem-solving and teamwork, all of which are essential skills that will translate to the workplace as well.

Escape room

Escape rooms are an increasingly popular team-building activity, and for good reason—they offer a thrilling and unique challenge that requires your employees to showcase their problem-solving and sleuthing skills while at the same time working together to get out of the room.

Your employees will get a chance to show their skills and communication abilities, while you’ll be able to observe their unique traits and see the dynamics between your staff in real time, which can be very helpful when you need to allocate tasks and put together teams for various projects back at the office.

Since escape rooms typically have a time limit, that puts additional pressure to solve problems quickly, which is great for replicating the real-life demands of the workplace but without the real consequences.

Solving riddles and accomplishing goals will not only improve communication and collaboration skills in your group but will also help people relax with each other and show a more personal side, which has many benefits for improving cohesiveness and nurturing personal relationships between employees.

Get creative with filmmaking

While moviemaking may seem like something that only a professional studio could undertake, it could be a unique team-building activity for your team that provides an unforgettable experience and allows your employees to create something meaningful together.

Coming up with a plan, writing a script, having someone direct while others perform and then editing the final result may be too much of a commitment, but you can have just as much fun simply planning out the process or making a game out of it.

You could have your team come up with the entire plan for the movie, deciding on the plot, then figuring out who would be best for which part, as well as working out the numerous details of the film itself. Let your employees use their full creative potential when brainstorming ideas and see how far you can take the most exciting ideas.

You could also separate your employees into teams and have each team pitch their idea to add a bit of friendly competition to the mix. This will also show you how people deal with these kinds of situations and can help you distinguish the most creative people in your group, as well as those that are naturally inclined to take on leadership roles.

Award show ceremony

Award programs are popular among companies that want to reward their employees for achieving various goals such as good sales numbers, achievements in product development, or exceptional customer service.

Still, not many companies use award show ceremonies or they don’t use them to their full potential.

Award show ceremonies provide the perfect opportunity to not only celebrate the successes of the most prominent employees and give them proper recognition but also allow your employees to relax in a non-work environment and build relationships that go beyond the workplace.

They also enable your staff to gain a better understanding of the company’s goals and see that their work is valued, which can encourage employees to seek to improve their performance and try to work more effectively with one another.

Obviously, to make sure that interactions between your employees happen naturally, you will need a little bit of planning. Make sure that your staff is seated in a way that allows for new relationships to develop instead of just seating people in groups that already interact with each other the most.

Finally, if you want to achieve the best results, it would be a good idea to host the award show outside of the office because a new scenery will help employees relax and embrace new relationships. If you’re not sure where to find the appropriate venue, you can always hire a venue finding service.

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Category : Blog and Industry News

Creating an interruption-proof space

November 12th, 2018 @

please do not disturb

In computer science, an interruption is a signal to a computing device that halts the execution of a program in progress so that some other action can proceed. In electrical engineering, an interruption comes in the form of a circuit that conveys a signal that stops the execution of a running program.

In everyday life, an interruption is a break in the action and is derived from the Latin words inter, which is to go between, and ruptus, which is to break off. Hence, an interruption can be described as something that comes between entities and separates them, such as you and the task you’re attempting to complete! Curiously, ruptus is related to the word rupture, which in biology is defined as a tearing apart of tissue; in politics, a breach of the peace; or in everyday affairs, a state of being broken apart.

Interruptions impede productivity

For meeting professionals seeking to be highly productive, interruptions represent a “breaking apart” of their ability to stay focused and strive for completion of the task at hand. In many work environments today—the traditional office as well as in mobile settings—each one of us is prone to too many interruptions to approach our potential level of productivity. Why? We are subjected to more potential interruptions than any previous workforce since homo erectus emerged from caves.

superheroUnprecedented challenges call for unprecedented solutions. It is not enough to turn your cell phone ringer or vibrator off. It is insufficient to believe that merely closing your office door will safeguard you from intruders. It is folly to believe that tomorrow is somehow going to be better than today if we don’t take a certain number of measures that guarantee we can work for 30, 60, or 90 minutes undisturbed when we need to.

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

Many years ago, I met with the CEO of the Planning Research Corporation in his office on the top floor of a building on K Street in Washington, D.C. From this vantage point, he was able to look out of large picture windows in three directions, including to the west for dozens of miles into Virginia. His office, the foyer leading into it, the receptionist’s area prior to that, the hallway leading to that and the entire floor were notably quieter than any of the floors under it. Like so many other top executives, he knew the importance of being able to marinade in his own thoughts.

The quiet to reflect

Those reaching the top rungs of organizations and who aspire to high achievement, instinctively understand the importance of safeguarding their environment. They understand the value of being able to reflect upon the challenges before them, to utilize the full measure of their cerebral capabilities and craft a plan or devise a solution to meet that challenge.

In our own lives and careers, sometimes we don’t have the choice of working on a quiet floor with barriers surrounding our work space that ensure the quiet we need to concentrate on the challenges before us. We do, however, have options regardless of our working environment that can increase the probability we will have vital stretches throughout the day and the week, where we are free of disturbances and can safely predict that interruptions will not take us off course.

Most meeting professional, sometime throughout the week, have the opportunity to take command of their immediate environment through a variety of procedures that are well known but unfortunately not put into practice as often as one might wish.

RELATED STORY: Overlooked smart tools for productivity

Interruption-proof your environment

In my book Breathing Space, I offer some suggestions for safeguarding your working environment and minimizing interruptions.

  • Surround yourself with everything you need to fully engage in the change process, which also might involve assembling resources, people and space, as well as ensuring that you have a quiet environment free of distractions.
  • Give yourself the hours or days you need to read, study and absorb what is occurring, and to make decisions about how you’ll apply new ways of doing things and new technology to your career and firm.
  • Go “cold turkey,” although this is not recommended for most people. Suspend whatever else you’re doing and engage in whatever it takes to incorporate a new way of doing things. This is enhanced by ensuring that you’ll have no disturbances, bringing in outside experts and assembling any other resources you need to succeed.

As the AllState commercial used to say, “Life comes at you fast.” In the future, today will seem like an era of peace and tranquility. Life will come at us ever-faster as our technology and mobile devices connect us with more and more people, and information sources around the world. We have to establish effective habits and procedures to buttress ourselves against what we know is coming: more information, more communication, more to sift through, more to learn and more to respond to.

RELATED STORY: 21 ways to gauge your work-life balance

Our work week and our lives are finite. We can only cram in so much information in a given period of time. The ability to understand and absorb what we need to, and keep at bay all the extraneous information that competes for our attention is a skill which must be developed, honed and refined now. It won’t get any easier later.

The sooner we recognize that our interruption-based society is here to stay, at least for now, the sooner we can embrace and securely put into place those measures that will ensure that we can be at our best for today and for the long run.

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Category : Blog and Industry News

The latest, greatest PYM Professional Development Guide

November 5th, 2018 @

PYM PDG Fall 2018 cover square

A path forward

The response to our first edition of the Plan Your Meetings Professional Development Guide was better than we could have expected. This new resource saw the most traffic of any Plan Your Meetings publication since Meeting Professionals International acquired the company in late 2015. It’s clear we’ve found a niche that you’ve been seeking!

The latest, greatest PYM Professional Development Guide delivers updated details about scholarship, online education, live events and news resources of specific import for planners, plus additional, all-new material to help grow your skill set and professional sphere.

MaryAnne Bobrow, CAE, CMP, CMM, an industry professional with more than 20 years of experience in association and meetings management, brings forth her wealth of knowledge to help you get up to speed in “Grants and other funding processes: The devil is in the details.” We’re thrilled to share lessons from a true expert.

This Professional Development Guide also offers top tips on how to help people justify attending your meeting or event, as penned by veteran industry journalist Jennifer Juergens, and “9 strategies for last-minute event planning” by experienced meeting facilitator and speaker Anne Thornley-Brown, MBA. Thornley-Brown is a regular and much-loved contributor to the Plan Your Meetings blog.

Of course, there’s even more to be found in these digital pages, including a free embedded webinar from the MPI Academy.

As you explore this latest Professional Development Guide, please think about the topics that are most important to you and your business growth that are not currently included and then let me know. The purpose of this publication is to offer a one-stop resource for the professional development-related subjects that are most essential for you.

Read the Guide

P.S. Don’t miss free education opportunities at PYM LIVE events throughout North America.

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Category : Blog and Industry News

Weekly deals and highlights: November 1, 2018

November 1st, 2018 @

Destination Colorado
@ColoradoMeeting

When planning a Colorado meeting or event, utilizing a request for proposal (RFP) process saves precious time. Need help? Destination Colorado has you covered with a 1-2-3 process AND free planning checklist.

The post Weekly deals and highlights: November 1, 2018 appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

Redding offers planners new options, incentives

October 29th, 2018 @

Lake Shasta Dinner Cruise

It’s business as usual in the Shasta Cascade region of northern California, following a summer of high-profile wildfires in the state. While the fires did cause problems throughout the affected areas, less than two percent of the Shasta Cascade region was burned.

The area boasts stunning natural beauty and one-of-a-kind outdoor spaces for group activities—including 50 nearby waterfalls, national forests and parks, historic mining towns and more. The focus on this impactful component is being highlighted in the Redding CVB‘s new “What’s on the OUTSIDE counts, too!” campaign. Connected to this, the CVB is offering complimentary site visits to planners, new incentives and personalized tours.

“The industry trend right now is finding those nontraditional venues for conferences and meetings,” said Jennifer Fontana, group coordinator for the Redding Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Redding not only fits perfectly into that mold but it will leave a lasting impression. Redding’s distinct outdoor beauty and local flavor provides the opportunity for attendees to add variety and depth to their experiences that can only come from outside the usual conference room.”

You’ll likely need what’s on the inside, as well. For that, Redding alone offers more than 55,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, more than 2,500 hotels rooms and hundreds of restaurants.

Castle Crags State Park hikingFor more information about the Redding CVB’s “What’s on the OUTSIDE counts, too!” campaign, to schedule a visit or to learn more about the area’s meeting and event options, contact Jennifer Fontana (530-225-4105), the CVB’s group coordinator.

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Category : Blog and Industry News

Value of hosted buyer programs for planners

October 25th, 2018 @

IMEX America 2018 Smart MondayAs reports continue to fill the meeting/event industry media and the social media posts of its members, in the wake of the record-breaking IMEX America last week, it’s worth examining the opportunities available to you through hosted buyer programs.

What did you miss by not attending IMEX America? First off, they were immersed with more than 13,000 industry colleagues and 3,500 exhibitors representing 150 countries. Education on offer—including Smart Monday, Powered by MPI, and daily keynote speakers—ran the gamut through more than 250 sessions and 150 speakers. (To explore a thorough, on-site experience from this year’s IMEX America, read Rich Luna’s MPI post.)

There is a litany of live events that planners can attend for free thanks to the hosted buyer format. Find the one best suited for your needs (suppliers you may legitimately work with in the future, education sessions/keynote speakers, location, etc.), sign up and start planning.

RELATED STORY: 10 essential IMEX America hosted buyer tips

IMEX America 2018Starting with “Identify your priorities,” the above post offers advice for planners to be prepared entering the hosted buyer realm. If you qualify as a fully hosted participant, sure there will be no (or minimal) direct out-of-pocket expense for you, but your time certainly has a value—and to get the most out of going to a massive event such as IMEX America, you need to do your homework and actively engaging with the community before, during and after the event.

So, you missed IMEX America 2018. Well, now’s the perfect time to start planning a hosted buyer visit to IMEX in Frankfurt next spring (May 21-23) and/or MPI’s World Education Congress next June in Toronto, which will also have a robust hosted buyer element.

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Category : Blog and Industry News

Fall fun: Six after-hours event activities

October 22nd, 2018 @

spooky cat

Great meeting planners always have the best interests of their attendees at heart. However, many fall short of creating a truly memorable experience by leaving attendees hanging at the end of the day (no Halloween pun intended). Often, event attendees are not local and don’t have anything to do at night after the event wraps up. This void can be particularly noticeable for events held in cities that can’t rely on their tourist attractions to entertain guests.

Go the extra mile for your attendees and plan fun, local, after-hours activities for them to enjoy. These are great bonding experiences for all involved, and lead to lasting connections.

In Connecticut, where I am located, there are so many fall activities going on that it got me thinking about seasonal activities set the perfect stage for localized, unique after-hours experiences for conference attendees and exhibitors. These offer the perfect opportunity to take customers out after hours without going to a bar or club, can be packaged into VIP-branded admissions for your group, and create memories that attendees will keep talking about long after they return home.

The following focuses on after-hours activities in New England in the fall because that’s where I’m located, but these types of activities can cross over into any location and season. Here are a few of my favorites.

RELATED STORY: Finding breathing space in your life and holidays

Frightening, unforgettable memories at haunted houses

Create lasting memories (or nightmares) by being terrified together. “Haunts,” as we call them in New England, are abundant in the fall leading up to Halloween. There is no better way to bond with your colleagues than by screaming and jumping in terror together. One of my favorites is Fright Fest at Six Flags New England. Only 20 minutes from the Mass Mutual Convention Center in Springfield, Mass., and 30 minutes from the Connecticut Convention Center, this famous attraction is open until 9 p.m. during the week and 11 p.m. on the weekend. This activity will definitely leave an impression on attendees, sponsors and others who love new experiences!

autumn treesHay is not just for horses

Hay rides make for a unique after-hours activity for which everyone can get on board. They are perfect for a small group and promote engagement and participation through their close quarters. Sitting side by side with your customers and colleagues for the duration of the ride can be great for business. Nobody will want to fall off of this wagon!

Hit the wine trail

There are many vineyards in New England that offer wine tasting and wine pairing menus with fine-dining cuisine. Take a group to one of Connecticut’s 24 vineyards just for tasting, or treat them with a chef-inspired dinner that features local ingredients. This is an intimate dining experience guests will appreciate. Information can be found at the Connecticut Wine Trail website.

RELATED STORY: Can holiday stress be a good thing?

Zip-lining after dark

That’s right, it’s a thing. This may be just as terrifying as the haunted house, but possibly more rewarding at the end. There are several zip-lining adventure parks in Connecticut that will have your group soaring through the trees. Take your group to one of the Halloween-themed zip-lining adventures for extra after-hours exhilaration. Glide through the trees at night while bonding with your team.

corn fieldGet lost in a corn maze

This is the perfect activity to ditch your group of troublemakers from the conference. OK, maybe don’t do that, but it is a great networking activity that your attendees are sure to enjoy. Bring flashlights, form teams and see who can find their way through the corn maze the fastest. Just be sure everyone makes it back to the bus at the end of the night. One of my favorites is at Sonny’s Place because you can cover more than one activity if you like. Your guests can move onto a hay ride or mini-golf after they conquer the maze.

Sunset dinner cruises

If all this fright has your group ready for some R&R, head to the coast for a sunset dinner cruise. There are also lobster dinner cruises where your event guests can dive into the local cuisine. Most of the cruises last about two hours and are a unique, locally themed way to provide a private dining experience for your after-hours group.

It is well worth the investment to plan after-hours events for your guests. The bonding and memories that personalized activities produce just can’t be achieved in traditional bars and restaurants. Go the extra mile to plan something special, and show your guests you are committed to providing them with a memorable experience.

RELATED STORY: Christmas event décor ideas using new tech

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Category : Blog and Industry News

High achievement at any age

October 15th, 2018 @

whats next

Suppose you thought of departing your current organization to start your own company. Or, you want to develop some news skills, but it will take considerable time and effort to do. In case you’ve already passed a certain age and are thinking, “I have this big dream, but I’m too old,” take heart. Even if you’re in your thirties, forties or fifties, mile-high achievement could still be in store for you—even if you’re past 60, 70 or 80.

Across the board, meeting professionals are living longer than their counterparts of just one generation ago. In particular, you are likely to live longer than you think you will. There’s no telling what you’re capable of two, three or four decades hence. The legendary Grandma Moses became famous as a painter in her seventies and eighties and was still creating notable works of art past age 100.

RELATED STORY: Understand your own professional development

When Ronald Reagan was re-elected as U.S. president in 1984, he was already 73 years old, and he left office when he was 77. Someday, an octogenarian—someone in his/her 80s—will be president of the United States.

In Reagan’s career, he spent 25 years in the motion picture and entertainment business before entering politics. Challengers frequently belabored his show biz background, yet, because of his longevity, his political career was often longer and more distinguished that that of his challengers. He had simply lived more years, and hence, had done more things.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg, now 85, is a beacon of senior service to America, and hailed as a hero in many sectors of society. We could all cite many others.

For my second career…

Perhaps you’ll remain within the meeting industry or end up in some new venture that is largely unrelated. In Age Wave, Dr.Ken Dychtwald explains how it’s likely that you’ll have several careers within a lifetime—for you this could be in and out of talent development—with some careers totally unrelated to each other. After all, if you graduate college at age 22, you can work for 15 or 18 years in one industry, not even hit your forties, work 25 years in another industry, and even get your pension, and still work another 12 to 15 in another profession and only be in your 70s.

As average lifespans extend beyond 80 and 90, and the health and well-being of the typical career professional continues on at an advanced age, it’s not unrealistic to assume that you might achieve some spectacular goal in some arena of your life that is not even a consideration at this moment.

RELATED STORY: PYM Professional Development Guide

The seeds have been planted

Many people believe that the seeds of what you might be doing 20 or 40 years from now are already in formation, if only at the cellular level! When I took the course “Technologies for Creating,” designed by Robert Fritz, author of The Path of Least Resistance, I encountered one of the most powerful affirmations of my life to this point. Imagine, Fritz encourages, that everything that you’ve ever done is preparation for what’s coming next…

training coachingAll the successes, all the failures, all the things that went well, all the things that went up in flames and all of your experiences and learning might well be applied, or at least drawn upon, for the highest good, for what is coming in your life.

With that perspective, you’ve incurred no down time. Whatever roles you’ve taken on in your organization, whatever projects you’ve handled, all if it adds up to no wasted efforts. Your career up until now and your life has been a laboratory of sorts, helping you to prepare for some grand good the likes of which might still not be clear to you.

As the philosophers say, the pattern of the universe (or, more specifically for your purposes, the pattern of your career and life) is right there, visible in everything you do. You have only to recognize how to work with your strengths and limitations, aptitudes and blind spots so as to transcend yourself.

You can boldly go where you’ve never gone before and eventually set and reach goals that in an earlier time might have seemed beyond your essence, yet on some level, were within you all along.

RELATED STORY: Conferences to grow your thought leadership

Exploration 101

If you’ve been swayed a bit by some of the points in this article, here are suggestions for things you can do in anticipation of a longer life and a more diverse career path.

  1. Undertake some exploratory reading via books, magazines and online articles about the path, and field of endeavor that, for whatever reason, has lingered in the back of your mind. You’re merely exploring, so there is no right or wrong direction. What you learn is all grist, or not, for a future mill.
  2. Talk to people in alternative fields to gain first-hand accounts of what it’s like to be a bee keeper, bank loan officer, forest ranger or what have you. There’s nothing like hearing from those in the know.
  3. Take a sabbatical if your current employment position allows for it, and actually spend time in the potential future job/trade/endeavor. You might decide that you don’t like it or that it’s worth keeping in mind for the future.
  4. Talk to your spouse or partner about your potential aspirations. Who knows, maybe you’ll garner strong support!

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