Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

May 2012

To the Point: Meetings Are Not a Value-Add

Deborah Sexton, President and CEO

Deborah Sexton Convene

Let’s continue to reinvent our meetings so that they are seen as must-attend events.

Have you been to a movie theater lately? Many theaters are trying to improve the viewing experience with IMAX, 3-D, recliner-style chairs, reserved seating, and upgraded food and drink options. Some even offer full-service restaurants and bars. How about an NFL game? You’ll find even more JumboTrons showing replays and original content, better concessions, and a whole array of off-the-field activities - often geared toward families - designed to enhance the fan experience. Faced with the challenges of our cost-conscious, technology-driven society, the movie-theater and sports industries are taking steps to reevaluate and modernize their value propositions. And that’s why the U.S. Travel Association featured them recently in a white paper on setting a national agenda for the meetings industry.

Much like going to a movie theater or a sports arena, some may view attending a face-to-face meeting as a “nice-to-do,” not a “must-do.” And with rising pressure to cut travel and meeting costs - not to mention new technologies that are making it easier to connect remotely - we must continually reinvent our meetings.

It’s a daunting task for sure, especially when so many of you are wrestling with ever-growing to-do lists and increasing responsibilities on a daily basis. To help you hit the challenges head-on, we've recruited some of the best new thinkers out there to join us at the PCMA Education Conference, June 10–13 in San Antonio, to challenge us with new approaches to strategic leadership and innovation.

Featured speakers include Mark Scharenbroich, the creator of the “Nice Bike” principle, and Michael Rogers, who got his start writing for Rolling Stone, then moved on to run new media at The Washington Post before becoming “The Practical Futurist.” Smith- Bucklin President & CEO Henry Givray will speak about authentic leadership, and Dr. Jackie Freiberg will help participants rethink innovation, turning what many find is a tired cliché into a powerful competitive advantage.

Convene interviewed all of these speakers to give you a sense of what’s in store for Education Conference participants. (Read our interview with Givray in last month’s issue.  Read how Rogers relates the current relationship between physical and virtual meetings to his experience in the print and online media world, why Scharenbroich brings his audiences back to their first day of junior high school, and Freiberg’s tips on innovating, which she says happens “when we ‘what if’ possible challenges to life, instead of ‘yeah, but’ them to death.”

I hope you’ll join us at the Education Conference as we explore how to adapt our current ways of thinking to create an even stronger tomorrow. Learn more.

More on Tap

We continue to work closely with other industry groups to unite our voices, promote the economic impact and intrinsic value of face-to-face meetings, and fund critical research through the PCMA Education Foundation. In the near future, we’ll join forces for a follow-up Meeting Planner Intentions Survey (to measure the impact of the current economic/media environment), an updated Economic Significance Study, and a messaging project, completed through the Convention Industry Council. Stay tuned for details.

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