Some members of the media are calling attention to the meetings industry in a spotlight that blurs the benefits of face-to-face events.
A report from California-based KTVU on Monday, February 18, highlights that the United States Postal Service will be spending upwards of $2 million to send the Postmaster General and 400 USPS employees to the National Postal Forum in San Francisco. The Washington Times picked up the story with a headline that reads “Broke U.S. Postal Service pays $2M for conference, golf, party.”
While the USPS has yet to release an outline of the expenses that comprise this budget, the organization has made it clear that it is not covering all of its attendees’ personal expenses. Employees will shoulder the costs of golfing fees along with some additional costs.
As the news unfolds, leaders in the meetings industry must take time to fully understand the circumstances and give all parties the opportunity to demonstrate their rationale and the business benefits of their strategy and decisions. While headlines may lead to negative assumptions from a public that has seen plenty of headlines of massive losses and reductions in delivery service, the reality is that participating in this kind of conference is what will help the USPS determine a path to return to profitability.
The NPF offers four days of education that will undoubtedly play a role in shaping the future of mail delivery. The session lineup includes courses such as “The Digital Journey: Shaping the Future of the Postal Industry”, “Enhancing the Value of Print” and “Securing Your Business in an Insecure Digital World.” As more people pay their bills online, these sessions are very relevant for those 400 employees who will be on-site.
If the Postal Service is going to determine a way forward, it’s not going to happen in a silo behind closed doors. It’s going to happen by meeting new customers, strengthening relations with current customers, gaining new knowledge and searching for new solutions to reduce costs in the digital age. All of these activities can occur in one place: a face-to-face meeting.
Make Your Voice Heard
The meetings industry is no stranger to scrutiny, and this news reinforces the need for all meeting professionals to show their support for the real benefits of bringing people together. Meetings are not parties or golf outings; they are idea exchanges that, when designed effectively, power prosperity and business success. For businesses like the USPS that have been facing significant financial struggles, meetings and events can be the key to laying a foundation for a strong future.