Monday, December 15, 2014

Meetings Business and Learning From Each Other

I am honored to be part of the "Meetings Industry".  The people who work in this business are wonderful souls, hard working, helpful, and entrepreneurial.  

Each month I write an article for the MPI (Meeting Professionals International) Texas Hill Country Chapter Newsletter as a way to serve my industry.  I am a proud member of this chapter and of MPI.

This month's article is about how people in this business learn from each other:

Learning From Others in “The Biz”

The meetings business is great because of the people. The vast numbers of professionals it takes to produce successful events, including planners, hoteliers, venue operators, transportation companies, caterers, speakers, entertainers, etc., means that we are all constantly exposed to smart individuals – that means we should always be learning.

We can all learn from one another. There is value in the friendships we create across the different types of businesses that populate our industry. With each conference we can and should discover new ideas and knowledge. While I invest a lot of time with other speakers (I'm active in the National Speakers Association and have a mastermind group with four peers who share best practices), I also know that those who work in other disciplines in the meetings business are some of the best people to turn to when trying to find ways to improve my business offerings. As a speaker it would be easy for me to only think of meetings from the viewpoint of the conference agenda and how I fit into the meeting. But the more time I spend with other friends in this industry, the better informed I become in understanding what makes a great meeting and how my little piece fits into the whole.

Nancy Vogl, owner of Nancy Vogl Speakers Bureau, agrees. She has spent decades working to connect speakers to the right events and has found the key to success rests in the relationships she has forged over the years. These relationships have proved to be critical not just in regards to winning more business, but in overcoming the ups and downs that all business owners face over time. The turbulent economy, 9/11, and the changes in the meetings and speaking business have thrown many of us curveballs, but Nancy Vogl keeps adapting. "We have so many resources in the meetings industry, people I can turn to for guidance and advice ... there is no excuse for not being successful," says Vogl. "With all we can learn from each other, and the number of supportive people who are always willing to share ideas and best practices, this industry keeps me energized and growing."

Stormi Boyd, CMP, CMM, the director of professional services at Red Velvet events adds, "I find it very rewarding to work with other event professionals. In this industry we work so closely together that you develop real friendships. This makes it easy to quickly call on each other for advice." Boyd says she often reaches out to hotelier industry friends for guidance and insight into policies and contracts, even when their property may not be directly impacted. "And the relationships work in the opposite direction as well. I was just recently utilized by a director of sales as a test subject for their newest sales associate. The fear of the new sales associate making mistakes with potential clients was mitigated because she was able to 'practice' with a live person who regularly produces events."

Boyd recommends finding a mentor in the industry, but not necessarily in your same function. Her mentor is in the audiovisual business and has far more years in the industry. "I can reach out to my mentor for just about any question that might come up. The ability to receive reliable advice and answers quickly can be a game changer in the life cycle of an event."

As we go into the New Year, take the time to review your network and determine if you have established the right relationships to ensure you have access to those who can help you learn and grow in 2015. The good news is that almost everyone in the events business is friendly and will be happy to help you if you reach out to them.

Thom Singer is known as "The Conference Catalyst," a speaker who mixes meaningful content with a high energy presentation style that results in audiences gaining new knowledge and taking action on what they have learned. Thom is also the host of the "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" podcast. He can be reached through or (512) 970-0398.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

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