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Roger Rickard to CMPs: Communicating Your Value Has Never Been More Crucial

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As the voices attacking the meetings industry get louder, so should the responses from CMPs advocating the value of our work. Leading advocacy professional Roger Rickard, President and Chief Advocate at Revent and Founder of Voices in Advocacy, calls CMPs to action and offers a preview of his Conclave keynote session, where he will show meeting professionals exactly how to be their own best advocates.


What is the biggest challenge the meetings industry faces in the next 12 months?


The relevance of meetings and our ability as an industry to speak out on the vital role meetings and conference play in advancing our society. This is not a new challenge for the industry; however, it has become a front and center issue due to the climate and actions in Washington: The tightening of the approval process for travel and conference planning within the federal government. The media slant that meetings are about "wine or tasty dishes" or "boondoggles in the sun." These are examples of what we must do to move the dialogue from social attacks to key objectives such as sparking innovation, fostering collaboration, and providing unique learning and training opportunities.


What is your biggest frustration with what you observe in the industry today?

Two things immediately come to mind. First, education within the meetings industry - we must provide people with a proper platform to learn and grow. Second, it is the understanding that the meetings industry is in fact its own industry and not a subset or part of another industry. Meetings, conferences and events are a vital component to all successful organizations regardless of their product or service, their industry, across any boundary, and in any socio-economic system.

As a keynoter for the Convention Industry Council's Conclave '13 in June for CMPs, what message are you planning to deliver to them, and what advice can you give them specifically in their efforts to elevate awareness and professionalism in our industry?

The message is "The Value of the Meeting Professional." All meeting professionals should be able to quickly and effectively answer this question, as posed by the leader of their organization, "What value do you bring my organization?" The answer might not be what you think it is. It is, however, vitally important to not only know the answer but to additionally have the ability to effectively communicate your answer. I am excited to be able to deliver this to CMPs who have already made a commitment to advancing the standards of their industry through their accreditation.

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