Featured Article
Are You Financially Fluent?
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August 2014

In This Issue

Featured Article
CMP Events
Research and Trends
CMPs in the News
CMP on the Road
On The Move
For the past several years, there has been a lot of talk about meeting professionals getting a seat at the table. If you are on the planning side of our industry, there is an expectation that you are well versed in both the strategic and tactical aspects of planning meetings and events. Likewise, for those of you on the supplier side of business, the expectation is that you possess the requisite skills to perform your job with competence. You may excel at your job because of those proficiencies. However, will they get you that seat at the table or the next level up within your organization?

For the most part, finance sessions at industry meetings focus almost exclusively on some aspect of budgeting. There is no doubt that budgeting is an important function for all. CIC, through its signature event CMP Conclave, however, is raising the bar this September and challenges attendees to participate in Financial Fluency for Meeting Professionals on Sunday, September 7, 2014, from 2:45 p.m. to 4 p.m. Those who attend this session have the opportunity to expand their knowledge of business finance, a key asset when communicating with organizational leaders. 

Consider the following true story: A hotel promotes its well-respected Director of Sales to Executive Vice President of Sales, filling a void left by the sudden departure of her predecessor. She is a bright, well-educated and an experienced hospitality industry veteran. Assuming her new role just two months before the property's annual budgeting process becomes problematic, as her predecessor has left no information on budgeting processes. The property itself holds all of its financial dealings close to the vest, sharing only with those at the executive level. For the first two months in her new position, her steep learning curve means long days and nights gaining an understanding of areas of finance previously unknown to her. She did it, she is excelling at her job, but on reflection, she wishes she had had somewhere to turn to help in her upward transition.

Fast forward to a conversation between two industry professionals, lamenting that most people in our industry are neither exposed nor understand why it is so important for meeting professionals, particularly those interested in career advancement to understand more about finance than just budget preparation and maintenance. Thus, the Financial Fluency session was created for the 2014 Conclave. Conclave attendees have many quality choices. Finance is a dry topic, but this session promises to be anything but boring. We will move at a fast pace and will ask you to come to the session having downloaded and at least skimmed the contents of the handouts.  

For those who are responsible for planning meetings and events, ask yourself the following:
  1. Can you explain to the C-suite in your organization the monetary value that the meetings and events you are responsible for contribute to the organization’s bottom line?
  2. If you believe that a current meeting or event has outlived its purpose, could you demonstrate to the C-suite (or the CFO), using financial data to support your position?
  3. If you wanted to purchase a new software for your meetings department that was not included in the current year’s fiscal budget, do you know that there is more than one type of budget in many organizations and funds may still be available to make your department more efficiently?
For those involved in any type of venue sales – facilities and lodging – ask yourself the following:
  1. Does your knowledge of your organization’s operations lie solely in areas affecting sales?
  2. How well do you comprehend how other departments operate and how each contributes to the overall success of your property or organization?
  3. Do you know the difference between horizontal and vertical analysis? Which would you use to analyze trend data?
If you are able to answer the questions above, then the financial fluency session is not for you. However, if you find yourself unable to answer any or all of them, then join us on September 7, 2014, participate fully, and leave with confidence that you are well on your way to financial fluency.

In the time allotted for this session, we cannot possibly deep dive in every area we think you need to know about.  However, we do hope we can move this conversation beyond budgeting and towards a learning experience that aids you personally and professionally.
The Biggest Hybrid Meeting Mistake
When planning a hybrid meeting, it’s important to avoid the most common mistakes. Probably the most consistent complaint by an attendee is the feeling of being forgotten or disconnected from the onsite experience. To more clearly illustrate this, let’s imagine a scenario together:

You are a member of the National Dog Walkers Association. You have just started your own home-based business so you register for the annual meeting. Your goals are to learn best practices from peers around techniques with aggressive dogs and also acquire skills for business owners from experts. You pay for the event and receive a confirmation, but the only instructions you receive are the address, dates and times of the event ... and maybe a website where you will research all of the content to plan your agenda. A little nervous about what to expect, you nonetheless are looking forward to attending the event. 

After figuring out the best system to get there, the best clothing and meal plan for your needs, hunting around to see what speakers will be onsite, looking through LinkedIn and Facebook to try to get a feel for other attendees who might be there, you finally arrive onsite. At this point, you are directed to a room with no one else in it, aren’t sure when meal or bio breaks will be, look at a projection screen that says "waiting for content" and listen to weird music while waiting for a speaker to arrive. On the hour, a sponsor walks in, gives details on their products and services and then walks out. Immediately following that, a speaker walks in, opens a PowerPoint and launches into a presentation without looking at you or acknowledging your presence. After an hour of sitting in the same chair, holding your hand up for half an hour while listening to your phone ringing and email pinging, the speaker finally answers your question. As abruptly as they walked in, they then exit the room and you are notified the next session will begin in 15 minutes. What you are supposed to do for the next 15 minutes is a little unclear, so you quickly jump up and go grab a coffee down the hall. Alone. With no chance to ask other attendees those questions you’ve been longing to ask about the aggressive behavior of your teacup poodle client.

At the end of 15 minutes, a speaker walks in and duplicates the process. After about 35 minutes, your email and phone become a lot more interesting. Plus your stomach is starting to growl and you wish you’d had something a little more substantial to eat before entering the room (of course, preparing for the day was hard to do with limited knowledge of what to expect).

After a day of eating alone, speakers ignoring you and no chance to get answers to your most pressing needs, you’re pretty sure tomorrow you’re going to skip the event altogether and see if the LinkedIn Forum solves the riddle of Tiny’s ankle snapping angst. 

If we are not equally measuring the needs of our remote audience with those of our in-person, then we are not actually planning an event, but simply broadcasting a TV show. Do try to remember this when planning your hybrid meetings and think about all the opportunities for engagement in order to re-create the fun and value of attending the event, whether onsite or offsite. And don’t forget to attend my session, September 7, 2014 at the CMP Conclave in the wonderful city of New Orleans!
Meeting CRISIS Management: The Elephant in the Room
The Urban Dictionary defines the saying, "elephant in the room" as "n. A very large issue that everyone is acutely aware of, but nobody wants to talk about. Perhaps a sore spot, perhaps politically incorrect, or perhaps a political hot potato, it's something that no one wants to touch with a 10-foot pole. Sometimes pink elephant in the room." 

"And the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition for this sense of ‘elephant in the room’ and variants thereof: ‘A significant problem or controversial issue which is obviously present but ignored or avoided as a subject for discussion, usually because it is more comfortable to do so.’

"The OED’s first published reference for this usage is the title of a 1984 book, 'An Elephant in the Living Room: A Leader’s Guide for Helping Children of Alcoholics,' by Marion H. Typpo and Jill M. Hastings."

What’s the first significant event you remember that caused a disruption to a meeting or to guests at a meeting in a hotel in which you worked? Was it a CEO who was walked? A speaker who was a no-show? Shipment of materials that never arrived? Food poisoning of an entire group after a banquet? Death of a participant, staff or Board member? Hurricane – Katrina or Rita or other named storm? After this event, what did you do to change how you assessed the risk and planned for contingencies for your meetings? 

Certainly 9/11/01 is remembered even if one had not yet been in the industry. It was a day of catastrophic events that impacted everyone worldwide. In the D.C. area, many of us met weekly once we were all safely back after getting participants at meetings safely back to their homes. We even met with airport security personnel to understand more about our responsibilities as things changed rapidly.

It’s an assumption that any emergency occurrence at one of your meetings or in a hotel or convention center or destination in which you worked would ensure you and those with whom you work would implement different strategies and protections for "the next time." And yes, I know what "assume" does!

Thus, our first "elephant in the room": Few meeting destinations and venues are assessed for safety prior to selection and contracting and fewer meetings have written contingency and emergency plans that are consistently and thoughtfully prepared and staff and vendors, on site and back in the office, trained on procedures.

Assessment basics include:
  • Before completing your RFP, research safety and security issues that concern you or your group, making the research destination and time of year specific.
  • Write an extensive RFP to be completed by the DMO (aka CVB) in the cities being considered about the safety and security of the destination, their plans for evacuation, with whom those plans are coordinated and implemented (City? State? County? Federal government?), how the hotels and other venues are involved, and what their experiences are in practicing and/or implementing those plans. 
  • In your RFP for hotel/s or other venues, include questions about all safety issues including back-up generator capacity, water source/s, number and location of AEDs, number, experience and hours of security personnel, their evacuation and shelter-in-place plans, to name just a very few.
  • When conducting a destination and site inspection, focus less on what’s cool and pretty and more on how people will be safe and sound.
Those who do prepare usually look at the obvious: health and medical, transportation, accidents in and outside the facility, speaker no-shows, demonstrations against a speaker for your group or another or the facility itself. 

What about the less obvious (!) elephants? In the session Brad Goldberg and I will facilitate on Monday, September 8 at from 9:45 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., we look at three even less obvious elephants that are in the news.

Why should you attend? As CMPs, you are held to a higher standard of care. And as Jeffrey King, esq., a former Counsel to the CIC, said to me years ago, "It doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong, you can still be sued." At the very least you want to have a good defense in what you learned and did.

Recommended: google alert for the city, convention center and hotel/s you’ll use; subscription to the local business journal at www.bizjournal.com.
What About Me? Beating Meeting Planner Burnout!
Did you know that according to an American Psychological Association study, one-third of Americans feel they are living with extreme stress? You’ll be even more surprised to find out what U.S. News reports about the stress level of meeting planners!

Here’s what you need to know:
  • In your business as meeting planners, you give of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally, and you may sometimes lose YOUR sharpness, intensity, and /or effectiveness on the job and in your personal life. Many times this is what adults characterize as "burn-out." 
How do I know? As a hospitality professional working in this industry since the age of 15, I’ve experienced burnout many times! My story is most likely no different from yours ... running around to take care of my clients, sacrificing my own sleep and time for myself were the norm. But, when I found myself in the doctor’s office hearing the words, "the next time I see you will be at your funeral," it prompted me to change! I began researching the topic of stress and burnout and speaking to mental health professionals to learn how I can prevent this from happening.

It’s not easy and we all have to put in the work to change our situations. But, we’ll do it together! In this session, our focus will be on YOU as we walk through some proven ideas taken from the book, "The RevPAR Formula," on how to prevent burnout.

Join us, Sunday, September 7, 2014 at 9:45 a.m. for the session, "What About Me? Beating Meeting Planner Burnout!" We’ll develop a prevention plan so that you can get back to taking care of YOU, which will allow you to take care of your stakeholders with sharpness, intensity and effectiveness! NOW, that’s a definite "win-win" situation!

CMP Events
Registration for the 2014 CMP Conclave is Closed!

The Convention Industry Council is pleased to announce that due to an overwhelmingly positive response, attendance for the 2014 CMP Conclave has reached its maximum capacity and registration is now closed. Thank you to all CMPs, partners, sponsors and speakers for helping make the planning for this year's highly anticipated event – exclusively for CMPs – such a success! We look forward to seeing those of you attending Conclave next month for two and a half days of cutting edge courses, next level networking, and social activities that will leave you refreshed, energized, and better equipped to take your career to the next level. Be sure to mark your calendars for the 2015 CMP Conclave, September 27-29 in Reno, NV! 
Mark Your Calendars ~ Sustainable Meeting Planning Program Webinar!

The Sustainable Meeting Planning Program® (SMPP) is here to help! The SMPP is an online tool for sustainable meetings that helps assist in planning, managing and scoring green meetings. Compliant with APEX/ASTM and ISO sustainable planner standards, the SMPP® is a set of easy, ready-to-use checklists and scoring forms which work hand in hand with, and reference back to, the standards.Additional features include a planner dashboard and public directory of Sustainable Meeting Planners.

Want to learn more about how the SMPP can help you? Join us on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at noon EST for a free webinar and see how this new tool, designed with planners in mind, can help keep you on top of your game and give you a competitive advantage through responsible planning strategies.

Registration is limited to the first 100 participants, so sign up today!
Tropicana Casino
CIC CEO Takes on the Convention Crashers
To the Editor:

"Professional Networking, Minus the Conference Fees" (Business Day, Aug. 19) gives a platform to people to do what can only be described as consuming a product without paying for it.

Frankly, I am surprised that those entrepreneurs featured in the article would go on the record and say as much. Membership associations rely on their events and educational offerings to generate revenue. It’s just like any other business.

Would you let someone benefit from your work, product or service without paying for it? In the scheme of things, these registrant scofflaws are the exception, but meeting organizers are forced to invest in added technology and security to discourage others from skirting the system, increasing the cost of the ticket to the paying customers.

Those quoted in the article justify their actions by saying they are not interested in the panels, but those who attend these panels are the very same people they want to meet with "in between sessions or at the bar." We don’t have the data to quantify how much these "lobbycons," "suitcasers" or "conference-crashers" are costing meeting organizers, but the amount doesn’t matter. Wrong is wrong, no matter how you justify it.

Chief Executive
Convention Industry Council
Alexandria, Va., August 22, 2014

Recently Published in The New York Times
AHR Site Selection
Naylor, LLC
Research and Trends
Meetings & Conventions 2014 Salary Survey
From Meetings & Conventions...

"The news this year: Since our last survey in 2010, corporate salaries are essentially unchanged at $75,969, while association planner pay dipped by about 2 percent to $73,741. Overall, planner earn an average base pay of $72,729 per year. 

The gender-based pay gap is a gulf: Men earn about $30,000 more than female planners each year, although they tend to be a few years older, with more experience and longer hours. 

One-third or respondents say they are less satisfied with their jobs this year than last."

Get the full results here.
CMPs in the News
Michael Lynn, CMP, Named 2014 Exhibit Marketer of the Year
From the press release: 

"The Expo Group is pleased to announce the third annual The Expo Group Exhibit Marketer of the Year Award was presented last night to Michael D. Lynn of L-3 Communications at the E2MA Red Diamond Congress Awards Gala.

Michael, a veteran of the events industry, is the Director of Exhibitions, Events & Protocol for Aerospace Systems Division for L-3 Communications. From executing memorable experiences for his customers to implementing cost savings for his company, Michael exemplifies the well-rounded individual that consistently gives back and promotes the event industry. He is also part of a small group of individuals to receive six industry-specific certifications including CEM, CMP and CTSM just to name a few."

Click here for more information on his award.

CMP on the Road
See Us at...
2014 CMP Conclave
September 6-8, 2014
Hyatt Regency
New Orleans, LA 
More Information 

IMEX America
October 14-16, 2014
Las Vegas, NV
More information
Apply to be a part of the first CIC/CMP Hosted Buyer Group and attend the Hall of Leaders Gala!  
On The Move
On the Move
Karen Arends, CMP, is now Vice President, Intermediary Events for Guggenheim Investments located in New York, NY. She was previously the Americas Head of Event Marketing for Macquarie.  

Emily Lavin, CMP, is now the Chief Marketing Officer for Cuisine Unlimited. 

Monica Price, CMP, is now the Manager, Membership Development at Consumer Electronics Association.

Stephanie Saulnier, CMP, is now a Senior Group Sales Manager at The Charles Hotel located in Cambridge, MA. She was previously a Director of National Accounts with Colonial Williamsburg Hotels in Virginia.

My Duyen Tran, CMP, is now a Meeting Planner at BCD M&I on Pfizer dedicated account.

Make an awesome career move? Let us help you celebrate! Send the details of your latest career triumph to cmptoday@conventionindustry.org. And while you're at it, be sure to log into www.conventionindustry.org and update your official CMP record.

The Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) is a
program of the Convention Industry Council

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