By Les Selby, CMP, CMM
Since the holidays, I have been focused on cleaning my home office.
One of the most time-consuming tasks has been going through over 20 years worth of industry publications – MPI’s One+ (and its predecessor, The Meeting Professional); M+IT (Meetings & Incentive Travel); M&C; the MPI Toronto Chapter magazine and several others.
I realize print publications have one disadvantage compared to their online versions: it’s much more efficient to have an article database that allows the reader to perform content searches.
Having said that, I still like to reference printed documents when I am doing research, so I have been going through hundreds of magazines, to retain some of the articles I think may be of personal use in the future.
One of the related benefits of this print review has been the opportunity to see what our meetings and event industry perceived as important over the years.
I couldn’t help but notice how the same issues have held our industry’s attention for more than two decades: creating memorable events; proving the value of meetings; being perceived as professionals; developing successful partnerships, etc.
That made me wonder why our industry has made so little progress through the years.
One of the main reasons, I think, that so many issues have not been resolved is that our industry is comprised of a number of interest groups (that I like to think of as tribes), rather than a community of like-minded individuals.
We are all employed in the meetings and incentive industry, but planners, hoteliers, caterers, speakers, entertainers and audiovisual professionals all face different challenges and have different goals.
And although we all make our living from the same industry, we don’t really share any common objectives or strategies.
Without a collective focus, I have to question how we will share in a collective success.
Do we even share a common understanding of what success is?
I don’t believe we need more industry advocacy.
I think we will share career success only when someone can unite our interests and demonstrate to the public that our industry is an economically important sector that successfully brings people together to solve problems and share ideas that improve our society and its economy.
Anyone ready to assume that role?