When We Meet, We Change the World

By Paul Van Deventer President & Chief Executive Officer, Meeting Professionals International (MPI) | September 18, 2016

In the U.S. alone, the meeting and event industry drives $280 billion in annual economic impact. To add perspective, that’s more than air transportation, the motion picture industry or spectator sports. Additionally, the industry generates a massive amount of taxes, with $88 billion generated at the state, federal and local level last year; taxes that help our communities pay for services, build schools, fix roads and maintain parks.

The Meetings Mean Business ( MMB ) Coalition—an industry advocacy group of which MPI is a part—has been conducting video interviews with top executives at major companies to find out just how important meetings and events are to their bottom line. Here’s what Levi’s Brand President James Curleigh had to say: “How do you turn moments into momentum? Well you do that by meeting face to face…. Enter the moment of engagement into a meeting. And after that, you’ve set the conditions for success, and then you can use all of the different communication vehicles at your disposal. But don’t miss out on the moment that matters most, which is the first meeting.”

So we know the value of face to face meetings, and we’re slowly but surely spreading that message beyond our own ears through grassroots efforts, lobbying campaigns with legislators and the annual Global Meetings Industry Day ( GMID ). But as any successful meeting professional knows, designing and executing an effective live event is a complex operation with numerous challenges.

I recently read an article about the most stressful jobs in 2016, and No. 5 was “event coordinator.” As it turns out, the meeting and event planner profession has landed within the Top 10 of the CareerCast.com Most Stressful Jobs report for the past three years—placing No. 8 in 2015 and No. 5 in 2014.

On any given day, meeting and event professionals spend time juggling tight deadlines, managing client expectations, engaging with suppliers and vendors and keeping track of all the details that go into planning a meeting. There’s also the challenge of keeping pace with new markets, global security risks, innovations in technology and new ways of doing business. The reality is that change is happening all the time, so successful meeting and event professionals must be willing to embrace change, embrace best practices and have the skills and confidence to handle it all. Let’s take a look at some of the significant challenges facing today’s professionals, and how they’re responding.

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Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

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