I am going to predict that you will agree with me in my sentiment that I've sat through way too many bad meetings. Charity groups, business groups, social groups — all have forced me to attend meetings without agendas, without rules of order, without an end in sight. The title “worst meetings” has to be awarded to those at my old condominium homeowners association, where fights routinely broke out over which shade of beige to paint the fence. The police never actually had to show up, though sometimes that would have been for the best.
In our busy lives, it's hard to squeeze in even a well-run meeting. Which is why I've been thinking about a meeting I just attended for the newly forming ISES Orange County (Calif.) Chapter.
Persuading southern Californians to drive the freeways to get to a meeting on a rainy night is an accomplishment on its own, even when the event site is Park Privé in Costa Mesa, operated by Patina Catering. But the event professionals attending this meeting knew they were going to get more out of it than just fine food.
I know there are those in special events — indeed, in every business — who question the value of joining their professional organization. Adding one more commitment to a skintight schedule is only one problem, they say. They wonder why anyone would seek to spend time with others in the same business, who will try to steal your ideas and your clients, all while making cocktail chitchat.
I've used this space to say it before, but if your worry is having someone steal your ideas, then stop worrying. Good, innovative work always gets noticed, always gets talked about, always gets imitated. But the people who come up with this level of work don't have time to fret about it, because they're always on to the next project, setting the next trend.
If you're worried about losing clients, then your worry is misplaced. If you're taking the best care of your client — offering the best work at the best value with the best service — then nobody is going to pry that client from your side.
What associations do is enable professionals in an industry to share best practices. And this elevates the entire industry, to the benefit of everyone involved in that industry.
If you wonder why best practices matter, then turn to page 42 of this issue, where Gloria Nelson, CSEP, describes the real threat to our business — the ignorant, unprepared “event planners” who are jeopardizing the image of the true professionals.
From bad news to good news: Our editorial team welcomes Alexandra Gudmundsson as our new editorial assistant. A recent college graduate, Alexandra has already begun contributing copy to our “Eventline” e-newsletter, and you'll read more from her in our June issue. We're glad she's here.