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Making Your Career Recession-proof

It's still August, but in-house corporate event professionals are feeling a definite chill in the air.

This issue brings you the seventh edition of our annual Corporate Event Marketplace survey, and the statistics show that in-house event professionals aren't immune to the sour business news dominating the headlines.

After six years of growing optimism, only 19 percent of our respondents say they will host more events this year than they did last year, a 10 percent dip from the results of the 2007 survey. A total of 11 percent say they will stage fewer events this year than the year before, the worst showing since our 2003 survey, which went out shortly after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

Event professionals tend to be optimistic — and resilient — so it's not surprising to see that nearly a third predict they will stage more events in 2009 than this year, while almost two-thirds say they will stage at least the same amount. For the full story, turn to page 27.

Investors in booming economies often pat themselves on the back, impressed with how clever they are. But once the market turns — and it always does — it's time to stop patting and start paddling.

Whether you're an in-house or independent pro, don't let the bad business news put the chill on your career. Instead:

Show clients — internal and external — the value of your events. Our survey discussed above lists 10 metrics — could you be measuring and demonstrating the success of your event in new ways?

Show creativity. Entertainment expert Debbie Meyers, CSEP, promotes “deco-tainment.” Imagine a gorgeous living statue that suddenly starts to sing. Imagine how cost-effective that can be. (Turn to page 58 to read more.)

Show good sense. With home foreclosures and rising food prices in the news, think long and hard about how appropriate various event elements are. Maybe this is the year to postpone the executives-only caviar-and-champagne bash and bring back the family-friendly company picnic. Taking it a step further, think about creating events that make a contribution to society. Leading corporations are adding projects such as cleanups at needy schools to their incentive trips and annual meetings. The payoffs: proud employees and a glowing public image for the company. And for the event pro who made it happen.

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