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It’s All About People to the


point Deborah Sexton President & CEO deborah.sexton@pcma.org


Why we need to go beyond money when we talk about the benefits of face-to-face events.


O


Convening People


While the goal of our industry is to bring people together to network and learn, we recognize that not everyone learns — or interacts with each other — in the same way. Convene Senior Editor Barbara Palmer interviewed Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, to learn how planners can design events that engage the less outgoing among us (see p. 63).


ne of the lessons from the GSA scandal is that our industry is still in need of a consistent messaging campaign about the value of face-to-face meetings.


The landmark Economic Signifi- cance Study that was released last year by PricewaterhouseCoopers, under the guidance of 14 meetings industry organizations including PCMA, sent an important message: In-person events make an enormous contribution to the economy. But what’s still sorely needed is a message that goes beyond economic value. We need solid talking points comprised of more than anecdotal evidence about how people — and in turn, their organizations — succeed as a direct result of participating in orga- nized face-to-face events. At the end of the day, the meetings


industry is a people industry. It’s about convincing different kinds of people with different levels of experience, often from different kinds of employers, in different geographical regions, to get up from their desks and come together for a common purpose. It’s about creat- ing unique face-to-face experiences. It’s about helping participants learn and grow and make connections, so that when they return home, they’re in a better position to make a difference in their respective lines of work. PCMA is really quite similar. At our core, we’re a people organization. Our strategic goals revolve around connecting and building community among PCMA members, educating our members and those across the industry, and promoting the value of professional convention management. At PCMA, we’re working hard to reach out to all different types of people


8 PCMA CONVENE JUNE 2012


involved in the meetings industry and to better serve the varying needs of our members. We’ve been growing our membership in several vertical markets and will be expanding our outreach out- side North America. We’ve also made some changes to better serve and com- municate with our existing members, and are working to engage different sub-groups, including new profession- als and educators. As for the benefits — beyond those


that are purely economic — of face-to- face meetings, PCMA will continue to advocate across industry organizations for a consistent messaging campaign. In the meantime, we’re collaborating with ASAE, U.S. Travel, and other groups to try to reverse post-GSA legislation that lim- its government employees’ attendance at any private meetings. (Read more about this and the GSA crisis on p. 15.) We’ve also held webinars and have been reminding industry professionals of the educational resources PCMA has avail- able to help them execute events using the highest meeting planning standards. What steps have you taken to com- municate the value — both economic and non-economic — of your own meet- ings? How can PCMA assist you in that mission? Write to me at deborah .sexton@pcma.org.


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PCMA.ORG


PHOTOGRAPH BY MICHAEL ABRAMSON


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