The “Why” Behind Meetings
By Mitchell Beer, CMM, The Conference Publishers Inc.
Human survival depends on our ability to meet, interact and build trust, according to keynote Simon Sinek, possibly making WEC the most important meeting he has ever addressed. The conference might well have been held via video link, he said, but the results would not have been the same.
“Nothing replaces human connection,” he said, as even the most committed social media enthusiasts know when they gather for their own face-to-face meetings. Sinek introduced a Golden Circle model, common to all leaders and effective communicators. While most organizations talk about the “what” (the price and features of a product or service), customers pay attention to underlying values to form emotional connections.
For example: When Martin Luther King Jr. drew an audience of 250,000 to the U.S. Washington Mall, there were no emails to announce the speech, Sinek said. “And by the way, he gave the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, not the ‘I Have a Plan’ speech.”
MPI opened its 2011 World Education Congress on Sunday morning with a general session closed by Sinek that emphasized the “why” behind every aspect of meetings and the New Rules of Engagement that will drive member success.
Outgoing MPI Chairman Eric Rozenberg, CMP, CMM, traced MPI’s transformation into a content-centric organization, before asking chapter presidents to stand and announcing them as the collective winner of the 2011 Chairman’s Award(s).
“You’re the ones devoting the time to develop MPI and demonstrating the passion and commitment to help this organization thrive,” he said.
Incoming chairman Sébastien Tondeur stressed that “when people gather, magic happens.” He introduced the New Rules of Engagement—attention to business value, effective use of technology, community impact and the creativity and power of ideas—that will help meeting professionals thrive.
“Ideas and innovation are the sources of economic and social prosperity,” he said. “Our industry’s gift is passion.” Another passion is its generosity, as evidenced by a new scholarship from The Walt Disney World Corp., which will fund 180 memberships for meeting industry professionals who want to join MPI for the first time. (Get the details at www.mpiweb.org
Meanwhile, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs noted her community’s own gifts—memories, fun, unique experiences and smiles—while reminding delegates that her destination also means serious business with its diverse local economy.
Hospitality and meetings are “the ribbons that connect us all” in a tough business environment, said Gary Sain, president of Visit Orlando, “Face-to-face meetings are what it’s all about.”