There are some new developments about the attack on our industry due to the GSA fallout since our last update (e.g., the Executive Order from the President). While there have been some positive steps led by ASAE, the way many people have not reacted reminds me of a famous social psychology study conducted in the 1960s about individuals responding better to a crisis than groups in the same situation. In the study, Columbia University students sat in a room filling out a survey. Some students were left alone, while others were in rooms with two other students. As they filled out the survey, smoke poured into the room through a vent. It continued to flow into the room until there was a haze.
The resulting actions were quite amazing. Of the students sitting alone, 75 percent of them got up and notified someone about the smoke. However, of the three-student groups, a meager 38 percent of them reported the smoke. They sat there, breathing in smoke, each looking to the other to do something.
For the meeting industry, that smoke pouring into the room is proposed U.S. government legislation that will limit government spending on and participation in conferences. These proposals are due to the GSA fallout. Last week, ASAE and other industry organizations delivered a letter to Congress with 2,100 signatures on it asking the government to reconsider these proposals introduced in the House and Senate.
Think about that. Out of an industry of tens of thousands of meeting professionals, only 2,100 people signed the letter. That's unacceptable if we want our industry to survive (i.e., One Industry. One Voice.).
We've offered several ways you can get involved. However, information can only go so far without action. It's imperative that you do something, because behavior is very contagious. Either you sit there and let the smoke in or you get up and let someone know about it. Either way, this industry's life is in your hands.