Victoria Costello wrote a great entry on the PLoS blog called "Ten Essential Qualities of Science Bloggers." As I was reading it, though, I thought that these qualities can be tweaked to fit any industry.
I thought I'd do that, tweak the list, and show how the qualities can apply to meeting professionals. I'll post Costello's original list, but put in brackets, when necessary, the word(s) you can change in order to be more applicable to you.
1. Share a love of [science]
Replace the word science with what you love. Show off what fascinates you, what gets you excited. For example, if you love F&B trends, share that love with others by booking speakers that are on the cutting edge of trends, planning events that highlight trends, contributing columns to magazines, etc.
2. Respect their [readers]
You can replace the word readers for attendees, audience, or customers. Respecting them means that you consider them smart and open to discussions.
3. Make original research comprehensible to as many [readers] as possible
This is the one that directly affects people's perception of the meeting industry. It's possible that we have yet to replace numbers and jargon with actual human stories, communicating what our industry means to the rest of the world outside of sheer data. Numbers can be complicated. Humans can be complicated, too. But I'd bet that you'd rather read a story featuring a human than look at a sheet of numbers.
4. Do it with attitude
There's no word to change with this quality. Attitude means to do your job with personality. Let your passions (see No. 1 in this list) come through in everything you do.
5. Praise their peers
Another quality that needs no alternative word. You may feel like you're doing your job all by yourself, but meeting and event planning is like film making. It's a collaborative process. Take the time to thank those who have helped you along the way. Leave comments on articles and blogs that you enjoy or disagree with. One thank-you could be all the difference in someone's life.
6. Show heart and humor
I often think we take ourselves too seriously. I know we do that because we want people to respect our industry, and we think that showing emotion and humor weakens our arguments. But in order to persuade people, you have to appeal to their emotions, and the quickest way to get someone to open up in a conversation is through humor.
7. Take a stand
We often find ourselves in this industry playing nice to everyone because we're afraid of losing a future sale or client. Will Rodgers once said, "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." Playing nice to everyone is on the right track, but sometimes you have to move. And moving means having an opinion about where you want to go. Don't be afraid to voice that opinion because you may think you're the only one who has it. I guarantee that there's at least one other person in the world that shares your opinion. If not, then take a look at No. 8 on this list.
8. Enjoy civilized debate
Once you a take a stand, those opposed to it will come crawling toward you as soon your last syllable is spoken. That's great, because it gives everyone the opportunity to strengthen or amend arguments. If you have a civilized discussion, then the final outcome should be a win-win for all involved.
9. Pay attention to their medium of communication and embrace social media
What this quality means is that you focus on how you communicate. Keep up with the latest trends, and experiment with what works for you. Perhaps you're best at writing blog entries, or maybe you're great at writing letters to the editor. Do more of that. And be more open to social media. It's not going away, and, in fact, it's starting to replace email as the best way to communicate with others.
10. Make their work freely available for all to enjoy and re-use
How often have you attended a conference, experienced a great presentation, and then went home wanting to share it with your colleagues? It happens all the time for me, and I'm shocked at the number of speakers that don't make their presentations available before, during, or after an event. If you're a speaker and you're afraid of others stealing your presentation, then don't have PowerPoint, because I promise you that many in the audience are using their camera phones to take photos of your slides. People are going to get them one way or another, so let them be free and available to all. Then make your presentation more about numbers 6, 7, and 8 on this list. Especially No. 6, because no one can steal how you make another person feel.
I hope this list helps you make 2013 the best year for meeting professionals to date. Please let us know in the comments your favorite quality, or let us know qualities we may have missed.