Meetings EIO: Ethics, Influence and Outcomes
Today’s #eventtable tweetchat, moderated by the talented Jenise Fryatt, has left me thinking about what really matters in our industry and what really matters because of our industry.
From the AIG effect to Muffin Gate (seriously, we’re calling it that!) to the more recent GSA event, it is becoming increasingly evident to me that we need to revisit what is really important in our industry. I believe that this comes down to a few basics the EIOs of meetings – Ethics, Influence and Outcomes.
- Ethics: The examples above demonstrate that our industry is being held to a high ethical standard. We need to ensure that the way we conduct our meetings, and the way that we conduct the business of meetings is above all, ethical. This means being responsible with our spending and transparent in our business transactions.
- Influence: There has been a bit of talk this week about influence in our industry and who has it. Let’s take this further and ask: how are we using it? In 2009, Meeting Professionals International (MPI) set a theme for its World Education Congress: When We Meet, We Change the World. Well, what if we don’t, or worse, what if we change it for the worse? Just because we have the potential to change the world doesn’t mean that we make use of this opportunity. Let’s think about what we need to do to harness the power that comes from a meeting and how we can direct it towards the type of influence that we need.
- Outcomes: We need to focus on outcomes: what is the purpose of the meeting, how are we going to achieve it, and how are we going to measure our success. Are we providing the high quality education our stakeholders need? Are we creating environments that foster meaningful connections and spur innovation? What do we need to differently to get this done? We need to measure the results and be able to prove conclusively that meetings do make a positive difference. Fortunately, there is are lots of tools to help quantify this – including the work of by Jack Phillips and Terri Breining on ROI for Meetings and Events. Ultimately, without tangible outcomes from meetings, our industry is in bigger trouble than scrutiny on the price of muffins.
I think it’s time to get back to these basics.