"I'm just the planner." How many times have you said that, or heard a colleague or teammate say that? We often hear the advice to remove the words "should" and "can't" from your vocabulary; now is the time to also remove the phrase "just a meeting planner." Meeting planners are now meeting professionals. They are leaders, and if you don't think you are, ask yourself these questions:
Q: Do I create a vision for my part of the organization?
Q: Do I communicate that vision to partners, suppliers, vendors and attendees?
Q: Do I move people to action?
Q: Do I create change?
Q: Is this not by definition what a leader does?
Leaders are visionaries. They are change agents. They communicate, move people to action.
As our economy emerges from recession, US News & World Report names meeting planning one of the top 50 best jobs, and that as companies increasingly become global the demand for planners is expected to grow 16 percent. Forbes magazine and American City Business Journals nationwide are distributing our content.
As leaders in this industry, you are part of the economic recovery. Now is the time to advocate for the return we provide within our organizations and as part of the global marketplace. MPI provides industry information through the bi-monthly Business Barometer and the annual FutureWatch study. The December 2009 Business Barometer demonstrates an improved business climate at 30 percent and predicted optimism at 44 percent. FutureWatch 2010 respondents agreed that industry conditions will begin to improve in the second half of 2010 or in 2011, with 41 percent of suppliers and 28 percent of planners predicting gradual industry growth in 2010. Meeting and event planners anticipate a 2.8 percent increase in meetings held and a 4.5 percent increase in attendance over the next year. Spending per meeting and overall budgets will be the indicators to rebound the slowest. But rebound they will.
Be a part of this optimism and share this research with your executives and professionals outside the meetings industry. Now is the time to find our leadership voices and demonstrate our value.
A mentor, friend or leadership coach can help you to script your conversations with your C-suite to drive your professionalism and help us elevate the industry.
Recently I shared international facts and figures at the MPI Oregon/BRAVO Trade Show, and at the conclusion several planners came up to me and said, "Thanks for helping me script my influence to my boss." Leaders are not afraid of the numbers.
If you find yourself standing in the background in your organization, now is the time to build your script, find your voice, be fearless and claim your seat at the leadership table.
Holly Duckworth, CMP, is an experienced meeting planner and leadership trainer/facilitator. As chapter business manager for Meeting Professionals Interntional Oregon, she coaches chapter businesses to organizational excellence.