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Mice Net : February 2009
planners’ checklist By Bryan Holliday old boy…” “external factors Bryan Holliday says what happens outside your business can have the biggest impact. Make your next event a tropical treat... Motivate Entertain Meet Educate Inspire A BUSINESS UNIT OF MACKAY REGIONAL COUNCIL For inquiries and quotations call +61 7 4961 9700 or visit mackayecc.com.au 66 mice.net “External factors old boy…” Having to cope, manage and survive in any sphere of activity relies as much on matters outside one’s control as it does on any innate management skill. In the current financial turmoil there’s much wailing and gnashing of teeth but these challenges are hardly new. 9/11, SARS, and airline failures all impact on people who earn their living providing products or services to the meetings industry. It’s also interesting to observe how some organisations are using the global financial chaos to make radical changes to how they operate. Mass sackings are occurring, which are probably more the result of long-term problems rather than some recent forced belt–tightening. During the festive season some companies even cancelled their staff Christmas parties using the excuse that times were tough. This seems an incredibly short–sighted approach. Employees work very hard all year and it doesn’t quite fit the spirit of the season to abandon any activity that thanks and rewards long- term support of any organisation. In the popular media some companies were criticised for undertaking any activity that seemed to show any appreciation to clients and staff. Event organisers were asked to tone down the “perceived” extravagance of any hosted function. It wasn’t that the budget was necessarily reduced but that the event wasn’t to appear to “look” expensive. Some venues reported many cancellations of previously booked events. Most companies were happy to pay any cancellation fee so long as they couldn’t be accused of “wasting” scarce financial resources. The meetings and events industry has been very slow to respond to these unfounded criticisms. It’s tiresome to read and hear people question our very existence when times are tough. My own approach is to become even more proactive in advocating the enormous benefits of our industry. Any kind of event provides work for hundreds of people; not just the wait staff, AV technicians, entertainers and others who are the face of the events. Those who also benefit include farmers who grow the food, the colleges who educate the industry specialists, and a multitude of others who are involved either directly or indirectly in all of our face-to-face activities. Further, it will be those companies that continue their face-to- face meeting agendas that will be best equipped to cope with external factors, due to the very nature of them dealing with such issues in an open environment. We must never become prophets of doom. If we do we help to accelerate any negative self–fulfilling downturn. The glass half–full has become a cliché but it is particularly appropriate in these tumultuous times. I For more information, contact Bryan Holliday at ICMS Australasia at 02 9254-5000. www.icmsaust.com.au n the early 1960s when the Prime Minister of Britain Harold McMillan retired, a journalist asked him what were the biggest influences on the success of his leadership. He replied