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EDITORIAL | 15
A NEW Perspective
business tourism has long
been regarded as crucial to the development of tourism. Imagine if that is not the case at all. Imagine if somebody somewhere has repeated ‘business tourism is crucial to the development of tourism’ so many times that it has become a truth. Imagine if that person therewith got so many people to repeat the message so many times that it has become an accepted truth? Today other voices are being heard and more people are saying ‘there is no business tourism, and there never has been’. At the recent Meetings@TUR in Gothenburg we held our first Politicians Forum. All the lecturers agreed that the meetings industry is not tourism. Why would it be, because we usually travel to our meetings? Tom Hulton, leader of the Politicians Forum at IMEX, Christian Mutschlechner, CEO Vienna Convention Bureau, Layth Bunni, CEO Congrex, Sebastien Tondeur, CEO MCI Group and the Swedish meetings industry developer, Björn Masuhr, were in agreement: The meetings industry has never been and will never be tourism. Perhaps it is time to look up and take a deep breath. It is time to redefine the meetings and events industry and stop referring to it as a
part of the tourism sector. We know that the meetings industry plays a significant part in developing large parts of the world. It is high time for the meetings industry to stand up and make its own role even clearer and continue to develop its own marketplaces, and at a significantly higher degree than today. We have, of course, come some way along the road with organisations like ICCA, MPI, ASAE, SITE, IAPCO, ECM and AIPC, who are all at the forefront of their respective areas. The IMEX and EIBTM meetings venues are satellites in the meetings industry sky and there are several regional meeting places of significance. The NBTA has arrived in Europe and their member countries’ Business Travel Organisations have taken a step into the meetings industry with a strategic meetings management perspective. In just a few years the international meetings industry has developed beyond recognition. A wave of new convention bureaus is sweeping across the world at the same time as DMCs are becoming more professional. That congresses play a significant role in personal development is common knowledge, knowledge that is permeating large parts of social development. ¶
Swedish-Indonesian atti soenarso has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. She has worked for Scandinavia’s largest daily newspaper, was TV4’s first travel editor, has written for many Swedish travel magazines and has had several international clients. She has travelled the length and breadth of the world and written about destinations, people and meetings.
2010 No 4 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 4 2010
2010 No 4 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
18 | TONDEUR
since the turn of the year, Sebastien Tondeur, 34, has been CEO of the MCI Group, a company that has grown from a local family business into a global growth company. The business his father, Roger Tondeur, founded just over twenty years ago is today an international organiser of company and organisations meetings and events. When Sebastien Tondeur entered the company twelve years ago it had a workforce of 30. Today it has 850 employees in twenty countries throughout the world. In 2009, sales for the MCI Group totalled Euro 229 million. Sebastien Tondeur’s executive
career began seven years ago as MD of the Corporate Division at the Geneva headquarters with responsibility for strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, strategic meetings management, marketing and key account management. He has an MBA and studied finance and international business at various American universities. The issues that are closest to him at the moment include achieving an even higher quality in the company’s undertakings, strategic meetings management, company financing for continued development, technology development and the opportunities created by entrepreneurship. He is often seen on the international stage as a speaker and lectures on mergers and acquisitions, purchasing strategies and trends in the meetings industry, among other things. Sebastien Tondeur is now planning to continue developing the company. He says that he does not only have to succeed in his MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 4 2010
leadership, but also ensure that the business continues to grow in a sustainable fashion; an insight that intertwines with the awareness to motivate and reward important employees in order to generate opportunities for them to grow as people. Or as he puts it: “Human capital is the key to the future.” In March, Sebastien Tondeur was one of the speakers at the Political Forum during Meetings@ TUR, which was implemented by Meetings International magazine together with the TUR trade fair in Gothenburg. On that occasion Sebastien Tondeur also personified the generation shift in which the seventies generation is taking over from the forties generation. How does a young CEO for a globally expanding company think, what issues does he consider to be crucial in the development of the global meetings industry? “One important thing for purchasers and suppliers is to really understand and develop content in
20 | SIDRUBBE
“Imagine being able to hear the heartbeats in the meetings industry’s every moment.”
MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 4 2010
TONDEUR | 21
a meeting or event. To be aware of the extent of what a meeting actually consists of, to understand the heart and soul of a meeting and be able to put this across to the delegates to create a result that is good for the company, organisation or association, both in the long and short term.” He stresses the importance of explicit goals with regard to the financial aspect with a clear returnon-investment perspective. This applies regardless of whether it is a quartely budget, meeting for ten delegates or a kickoff for a thousand people. The content and arrangement is what determines the end result, which is why content is so central in his approach. When you know the type of meeting to be implemented you then have to prepare the content and communicate with those taking part. This may sound obvious, but in Sebastien Tondeur’s experience, content is all too often underestimated. “Sometimes those who should really be at a meeting can’t take part. That is to say those who with their presence would take part in creating the content of a meeting. A meeting’s ROI is not only about numbers but also other ways of looking at a meeting’s result. As I see it, the key thing today is to draw up a content strategy. Information is power and a content strategy increases the meeting’s value and is a very important aspect. Strategic meetings management (SMM) is another urgent issue for the meetings and event industry. Here Sebastien Tondeur feels that companies, organisations and associations should restructure their procurement process with regard to meetings. Like the advertising business, he says: “There are strategic planners in the advertising business, but all
too few business leaders regard meetings as a strategic instrument. They should begin looking at their meetings from a holistic perspective. In my opinion they should look upon their meetings investments in the same way as their advertising investments. Companies must adopt, a holistic approach, or create a strategy for their meetings, i.e. strategic meetings management.” As an example, he finds it strange that there are still companies that change event bureau every time they implement a new activity, regardless of whether they are internal or external. There is a clear risk: in the hunt for new ideas, continuity suffers, content is not optimized and ROI falls by the wayside. And it is not much better in the organisation world. Some associations use different meetings planners every time they prepare a meeting. Here the chance of improving productivity is lost because quite simply when working with a professional event or communication bureau, the second implementation will be quicker and cheaper. “Naturally, I don’t mean that you should never change bureaus, but you should definitely think strategically and long term. You can improve and develop the value of your meetings by using strategic planning techniques.” Sebastien Tondeur says that from an international perspective with regard to the challenge of strategic meetings management, it is difficult to find good examples because there are so few global players to study but they are some good regional programmes that were implemented and definitely many programmes on a national level. “I would go as far as to say that the MCI of today is almost such a player. If you want to create SMM for a large company then you need 2010 No 4 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
TONDEUR | 23
offices in several countries to be able to deliver, which we have. When large advertising agency groups win global budgets, they have offices at all the destinations where the campaign is to be run locally. A Coca-Cola campaign in Spain differs somewhat to a campaign for the same product in Italy, China, Japan or France, but it still follows the global brand manual.” At national level within the MCI Group it looks rather different. The
development of strategic meetings management is going in the right direction, he says, adding that they have a few mature programmes at several of their offices. MCI normally has two or three competitors in each town. Sometimes they win the assignment, sometimes not. “It’s all about having the same values as the direction and shape of the assignment to ensure that we get it.”
Internationally, the MCI Group is well known for working with benchmarking, with their staff being visible in various contexts in the meetings and events industry. This has proven to be a successful strategy. “We don’t put much faith in traditional advertising. We believe in meeting places and investing a great deal in business travel to meet clients and prospective clients. We take part in congresses and conferences, we’re always willing to speak at events, fairs and other meeting places where we have the opportunity to share our knowledge. We are active in global networks like MPI, PCMA, IAPCO, ICCA and SITE. We meet a great deal of people, that’s how we feel the pulse of the meetings industry. Then of course there are periodicals that publish relevant articles that we gladly read. Some countries have national bodies that conduct research into our sector, and by meeting them in a variety of contexts we can share our knowledge and experience with their leaders.” This strategic marketing approach also demands that MCI’s employees take on leadership roles in the meetings and events industry’s varying organisations. Seats on the board, preferably chairmanships, is something they strive for. From July 1, Sebastien Tondeur will hold the position of Chairman Elect of Meeting Professionals International’s International Board of Directors. To further develop the meetings and events sector, Sebastien Tondeur would like to see more people with a background in the business world and that HR organiastions get involved. He predicts the same developments for the sector as that which advertising agencies experienced in the 1980s and 90s. The meetings industry will also consolidate in the world with perhaps five or six main 2010 No 4 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
24 | TONDEUR
players remaining at the end of the consolidation phase. He hopes and believes that MCI will be one of those players. Sebastien Tondeur follows events and the advertising world closely and gives a brief historical account of the seventies when the first advertising agencies began speaking of branding and how branding and communication agencies came to the fore. Enthusiastically, he talks of the Saatchi and Saatchi brothers who built up an international network
digital internet division to get more from the budget. As they already had relationships with marketing managers, this enabled them to sell more to the same clients. “At that time the meetings industry was at the its infancy in the world. The Mmeetings industry of today is in a consolidation phase. Groups are now not only formed though MCI but also through other brands. Several of our competitors will work for company X, who say ‘okay, you’re doing a good job; you can
“In the future the meeting will be taken to significantly deeper levels.”
that today comprises 140 offices in 80 countries and a workforce exceeding 6,500. After this, in the 1980s, a consolidation of sorts took place in the advertising industry. The evergrowing larger advertising agency groups began to become global networks. The goal was simple: to help global brands in all places and where they wanted to work with their campaigns. In the 90s, advertising agencies were looking to expand and began integrating their offering with new business areas like PR, film commercials and, a bit later, a MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 4 2010
now take care of our French business, or our German, Chinese or Japanese business’”. Sebastien Tondeur goes on to say that they are working to implement meetings for exceedingly larger organisations and on considerably more markets because MCI is already there, and in this way continue the consolidation. He maintains that it is no different to hotel chains being acquired and integrated with other brands, and draws parallels with developments in the consultancy business, the travel sector with, for example, Carlson Wagonlit or
SIDRUBBE | 25
2010 No 4 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
26 | TONDEUR
American Express in the global arena. After the consolidation phase there will be a few large brands in most industries, and Sebastien Tondeur sees developments heading in much the same direction in the meetings industry with possibly four, maybe five, international brands. MCI is a global brand and the vision is continued growth. Sebastien Tondeur emphasises how closely they follow the advertising industry’s progress into global brands and says that MCI rapidly realised the importance of having offices in the countries in which they work on MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 4 2010
behalf of clients. The aim is to be just as strong on all markets in which they are active. “The vision is to position ourselves in all countries in order to work with strategic meetings management globally for our clients. Version 1.0 of MCI was the private company for a good many years. Version 2.0 is the consolidation phase that we still find ourselves in. In version 3.0 we will probably integrate more technology and content develop for our clients. In the advertising world they add services like PR also digital, for us it will be broader and deeper when it
comes to meetings.” Sebastien Tondeur goes on to say that it is about more than just solving the logistics issues. As a company they will also add valuable components to the purchaser’s overall experience of the meeting, be best at destination awareness, developing meeting content, training organisers and delegates, putting together social programmes, solving distribution problems, creating entire productions, including the building of stages, to mention but a few examples. “We have to enhance our client’s
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28 | TONDEUR
market position, also digitally, of course. We have to work even more with digital media, which should also be integrated to guarantee content delivery and distribution. We must ensure that MCI 3.0 is the company that delivers the content management and logistics that quality-assures our clients’ meetings.” In a structural phase like the one the meetings industry is experiencing, gaps often appear. According to Sebastien Tondeur there is one large gap. There is a lack of formal education (as opposed to peer to peer learning) and documenting/ research. He advocates a training platform for the meetings industry, along the lines of a Meetings Academy. ‘We need a forum where we can discuss the lack of training in our sector.’ Another issue of great significance is the economic impact that the meeting industry has on society in general. “We have to measure the economic impact of the meetings industry in the world. If we don’t then our sector’s economic impact will not count. Politicians could probably have a certain influence here, but you have to treatd carefully with them to avoid the sort of scenario that arose when Senator John Kerry from Massachusetts claimed that meetings are all about having fun, wherewith he created the American meetings problem of last year. “Events are a business tool, and that is what is needed to enter the market and do as we have promised our clients. Naturally, we love the social aspects of meetings but that goes along with clear business objectives. We have to work on the image of how the meetings industry is perceived;, it’s a PR job and is all about training, communication, MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 4 2010
TONDEUR | 29
economic impact and speaking the language of business.” In MCI, social media is a strategic instrument and the company has a clear plan with regard to its own communication and marketing. The company is active in most mainstream social media as on a global level. They aim to be part of the debates, the conversations, something that Sebastien Tondeur maintains is an absolute must. “We use social media to build
environment we have to be active in. Sebastien Tondeur gladly lectures and meets many students and other young leaders on their way to establishing themselves in the meetings and events industry. He maintains that creating a learning environment is a lifelong task. We have to shape a constantly changing learning environment around ourselves. As an example he mentions keeping an eye on the trade press, including the international, taking
“All too few business leaders regard meetings as a strategic instrument.”
a platform for those who want to converse with us using that media platform. This is a crucial strategy issue for us. If you’re not part of the discussion then you miss parts of it. Today the dialogue takes place, for instance, in the published media, online media, at meetings, congresses and conferences… It is meetings face to face, but also in the world of social media. A lot is happening at the same time, and everywhere. It’s all about sharing content and ideas, that’s the
part in congresses and conferences, being active in networks with people from different age groups, backgrounds and cultures. “It’s all rather simple and logical really. I have a presentation I call Keep your Finger on the Pulse, which is exactly what you need to do. Imagine being able to hear the heartbeats in the meetings industry’s every moment. This is the only way to find out what’s going on. Do you have visions of what you want to do? 2010 No 4 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
30 | TONDEUR
What do you want to be? How and with whom can you speak with about the future? You must also be able to identify current trends. It’s simply about drawing up as comprehensive an action plan for your future as possible. “Identify and decide where your passion lies within the meetings and events industry. Join one or several of the networks that exist, which is especially true for students. To use networks in a smart way is a simple way of acquiring new knowledge about the markets and people. Your future boss could be part of the network. You might meet your future business partner. Not forgetting all the possibilities offered by meetings MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 4 2010
venues within the meetings and events industry. The contacts you make could lead to a job, if that’s what you’re looking for.” Sebastien Tondeur says that one of his goals in life is to share his knowledge and that human development fascinates him. Passionate is a word that he returns to during our discussion, which he puts down to a character strait. ‘I’m passionate about what I do.’ “I had the opportunity to grow into the person I am, partly as a person, partly as a professional, thanks to other people sharing information with me, they inspired me and gave me knew knowledge. It’s only fair that in my role I try to share
my knowledge and experience. If I can help somebody and in that way inspire somebody then I’m happy. I try to do a good job in any case.” How the meetings and events industry is developing is an issue that interests Sebastien Tondeur. On how he thinks the meetings industry of the future will look like, he rapidly replies: “A mixture of the virtual world and physical meetings. I believe in meeting live, but in some cases add the odd virtual meeting. You can make the meeting more perennial and in this way ensure a sustainable result. In the future the meeting will be taken to significantly deeper levels.” ¶
Passion for meetings.
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32 | Intermission © iStockphoto.com/langdu/Long Tran The
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34 | PSYCHOLOGICAL MEETINGS
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PSYCHOLOGICAL MEETINGS | 35
Hans Gordon, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Authorised Psychologist, specialised in Aviation Psychology. Authorised psychotherapist, since 1987 running Gordon Consulting Ltd. Has for decades been engaged by airline companies, among them SAS and Thai Airways International.
WHEN THE EQUATION does not add up “We tend to live in neighbourhoods defined by socioeconomic status, religion, and ethnic background. For instance, in large American cities one can point to the rich neighbourhoods and the poor neighbourhoods, and also to the Jewish section, Chinese section, Italian section, black section, and so on. We meet people of the same religion when we go to church, and we tend to meet people of similar socioeconomic status or political views in many of our daily activities.” From The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond, American professor in Physiology and Geography. anxiety usually sits in an area
between the heart and the stomach. Life suddenly feels more brittle than a pane of glass; everything could cave in, break, be blown to pieces. Those who have never experienced anxiety find it difficult to imagine just what it is like. Those with experience of anxiety know that all security is relative; nothing is absolutely secure and nothing is eternally sustainable. Man is a biochemical and physiological marvel machine that runs on enzymes, glucose, hormones, minerals, proteins, oxygen, vitamins and endless other nutrients. The only
thing that helps me feel moderately calm when laying my head on my pillow, closing my eyes and going to sleep is my relative faith in the machine continuing to pound even when I have no control over events as soon as I have dropped off. Wide awake during the day I can always imagine that I have better control, but that is a chimera. I know nothing about what is happening in my cell nuclei right now, or which parts of my brain have just become unusable due to constant neuronal dropout, or how my coronary artery is feeling; not even if my blood pressure is
dangerously high or perilously low. Most people accept this, of course, but what choice do they have? One cannot keep an eagle eye on everything. Human psychology not only encompasses thoughts and emotions, but also underlying basic instincts, essentially vague, at times hastily fleeing, fantasies and diverse mystical conceptions. The basic instincts are regulated via our physiological senses (hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touching) in combination with our hormonal surges. Sexually charged images and their appertaining 2010 No 4 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
36 | PSYCHOLOGICAL MEETINGS
attracting and/or repellent powers, can pop up at any time and any place. My proneness to charge myself with aggressive energy is beyond describing in simple words. When I turn the other cheek I suddenly get the urge to hit out wildly with a sharp weapon; if none is available then I try to slay using words. The impulses know no limits. But my intellectual side, on the other hand, does; trained as it is throughout my life to follow a set of rational rules. Using mental exertion — something that costs every person more energy than they can imagine — I limit myself and behave in a way that appears to be fairly socially acceptable, which is after all the aim of all my efforts. Anxiety usually occurs when the psychological equation does not add up. When I set my rationally based limits for what I intend to say and do, and how I act, the underlying stream of other movements could suddenly say the exact opposite. It screams no and threatens to break through; everything I have trained seems to fall apart; my built-in control function appears to short-circuit and stops working. Suddenly my whole existence seems to be on the line. Rapidly it is as though psyche and soma have to make a crucial decision: either total anxiety, a release of the unmentionable and with it a form of mental dissipation, or the body digs in as in a cramp and releases symptoms of ill-health: an asthma attack, a sudden migraine, acute lumbago, an influenza-like shivering fit, stomach sickness or other reactions in the skin, eyes, ears, stomach, genitals etc. If the choice is continued exacerbated anxiety and the release of all inherent conflicts then the next step is not far from what we normally label psychotic anxiety in which everything becomes a potpourri of misconceptions, one more illusory MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 4 2010
than the other. Anything can be created and further developed. Carl Gustav Jung, the renowned Swizz psychiatrist who lived between 1875 and 1961, was already in his youth fascinated by the infinite possibilities of consciousness. He willingly took part in parapsychological séances with table-turning and contact attempts with dead people. In his dissertation he mainly studied the consciousness state of those who call themselves mediums and who claim to speak with the dead. In due course, Jung developed his theory on what he referred to as the collective unconscious, that is to say that which he thought existed in all people
was regarded as Austrian Doctor and Neurologist Sigmund Freud’s crown prince, was thrown out of the Vienna Psychoanalytical Society that Freud had himself founded. Freud deemed Jung to have become mad. All the above has to do with human meetings. As soon as we meet, regardless of whether these meetings are planned in advance or spontaneous, we face a number of choices in how to behave; what we should say and what we definitely should not express. Leading up to, and during, every meeting there is a built-in instruction, a code. It is built up of various steps. The most fundamental of these steps is about
“My proneness to charge myself with aggressive energy is beyond describing in simple words.” like an inner tapestry of ancient archetypal images and symbols, into which the narratives and notions of Christianity are partly baked; a sort of inner shroud of mysticism, which strongly, albeit subconsciously, influences man’s continued development and which eventually poses a threat to his “true nature” and therewith his ”self-realisation” or individuation. The only chance of adequate individuation or personal development would be to come into contact with the collective unconscious, which Jung also called the transcendent function. Via this contact and its continued insight the individual would no longer be vulnerable to underlying threats; everything coalesces into harmony. In 1913, C. G. Jung, who for a period
the need for social affiliation. We need each other and we do not want to be excluded from the community. Therefore, we must interact in a way that facilitates acceptance by those we wish to be connected with. Because we do not always know how the norms look and work for others we have to trust our conception of what is passable. Our conceptions consist of images constructed from the fragments we perceive in our meetings with others. We therewith approach others in much the same way as we would perceive pieces of a puzzle spread out on a table. We see bits and pieces from which we form a probable overall picture. In a corresponding way we give out fragments of ourselves. ‘Hi, this is me, but only a little bit.’ We casually jab at
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PSYCHOLOGICAL MEETINGS | 39
each other and leave it at that – in the opening rounds that is. At the same time we cannot help but put across a few other things. Side by side with all the culturally coded expressions, other messages stream out. Our smile could be embossed with the rigidity that also expresses distance and annoyance. Our gaze could look shifty from uncertainty or dislike. Our handshake could signal resignation. Our vocal pitch could be perceived as demanding total obedience. Our body language and facial expression could reveal that we may react aggressively if we do not… The majority of meetings accommodate all these codes and underlying message streams without disturbing the meeting order as such. The meeting’s overall aim has a set course that is normally kept to
regardless of what is said or not said. The well-trained cultural athlete has also learnt to keep quiet and to steer clear of anything that could be regarded as irrelevant information. Sensitivity is repressed to the benefit of rationality. This suits certain mental muscle builders better than others. Sensitivity occurs when the sensors in our senses do not allow themselves to be anaesthetised or suppressed. Sensitivity could become like amplifiers inside of us: Can you hear? Can you see? Are you paying attention? And bit by bit the equation once again does not easily add up. That which is said at one level becomes contradictory to that said at another. What should we do now? How should we react? There are several choices. We can clench our
teeth, complete the game and then go home and empty it over somebody who had nothing to do with it, but then empty is only relatively empty. Or we could turn and quickly leave the role play domain, to which we choose never to return. Or try to use the tactics of the cultural athletes; gradually turn off, close down and let the only remaining spotlight shine on the area marked Goals and Order. This underpins the conception of us as being hands-on and effective. Or we do the same as Jung: we handle anxiety by fleeing into mysticism and the occult, and there let the imagination run amok. In the best scenario, our lives are then filled with rather amusing fantasies, in the worst, unfortunately, mostly nightmares. What is your method? ¶
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Annette Lefterow’s dream of becoming a prima ballerina was crushed when she was injured at the age of twelve. “You’ll not be able to dance, train or walk,” said her doctors. She took up exercising; Pilates and yoga, and the like, to heal her injuries. Three years later, at the age of fifteen, she was leading adult courses at the Balettakademin in Stockholm.
twenty years on, Annette
Lefterow sees this period as when she began going against the grain. Today her company has an annual turnover of many million Euros from brands such as Wellness by Lefterow, Yoga by Lefterow, Event by Lefterow, Rhythm by Dance, and Book by Net. She has released nine films and four books on the subject of wellness. A success story that can be put down exceptionally crass doctors. Eighty per cent of her sales are B2B, which is explained by the development of the concept, products, lectures, expos and events often revolving around the same customer and partner. The other 20 per cent is in meetings with the
end-consumer at expos, events, e-commerce and online. “Generally, I would equate my assignments with being an active designer, not interior design as such, but content seen through a holistic view.” Annette Lefterow says that to a certain extent the doctors were right. She would never have become a prima ballerina, she did not have the body for it. On the other hand, she could self-heal while deciding what to dedicate her life to. “When facing a challenge you should see what you could learn from it and the direction in which it points you. For me the challenge has provided the ultimate satisfaction in 2010 No 4 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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as much as I can work with wellness, but it was also a way of seeking answers to what I should do when the doctors gave me the thumbs down.” While Annette Lefterow refuses to accept that things cannot be changed, she also goes against the grain. In surroundings that breed stress, anxiety and burnout, saying that ‘everyone is entitled to wellness’ is definitely going against the grain. ‘One should always do one’s best’ is an expression she often returns to. “Wellness no longer goes without saying. It’s acceptable to have some pain. There’s so much that has
changed her schedule to be able to listen and give advice. “Meeting them made my day. That’s special… a lot can happen at a meeting. Wellness is particularly important in a meetings environment such as this,” she says pointing out that the lighting and sound level in a expo hall are usually very tiring and energy sapping. The basic idea for her wellness concept saw the light of day just over ten years ago. Today, wellness areas differ from one expo to another. But normally the concept is seen in environments lacking wellness. The
asked whose idea it was. It’s simple really, we’re standing here with our two therapists giving treatments and supplying wellness. The reaction is well over the top. If you walk around an expo all day you’ll get tired and need to recover.” Since then the presence at international expos has increased and is now a large part of the business. Treatments are fifteen minutes long and focus on the back, the neck, legs and feet, or arms and hands. The concept is not only limited to expo halls, but other events and meetings that look to integrate wellness into
“To find a radio channel you have to tune in, the same applies to the thoughts.
become natural to us instead of the opposite. We need the knowledge to understand that we can feel good, and how to go about ensuring that we do feel good.” Hardly unexpected, Annette Lefterow does not like talking in terms of money or career, she rather sees herself as a spreader of wellness awareness. Her face and name have been a common feature at expos all over Europe for the past few years. In her wellness area she offers exhibitors and visitors treatment for tired legs, backs and shoulders. “I mainly deal with one need. Everyone wants to feel good. They then become interested and open up to new knowledge.” Earlier that day Annette Lefterow met two women at the expo who were ‘in dire need of a makeover’. She MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 4 2010
treatment rooms have walls and a cloth ceiling, a check-in and a booking system. The aim is to do everything to the full. “It would be possible to use ten masseurs with a massage table each, but I’ve chosen to actually build a spa in expo surroundings. This is an environment in which one needs to confront oneself. This is something I usually return to; I want us to create a meeting with ourselves. You do this if you book time for a massage or a yoga session in much the same way as you meet others at the meeting and talk.” Wellness area was introduced in Sweden for a few years stepping out onto the world stage. The first stop was EIBTM in Barcelona where more than 400 treatments were given at the first expo. “Lyrical visitors came up and
their normal activities. What Annette Lefterow fills the concept with varies, from giving a brief lecture to twenty therapists giving treatment. “We are an event company with wellness as our product. Then, of course, we have an idea of what we wish to offer. I always advocate a lecture on wellness to give food for thought and raise awareness.” One in-demand service is the ‘energy break’, a break exercise that improves energy and concentration levels at a meeting. An instructor enters a room and asks all the delegates to shut their eyes and turn their focus inwards to lower the stress levels. The break is concluded with an energy exercise, such as a clapping massage to get the circulation going all over the body. “If the energy break comes as a
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You have to find your frequency. Meet yourself at an inner destination.”
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surprise element during a day that you thought you’d just be sitting discussing budgets and statistics it gives such a positive boost that you go out and get a Danish pastry and a cup of coffee or a fruit smoothie instead.” The wellness concept stands for everything that has to do with wellbeing, but it also embraces beauty products, tools and sports equipment. In Germany, for example, there are shops that sell only wellness products, everything from vitamins to miracle cures. “For me personally, wellness is akin to knowledge. This is my own interpretation. The knowledge to look after yourself. What do I need to keep well. How does my body work, who am I, how do I think? It’s a modern expression for the Indian teaching Ayurveda (life energy).” “Health is not only about losing weight, getting clothes to fit or using the right makeup. It’s not just a surface, more of a function. What do we need today? Basically, we need to know more about ourselves. I usually compare it with a car, which is an extension of our own power. Our bodies have the same strength; it propels us forward, gives us power. But we have to give something back. We have to make sure that we have a body that works. Health fulfils that function. Giving employees wellness answers a need in them to have time for themselves. It could change their lives. Getting a bit of attention. And to get that time without planning it yourself gives such a positive booth that it could contribute to change. “It’s wonderful to get a bag of sweets, a magazine or a bottle of wine, but to give an invisible gift gives rise to a reaction that comes from within, when you feel that’s just what you needed. You maybe have a whole day of meetings, negotiations and MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 4 2010
“Wellness no longer goes without saying. It’s acceptable to have some pain.” courses, then you’re offered an energy break that makes all the difference.” Annette Lefterow says that many people are so stressed that the thought of relaxing puts them under even more pressure. The best way to solve it is to be straight, not woolly or complicated, or by trying to get somebody to stand on their head or something similar. “We give clear instructions on what has to be done. It’s the best way to eliminate doubts or stress. I usually
begin by asking the participants to close their eyes. This instantly removes observant critics. People ponder and analyse less and can focus on themselves and their breathing in peace and quiet. I normally talk of resetting to zero. To find a radio channel you have to tune in, the same applies to the thoughts. You have to find your frequency. Meet yourself at an inner destination.” Many of Annette Lefterow’s corporate clients run on clockwork;
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they want to implement their meetings and events as they always do. She then suggests that they challenge their meetings habits and dare to try something new and creative. “I like to change and renew. If I’ve done an event that the customer wants to repeat I try to change the content on the next occasion by adding something new despite the customer wanted the same as before.” According to Annette Lefterow a lot can be done for the wellbeing of meeting delegates by tailoring the environment. Lighting, sound and smells could be significant for a meeting. Taste also. Finding
teachings on how lighting affects us.” While the meetings industry is discovering wellness to an everincreasing extent, Annette Lefterow continues to go in new directions. In the autumn, Rhythm by Dance will be touring Europe. The product is an experience-based activity designed to create activity during an event in which everyone can take part. The exercise begins with yoga, followed by dance from all over the world. “With specially composed music, the right lighting and percussion instruments the activity becomes a journey through time and space, and a new technological solution enables the group to be moved visually to
“An energy break that makes all the difference.”
something for all the senses and creating the right ambience is crucial for a meeting. That which we hear, see, feel and taste affects us. Isn’t that difficult? Many meetings venues are very stereotype. “Not if you have the responsibility and opportunity to control the meeting environment. Then it depends on the type of environment it is. It would be fantastic to enter a large expo arena that already had special lighting and black walls, everything you see in a stage environment, that they introduce into the day-to-day surroundings. In the session room at my spa I introduced moving lights like they have in discotheques along with a glitter ball. You enter different atmospheres then. There are many
different places and environments.” Where do all your ideas comes from? “That’s the way my life has been. I get a vision, put it into practice and it grows. The wellness area was an idea I had, where I asked myself: “Wouldn’t it be a good idea to offer treatments at the expo to give exhibitors a break to recharge their batteries so they can give their all throughout the expo?” “One idea often gives birth to another. I just follow my gut feeling, that’s the way I’ve always been. I don’t ask ‘what do I do now’ or ‘can I really do this’. This is a fundamental right in life, to do what we want; but with humility and respect. One also has to act, become engaged and fight for want one wants, be purposeful.” ¶
2010 No 4 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
At this very moment new ideas are being created by delegates. Why donâ€™t you try the Viennese way of networking?
RADAR | 51
THE WORLD’S FOREMOST meeting place for women’s sport the world village of Women
Sports is mainly for world researchers and developers of women’s sports medicine. The venue will be the hub of women’s sport in the world and 2010 No 4 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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will give women optimal conditions to develop, regardless of national, religious or cultural affinity. World football body FIFA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who seldom cooperate with or take part in third party projects, have both agreed to the collaboration. They plan to open the sports complex with a giant congress in 2013. The large hall of the congress centre will house 5,500 people. It will be possible to hold meetings locally for Scandinavia and Europe, and sportspeople from all over the world are expected to use the centre for rehab and to take part in training camps. The venue was designed by the Danish firm of architects BIG, but is in Malmö, Sweden’s third largest city, just a 20-minute train journey from Copenhagen Airport. ¶ www.womensportvillage.com MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 4 2010
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*) A BRAIN CHECK MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 4 2010
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JENS NORDFÄLT TEXT
“Certain fragrances stimulate
activity. If you have a meetings venue with plants you can improve the smell with plant fragrance. A puff of wind could blow where people pass by and you can enhance a babbling brook using loudspeakers. Complement with lighting and shade. Those with the knowledge of how our senses work can create fantastic environments. If there’s something the meetings industry could do, this is it,” says Jens Nordfält, Doctor of Consumer Behaviour and Head of the Programme in Retail Management at the Stockholm School of Economics. Lavender can affect the cognitive ability. In your book you state that both women and men improve their speed and precision in mathematical calculations. What do you mean by this? “With regard to quality of thought, or IQ, the results are often marginal,
but they are statistically correct. If you can keep five information units in your consciousness at any given moment and can increase it by 20 per cent, this gives an increase of one information unit. This is a crucial difference. The scattering between the most intelligent and the less intelligent is quite small. Over time even a small change can make a difference.” Can fragrances get us to do other things? “If used correctly they could have a smelling salt effect. You think more, the mind is stimulated. If there is a fragrance in a room, people examine, for example, packaging on a computer screen for a longer period. But it is not as though they are aware of the fragrance. They say that it smells normal in both cases.” In a previous number of Meetings International, Karl Ryberg, 2010 No 4 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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specialist in how colours affect the brain, said that orange improves creativity. Would it be positive to combine orange with, for example, lavender? “Yes, I think so. Of course it all depends on how weak the fragrance has to be so that people avoid feeling queasy from being around it forty hours a week. Another alternative is to only use fragrances on certain occasions, during brainstorming or creative meetings, for example.” Is there research that shows how fragrances affect learning and memory? “Yes there is, and research also shows that it is at the point of learning that the fragrance has to be there. If you supply fragrance when the memory is withdrawing it has no proven effect.” Have you used fragrances yourself when lecturing or teaching? “No I haven’t, due to there not being a good secretor available to puff the right amounts of fragrance into the room. I’ve worked with all the senses; it would be fun to test it.” Why the interest in fragrances? “I’ve been involved in the retail trade for sixteen years and have researched for eleven. I’ve written a book entitled Store Marketing in which I take up all the senses, including the sense of smell.” What is your speciality? “My work involves mapping out processes of selective perception to improve the probability of my message being consciously received.” The brain takes in eleven million impressions a second, 40 of which are conscious. So you manipulate our thoughts so that just you message ends up in our consciousness? “Yes, and this is where fragrance comes in as it affects the brain. Fragrance activates thought.” MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 4 2010
What happens when you inhale a fragrance for further transport to the brain? “Fragrance affects the brain immediately. Fragrance affects the chemical balance in the part of the brain called the limbic system. Smell and taste are the brain’s two chemical senses. The other senses are transformed into signals that are processed in different parts of the brain then reconnected again in the cerebral cortex. An example: I have conducted tests on the eye. You see a certain per cent of everything you look at. The brain sieves most of it away before you choose what to look at. A fragrance cannot be sieved in this way.” Like seeing and hearing, smelling has been developed to help us detect danger and has contributed to us surviving as a species. “That’s correct. It stems from an early stage in our evolution; if we smell fire, for example, we fight or flee. Smelling also plays a major part in our emotions. It is a rapid channel to our emotional life.” What impact has fragrance been proven to have in the retail business? “A Canadian study shows that sales increased by three per cent in a shopping mall in which lemon fragrance was spread – one day with, and one day without. The study was repeated over a longer period. Fragrance is important, but the product is of course most important.” This is a relatively new field. How reliable are the findings? “I have taken up forty or so studies in the book, so there is no doubt in my mind that fragrance works. But you have to know what you are doing. That which is experienced as a positive fragrance in a clean-cut environment of white walls, wooden flooring and perhaps romantic
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“We know, among other things, that we look at an object longer if the fragrance tallies with the object.”
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“Fragrance affects the brain immediately.” furniture, would not necessarily be a positive fragrance in a darker, mustier drawing room environment with leather furniture. Different environments need their fragrance, their colours and their lighting. We know, among other things, that we look at an object longer if the fragrance tallies with the object. However, as the Canadian study shows, something happens even when the fragrance and object do not tally. Lemon fragrance increased sales in stores with different products.” What is it that gives lemon this special quality? “I have no idea. Perhaps it purifies and releases resources and energy; MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 4 2010
the same effect as smelling salts for a boxer, or when you open a window. The important thing to remember is that it works with lemon but not lime, which is experienced as being too sweet.” Professor Leif Edvinsson, Brain of the Year in 1998, a prize awarded by the English Brain Trust, had an oven in a meetings venue so that the guests would be greeted with the fragrance of freshly baked bread, and an interior decoration magazine recently advised people to bake cakes just before viewing if they really wanted to be sure of selling their apartment. “It works. The smell of bread is conditioned and cultural, and could, for example, be sweeter or saltier with a variety of fragrances.” Does this mean that with the
help of fragrances we can create environments that provoke certain predetermined behaviour patterns? “Fragrance doesn’t work at all for some companies but really well for others. The current debate is rather shallow and the reports published in the trade press are quite positive. These are mostly referred to in the business press. Academic studies are more balanced. The risk is that everybody plays copycat: if one has a customer club then they all have to have one. They all chase the same ball.” Rumour has it that when McDonald’s releases a fragrance of cinnamon donuts, their sales of the product increases by fifty per cent. They spread the fragrance using special machines that are set to emit regular puffs of the aroma. Is there any truth in this?
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“I really can’t say. It sounds like an exaggerated amount, but it could be as follows: Let’s say that one guest in a hundred buys cinnamon donuts. Of these hundred, three or four like cinnamon donuts and when they get a puff of the fragrance they’re reminded of how tasty they are. One more person maybe buys one… and then it depends on how you present your statistics. It’s important to bear in mind that a person who has never tried or bought a cinnamon donut could suddenly be converted and buy one. So it’s probably far from the truth.” So, by using fragrances, McDonald’s delivers its message and steps onto the small stage of the consciousness, the part that all communicators strive to reach? “Yes, if the information doesn’t reach there then we can’t make any conscious decisions.” Don’t we experience fragrances differently in different cultures? “There could be a cultural dimension. In different countries we’re used to a variety of fragrances since childhood. There is, I think, a biological and social component.” It must be difficult satisfying large and heterogeneous groups? “These main effects were shown in large-scale experiments in Europe and the US. Lemon fragrance increases sales by up to three per cent. Lavender has a relaxing effect on women, but the opposite effect on men, who become elated. Smelling salts in the break raises the adrenalin level of a boxer. Freshly baked bread creates homeliness, etc. If you can help the brain to think positively about something then you always benefit.” Could you give some examples of how fragrances effect women and men in different ways. MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 4 2010
“There are studies that show that vanilla is a typical woman’s fragrance and Moroccan Rose a typical man’s. Researchers conducted a survey in a clothes store that sold both women’s and men’s clothes. When they tested vanilla in the store, sales of women’s garments increased, the same with men’s garments when they tested Moroccan Rose. The fragrances activate special chains of thought and steer the purchase to certain items. They get the customer to imagine that the garments are more exclusive, making it easier for them to envisage wearing them.” What is it that makes us act in this way? “It’s not that fragrances make people alert and, as a consequence, seek more stimulus. It’s more like they experience the environment as containing more stimulus.” Fragrances are not easy to discuss. I recall being at a wine-tasting and saying that the wine smelt like wet asphalt. Nobody agreed with me. “We have difficulty identifying fragrances. The fact that they have no name contributes to this. We usually have to connect them with something to be able to identify them: for example, it smells like a rose or garbage. We also find it easier to categorise lemon if it originates from a yellow drink, compared to a red one. In addition, we find it more difficult to recall a fragrance from memory than from a picture.” According to reports, people living in luxury hotels in Las Vegas will, in the near future, be able to choose the fragrances they desire in the morning and evening. Do you think this will become commonplace? “No. It has a strong effect, but a lot is required to persuade guests to use it because fragrances are invisible. And then time is required between
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“If there’s something the meetings industry could do, this is it.”
the fragrances, you need to be able to air the room.” As first company in the world, Singapore Airlines has applied for a patent for its own special fragrance. Do you think this will improve brand loyalty? “It doesn’t sound unreasonable. Kellogg’s are very particular about their green nuance. Children must be reminded of Kellogg’s when they see it. Harley Davidson has its engine noise. If you have a certain fragrance that’s associated with a particular country or culture, or a special airline, then it is possible. It has to be natural. If you hold a conference then you could have an orange bush then those who see it associate correctly, otherwise they might think you’ve spilt cleaning agent. Not everyone can use fragrances. What fragrances do Nike and Adidas use? It’s money down the drain for many.” If there fashion in fragrances? “There is in perfume, of course. But not in the area that we’re discussing. If a fragrance fashion is created then the level of awareness would have to be raised.” Some people are allergic and react negatively to fragrances. In recent years I’ve begun sneezing from certain perfume fragrances. “You have to be observant about this. The use of fragrances does carry a risk and should be done with care.” There is a manifest interest in fragrances today. You can read about them in the papers, there are scented candles and fragrance consultants. Do you think fragrance has a future? “Yes, definitely. But you have to bear in mind that the same solution does not always suit everybody. Not everybody will get a positive effect.” Will it become a natural part of the meetings and events industry? “When you experience a fragrance 2010 No 4 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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it’s because it’s strong. But fragrances will not be in demand in the near future because we’re not aware of them or we don’t believe in their effects. Anyone who can handle this concept can work miracles. It’s about having a holistic approach, even when studying sense by sense it’s the overall picture that’s important. It is possible to create unbelievable environments by working with the right lighting, materials, sound, colours and fragrances. Space and
“I would let people be in the environment they’re going to use and give them a made-up task to do that they think is the actual task. You could, for example, ask them to look at a new textbook or compare five advertisements. When they’re ready they could answer some questions on the task and evaluate the environment. You could for example ask them what they think of the chairs, lighting and the room in general and ask them to valuate on
Should I ask them while they are still in the room? “Preferably when they’ve left the room to give them a chance to ponder over how it was. If they’re still in the room there’s a risk that they begin sniffing and saying there’s a strong smell, which they wouldn’t if they hadn’t been reminded.” What is needed for fragrance to be generally accepted and used as a vital component when creating environments to achieve certain
“Lavender has a relaxing effect on women, but the opposite effect on men, who become elated.”
room is the meeting sector’s product. If there’s something the meetings industry could do, this is it.” How should those who use fragrances think to improve their chances of success? “They have to test their way forward. Let’s say that you have a calm break environment and an active meetings environment, then you should test what is the right fragrance and the amount that it should be spread. It must not be experienced as artificial.” How do you conduct a test? MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 4 2010
a 1-10 scale. When you have spread the fragrances you want to test you then compare the replies for the environment.” Can’t I just ask about the fragrance straight out? “You can ask, but the question has to be hidden among all the other questions. You risk failing if they’re aware of what the experiment is about. As it’s the sub-conscious influence you are after, it’s better to ask how they experience the room in general.”
predetermined goals? “In most cases the fragrances are too far away. You have to raise the effect of the fragrances in people’s consciousness. And then it’s just like everything else, we have to create credibility. Solid scientific tests and somebody who can communicate the message in a popular science magazine fashion is probably the only way.” ¶
The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre in Gothenburg – venue of opportunities
The most effective meeting place in Scandinavia The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre is the most effective venue in Scandinavia for developing business, relations, know-how, visions and ideas. We host some 30 exhibitions and hundreds of conference and congress events every year. When people meet in perfect surroundings, something new is born. The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre is about creating the best possible opportunities for just such meetings. With eight modern exhibition halls and 50 flexible, well-equipped conference rooms including a magnificent congress hall, we provide stimulating environment for every imaginable gathering – from small group meetings to a large world congress. Together with trendsetting Hotel Gothia Towers, we
offer world-class accommodation that flirts madly with all friends of great design. Scandinavia’s largest and Gothenburg’s tallest hotel has 704 stylish rooms and suites. Plus: seven very tasteful restaurants and three popular bars. The location is extremely central. The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre is situated in the heart of the city’s intensive event area. Close to Gothenburg’s highly acclaimed amusement, cultural, entertainment and sporting facilities such as Liseberg Amusement Park, Scandinavium Indoor Arena, Universeum Science Discovery Centre and World Cultural Museum. We welcome you. Together, we will create an unforgettable meeting experience.
SE-412 94 Göteborg, Sweden. Tel: +46 31 708 80 00. Fax: +46 31 16 03 30 Visiting address: Mässans Gata/Korsvägen. www.svenskamassan.se E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Are you a WANNABE DMC? TEXT Atti Soenarso PHOTO Karin Dahl
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DESTINATION MANAGEMENT COMPANY | 65
Destination management companies, DMCs, have a better status than they deserve. They add costs, not value. They take control from the client, are only useful at exotic destinations or where you can’t speak the language. DMCs are actually glorified bus companies. They’re good at transfers and round tours but know nothing about creative production, audio visual technology, meetings content or which meetings format to use. Furthermore, DMCs are small companies with questionable finances. So summarises Patrick Delaney
the five largest myths on DMCs. He is one of world’s leading authorities on DMCs and is CEO of Ovation, the MCI Group’s own DMC brand. During Meetings@TUR in Gothenburg, Sweden, he gave a lecture on what a truly professional DMC really is. He maintains that there are too many DMCs with too little knowledge of what being a professional DMC actually entails. But they are not the only ones lacking awareness. Even among customers it is low, and to avoid finding a good DMC, who also want to be paid the professional rates their work demands, more and more customers are demanding that convention bureaus (CVBs) include the work of DMCs in their asking price. How do you define a DMC? “The common description is Destination Management Company, but it could just as well stand for Destination Management Consultants, or why not Deep and Meaningful Conversations about Destinations and Results.” Patrick Delaney says that a credible DMC must understand the business realities of an event at a destination, and that the end product is extraordinary events. A DMC must understand that the experience at a destination must be tried and tested,
exclusive and tailored to the client in question. The event is a one-off thing and should be linked to the company’s continued development and long-term goals. “A DMC is a strategically thinking company, not a supplier of an everyday dinner with background music. We have worked this way for many years and learnt that we have to deliver experiences that are in harmony with our clients’ business goals, regardless of whether it’s a business meeting or a medical congress. Delivering something special that nobody has previously done or experienced is what separates a good DMC from a poor. Who wants to experience something they think is unique only to find out that 200 people had experienced it the week before? We cooperate with our clients in creating a total solution, from the first meeting to the customised solution.” A good DMC should also know everything possible about that offered by a destination. A meetings planner should be able to put their trust in their supplier having tested all the latest restaurants and leading chefs, having contact with the latest artists and the most professional catering companies and drinks suppliers. “A professional DMC is like local internet, always connected but with
brain and legs and an understanding of client’s values.” Patrick Delaney highlights fifteen things that a professional DMC can do for their clients. before the event Help the client to market all that is unique at a destination (because the DMC has the best knowledge of the venue). Put together creative input for marketing a destination. Put forward exciting ideas as programme themes. Put together a supportive and broader basis to market the programme. Help to underpin the goals by choosing premises that enhance the meeting and which offer the opportunity to use modern meetings formats. Find good local content for the meeting. Take responsibility for all aspects, legal as well as social. during the event Establish a professional and effective welcoming service at the airport for guests, their luggage and other material. Everything has to run as smoothly as possible. Arrange customised destination experiences. For example, as an
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incentive, a dinner at a manor with special guests. Congress delegates could be taken to visit a hospital ward where they get an exclusive hour with the professor who is leading-edge within the field. For a company it could take on the form of an industrial visit to a well-known CEO within a special field. All such experiences have to be customised in relation to the overall goal. Previously, only incentive companies offered such customised experiences. To be able to deliver, you as a DMC must naturally have special contacts. Network building at your destination is therefore crucial. A network builds the foundation for success. Offer unique events signed and delivered by your company. after the event Ensure that the financial cooperation, including the repayment of VAT, is a taken care of. Work on extended credit for 30/60/90 days for non-forecast costs that arise. Help your client with the evaluation. Update the client with continuous information on the destination and event. Ensure to keep the client updated for a longer period after the event on things happening behind the scenes and to show that you are in the forefront. It must be possible to what a DMC does yourself over the internet? “That’s a very common question. But a professional DMC gives value to their clients otherwise they would not be profitable. DMCs add value, know their destinations and the changes as they happen because MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 4 2010
Dublin / iStockphoto
DMCs base their organisation on acquiring or collaborating with the best of the many destinations around the world. Of course a professional DMC is also adept at transfers and round tours, if that is what the client wants. Over and above this, the DMC offers, and knows all about, the latest technology, builds events that include programmes, know which speakers are worth engaging, and can put together good content for an event or meeting. But naturally there are DMCs who confirm and even exceed the worst fears.” How do I go about finding a good DMC? “The simplest way is to go to a country’s tourist information website. It could have a list of the best DMCs the country can offer. A professional purchaser would of course travel to EIBTM in Barcelona, IMEX in Frankfurt, the Motivation Show in Chicago, Confex in London and the AIBTM, CIBTM, GIBTM or AIME, depending on the market they are working on. The best and most professional DMCs are are also members of global networks and successful international networks such as MPI, SITE, ICCA and ISES.” How does one choose a DMC? “One classic way is to ask for
a reference. Today it appears, on several markets, as though personal chemistry takes precedence over other criteria when choosing. We want new clients to come to us because we are recommended by other clients, have references of what we have done before and they wish to enter into partnership with us. That’s the way it should be in many places. If a DMC is a member of SITE, MPI or ICCA it is also easier to get references. Ask to look at the client list and take at least five names who you can discuss with. Do you want to be part of this DMC’s brand? Do you want this DMC to help to build your brand? There’s a lot at stake. Does your current DMC put questions to you in a way that convinces you that they know what they’re doing? Do you perceive them as a strategically aware partner? Then you may well have found the right DMC. But don’t forget to ask for references.” How does one work together with a DMC? “Create a Request for Proposal, that is to say a detailed tender in which you provide the DMC with all the relevant details, otherwise things may not work out and could be blamed on you as purchaser. Ensure that the budget is open and rapidly presented in order to draw up the basis you need in your continued work. My advice is also to choose a DMC as quickly as possible. Do not play two against each other just to get a better price. Choose one and then negotiate with them. Then you have to make sure that the DMC you choose gets involved in the project as quickly as possible before you sign contracts with the hotel or venue that you have chosen. Also accept that your DMC has to make money. You want to make money from your business.” ¶
THE PLACE TO MEET IN SCANDINAVIA Stockholm International Fairs is the leading organizer of fairs and meetings in the Baltic Sea Region. We manage 60 industry-leading exhibitions as well as around 100 national and international congresses, conferences and events annually. Every year we welcome 10,000 exhibitors, 1.5 million visitors and more than 8,000 journalists from all over the world. Welcome to Stockholm International Fairs! www.stockholmsmassan.se
CREATING PERFECT MEETINGS
TEXT Atti Soenarso PHOTOS Magnus Malmberg
VISION MISSION PASSION What does a small, independent Swedish publishers win from publishing trade magazine Meetings International in English on a sagging market? We asked ourselves that question in order to find the answer to this high risk project. But first some background info:
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the swedish version of
Meetings International has been published for eight years in 38 editions with the focus on a meetings management magazine. The English version has so far been published in three editions. For just over three years the coMEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 4 2010
owners have worked at home from their editorial office on the second floor of their house in Ystad, seventy kilometres south of Stockholm in the southeast corner of the country. With Roger Kellerman’s in-depth knowledge of the meetings industry and Atti Soenarso’s ditto from the
newspaper sector, their roles in the production of Meetings are clearly defined. Roger is the publisher and manages the business part of their joint venture. atti: I’m the legally responsible Editor in Chief and I spend
VISION MISSION PASSION | 71
in Berlin, where he’s a musician. We work the publication schedule around his recording and tour schedule. We work solely via email, in practice it is just us two who make the magazine. It works mainly thanks to Roger’s hard work. roger: I work on the commercial side of things, for example, I hold a dialogue with our advertisers, make sure we get in all the advertising material, have contact with our printer, update our register… Many think I’m involved in the editorial side of the magazine, but I’m not. I write my column on assignment of the Editor in Chief.
my time on the creative and journalistic side of things. As well as editorial planning and contact with freelancers, I also work with proofreading, text editing, headings, picture manuscript, etc. Our designer Rasmus, one of Roger’s older sons, lives and works
Why do you publish a magazine in English? atti: It’s a challenge to publish a magazine for another readership than the Swedish. It requires another journalistic nous. It’s exciting to see how far we can go with the English edition without sacrificing our independence. We will continue to be challenging, thought-provoking and patient. Our initial goal was to become the meeting purchasers’ magazine, and that hasn’t changed. In fact it’s become even more advanced. We write about the software, that is to say people, the hardware advertises. “This magazine is about people” is a very common reader comment. roger : Ads naturally have another value than just the economical. Good ads show new values from all over the world, put the spotlight on those at the forefront of developments. Our extended concept is based on our advertisers wanting the same thing as us: to develop the international meetings and event
industry. We not only produce a magazine, we want to change the world. We’re not only ambitious, we’re very ambitious and our motto is “vision, mission, passion”. Over the years many readers have requested an English edition, among them Claus Sendlinger, CEO of Design Hotels, who thought it was appalling that our magazine only came out in Swedish, this “tribal language” in the world. What are you hoping to achieve? atti: To make a difference, to mean well. To be a professional magazine not a trade magazine, that is crucial. Not to have a short-term supplier perspective but a long-term development perspective with regard to, for example, the content of various forms of meetings. To underline the importance of business intelligence, to be a source of inspiration and to publish articles that do not fear going into depth with a subject. roger : Thomas Steinfeldt, Cultural Editor at Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany’s largest quality newspaper, said: “I’m convinced that we’re heading into a future in which the various media relationships with time will be of greater significance than what it has been in the past two or three decades. We will realise the internet is not a book, that a magazine is not a TV news programme, that a personal top ten list is nothing to go on about. But it requires a certain discernment to let these differences grow, to prefer knowledge, and a willingness to say no and discard as well as admire and praise. It’s not possible to be faster than real time. But it 2010 No 4 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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is quite possible for the energy to be directed backwards. The first thing you discover then is that each media has its own special relationship to time. Speed is the main reason for the number of “clicks”, while depth is used to express the time a visitor stays on a page or article. With regard to the economic and intellectual value of the web, it is becoming increasingly noticeable that depth has an advantage over speed. And with regard to depth, the road should lead back to deeper time horizons, to paper and printing. This is a perspective that is well worth reflecting over.” Why are the magazine articles so long? atti: Partly so that those we interview can get across their message and partly to allow our readers to understand their reasoning. We are the slow alternative, just as professional magazine ought to be. Meetings is for reading. roger : Among all the meetings industry magazines, as far as I know, we’re alone in writing about the psychological aspects of meetings. Just because nobody else writes about the psychological aspects doesn’t make it uninteresting or unimportant. Why should it? We think it’s significant. Several of our published articles have been made into books and more are planned for the future. In this way we further extend the format. What is it that is so challenging about the meetings industry? roger : It’s made up of the crucial players like purchasers and planners from companies, associations and organisations. MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 4 2010
But also suppliers like hotels and meetings venues. Sandwiched in between are other event bureaus, travel agencies, booking companies, educationalists, strategists, communicators, destination companies, tourism companies, educational companies, and education for all those working with meetings and tourism. The meetings industry is everywhere, is young and rapidly developing, and the emerging international networks make things happen all the time. The more we highlight, the more there is to write about. atti: Complexity is challenging, particularly the journalist aspect. Many people who are active in the meetings and events industry don’t even know they are a part of it. Sometimes during interviews somebody could suddenly see a context they didn’t know even existed. This gives a good many rings on the water, particularly from a knowledge and networking perspective. More people who work at a company, maybe not fulltime, begin reading Meetings, realise there are other people out there with the same questions and problems as they have. In this way the magazine forms a bridge between people, a bridge over which knowledge is spread. It’s fun to give people new insights into what meetings entail, to be able to contribute to a aha, wow experience. What are your driving forces? roger : For me it’s very simple: An example: Maybe 90 per cent of all work meetings in the world are not only poor but basically awful. “Badly planned, poorly implemented and never followed up!” is a motto that we
have drawn up on how internal company meetings are managed. When a company buys a lathe, they know exactly when the investment will begin to pay off. Company management must also think in terms of Return on Investment (ROI) with regard to meetings. We must also get help from facilitators (neutral meetings leaders), a variety of pedagogical approaches, so-called meetings format, to achieve the goals of our meetings. We strive to put together a magazine that is instrumental in opening meetings doors, regardless of whether you work for a company, an organisation or an association. Putting the meetings industry on the map for politicians and the media is another motive force.
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atti: As a magazine we shall keep
close contact with exciting, innovative people who want something and willingly share their knowledge, thoughts and insights. Certainly, many of the texts in the magazine are demanding, even for me. I want demanding readers, demanding readers who are early adopters of Meetings International as a magazine concept. As a magazine publisher you have to believe in your product and do your absolute best. There are those who publish magazines purely for the advertising revenue, but not me. The content always comes first.
The magazine does not have much about destinations. Why? atti: We write about cities, countries and regions, but always in special supplements. The destination then gets total coverage in research, planning, texts, and the photos are taken by our photographer. We reconnoitre, analyse and broaden the destination for the reader. We have published inspirational supplements on London, Paris, Nice, Scotland, the Netherlands, Finland, Denmark and Copenhagen. We’re talking about 24-36 editorial pages, produced entirely by us outside of the main magazine. Destination supplements in English are in the pipeline. Let’s put it this way: A destination should also be allowed to get across its message. There are quite a few articles about green meetings and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the magazine. How can a paper magazine be green? roger : We use paper that has the MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 4 2010
VISION MISSION PASSION | 75
least environmental impact of all the magazine paper in the world. It is FSC classed and we get a lot of positive feedback from our readers. Sweden has a long tradition of environmental work and environmental awareness. The first national campaign began back in 1967. With regard to CSR, we have supported UNICEF for several years. Our son Bimo, soon ten years old and a football enthusiast, suggested that we buy footballs for children through UNICEF, but we also contribute with school material and medicine. We have long supported the independent medical humanitarian organisation, Doctors without Borders, Médecines sans frontiers (MSF). Where will Meetings International be in five years time? roger : We might just distribute the magazine online if we can find a good economic model of getting paid for the texts. Magazine distribution is an enormous cost at present. We’re also focusing more on surrounding events connected with the magazine, events that leave clear international footprints. atti: The publication rate of the English version has increased and we have significantly improved the virtual image. We are lagging behind, but that depends on the fact that we are just two people, and we strive to find a balance between our everyday life and our family life. Three years ago we left Stockholm for Ystad, to surroundings that are Sweden’s equivalent to California. It could soon be time to move again, probably abroad. All things must be … ¶
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SHARMA | 77
In a survey of 22,000 business people ranking top leadership gurus, Robin Sharma was #2, with Jack Welch. Sharma’s books have sold millions of copies in over 60 countries. His new book is ”The Leader Who Had No Title: A Modern Fable on Real Success in Business and in Life” (Simon & Schuster). Robin Sharma’s blog is at robinsharma.com.
THE NEW WAY TO WIN in Business and in Life the old way of leading is
dead. Many of our best-known organizations have fallen and some of our most revered leaders have lost face. The global economy has now transformed and with all the new media ranging from Twitter to YouTube, everyone now can build a following. And lead their field. We have just entered what I call The Decade of Leadership. Leadership has become democratized. I’m not at all suggesting that we don’t need titles and people at the top of organizations to set the vision, manage the team and take overall responsibility for the ship. What I am offering is that we now work and live in a world where leadership isn’t just something executives do. It’s something everyone needs to do – for their organizations to survive, in this period of dramatic change. For the past 15 years, I’ve had a simple mission that has become my obsession: to help people in organizations lead without a title – and play at their best in all that they do. This mission has taken me into client companies like Nike, BP, FedEx, GE, Panasonic and Unilever where I’ve not only helped their
best people grow even better but learned what world-class teams and enterprises do to create wow. This mission has allowed me to serve as the private leadership advisor to many billionaires and celebrity entrepreneurs. And this calling has caused me to meet people from every walk of life in every industry and learn what keeps them from stepping up to their leadership best when that’s exactly who they are built to be. I’ve distilled everything I’ve learned into a step-by-step formula that I’ve shared in my new book. Here are nine smart moves you can make today to start changing the game and creating exceptional results: 1. Remember that you need no title to be a leader. Leadership has less to do with the size of your title than the depth of your commitment. I’ve seen frontline employees, taxi drivers and carpet installers doing their work like Picasso painted. Leadership isn’t really about authority. It’s about a choice you can make to do your best work each and every day, regardless of where you are planted.
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2. Shift from Victimhood to Leadership. No great career, business or life was ever created on a platform of excuses. Too many people play victim at work. They blame the boss or the economy or the competition or the weather for their less than mediocre results. Leaders Without a Title are different. They get that they have power. It may not be the power granted through a title like CEO or SVP. But they have power. And that’s the power to see opportunity amid crises. That’s the power to drive positive change. That’s the power to encourage everyone on your team. And it’s the power to step into the person you’ve always longed to be. 3. Innovate or Stagnate. To Lead Without a Title is to leave everything you touch better than you found it. Mediocrity happens when people refuse to change and improve all that they do. Look what happened to some of the big car companies because they slowed down their devotion to innovation. The competition ate them for breakfast. And put some out of business. The best leaders and the best enterprises have a hunger to improve. It’s such a deep part of their culture they know of no other way to be. And that’s the edge that makes them great. 4. Become a Value Creator versus a Clock Watcher. Success comes from the value you add rather than from the busyness you show. What’s the point of being really busy around the wrong things? Leadership is a game of focus. Focusing on fewer but smarter activities, the ones that create real value for your teammates, customers and the world at large. MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 4 2010
5. Put People First. “The business of business is people”, said Southwest Airlines founder Herb Kelleher. We have a ton of technology yet less and less humanity. Yet let’s remember that people do business with people they like, trust and respect. One of the clients we’ve done leadership development work with is RIM. Yes, they are a fast and innovative technology company. But they also get that excellent results come from people playing at excellence. So build your team. Meet your customers. Deepen human connections. Treat others with respect. And put people first. 6. Remember that Tough Times Build Strong Leaders. Look at any exceptional leader and you’ll find that they stepped into their leadership best during a period of crises versus calmness. To Lead Without a Title is to hunt for opportunity amid every adversity. Every setback has the seeds of an opportunity. Companies like Apple, Google and Amazon were built because their people leveraged disruptive times into brilliant wins. And because their people refused to give up when faced with difficulty. 7. Go to Your Limits. The more you play out on the edges of your limits and take intelligent risks, the wider your limits will expand. The more you leave your comfort zone, the bigger your comfort zone will grow. Each day at work, do the things you know you must do but are scared to do. That’s how you grow, build your leadership capability and access more of the leader within you. There’s zero safety in staying within what I call “The Safe Harbour of The Known”. That’s
just an illusion that bankrupts too many businesses and breaks too many human beings. 8. Lead Yourself First. My book isn’t just a book showing you how to create exceptional business success and win at work, it’s also a handbook for personal leadership. Because how can you lead other people if you haven’t first done what it takes to lead yourself? Get to know your values. Think through what you want your life to stand for. Become physically, mentally and emotionally strong. And have a remarkably good relationship with your family. What’s the point of becoming super-successful yet being alone? 9. Give Back a Legacy. Success is good. Significance is even better. Sure profit and peer recognition and doing great work is missioncritical. But even more important than that is what you give – and all you leave behind. As I write in the book, “even the longest life is pretty short. And all that matters when you get to your last day is the difference you’ve made and the people you’ve helped”. So as you Lead Without a Title and step into your leadership best, stay focused on adding value. And making an extraordinary contribution. ¶
welcome to a romantic five star hotel in sigtuna town
In a unique setting, overlooking the unspoiled northern part of
Sigtuna Stads Hotell stands like a polished stone in the middle of Sweden’s oldest town, 40 meters from the broad waters of Lake Mälaren and only 15 minutes from Arlanda International Airport.
the Swedish mountain, Åreskutan, is the Kall Auto Lodge. Here
Sigtuna Stads Hotell is a five star boutique hotel, newly refurbished in Scandinavian design from the period of 1930–1950’s with a first class restaurant for every one looking for something extra!
Kall Auto Lodge is for both the company and the individual who
Stora Nygatan 3, 193 30 Sigtuna Tfn. + 46 8 592 501 00, email@example.com www.sigtunastadshotell.se
you will find a perfect combination of distinctive accommodations, excellent cuisine and heart pumping driving. All of this in the most stunning landscapes of the great outdoors you can imagine - in winter and in summer.
is looking for something remarkable for the conference, weekend stay or customer meeting. Here, we mix exclusive sports cars with fishing trips and small game hunting in exhilarating natural surroundings for large and small events.
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When experience is the goal
80 | BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE
SURVEY: Business is improving in 2010 The Second Annual Incon Survey of the Global Association Conference Market provides some interesting findings for the PCO business in 2010 and beyond. This includes: business is improving in 2010 The strong negative impact on business in 2009 as a result of the global recession is abating somewhat in 2010 with a majority of leading PCOs reporting that 2010 sees an improvement in their business compared to 2009. Overall delegate numbers, key performance indicators for the meetings industry, appear stable or better than 2009 emphasizing a shift in the market with delegates more willing and able to attend conferences. Revenue from Exhibitions remains stable. MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 4 2010
Sponsorship is also expected to remain stable. Revenue from housing is expected to increase in 2010. Trend towards providing consultancy based services. Healthcare continues to reign as the primary industry sector. Other sectors in which the Incon members are particularly active include Corporate, Science and Engineering, and Academic. Business from the governmental sector has decreased since 2009. Corporate business has increased on 2009 figures. Business from the Academic sector remains stable. Revenue from the Governmental sector has decreased by 13 per cent. on the supplier side of the business Rates for venue hire remain stable. Housing rates have improved. Rates and prices for catering remain stable. other perspectives 2010 Employment is predicted to rise in the PCO sector. Profitability has increased. There appears to have been very little change in the competitive
landscape in 2010 as compared to 2009. Number of local PCOs remains steady. Number of core PCOs remains steady. Number of in house providers remains stable. Encouragingly, it appears that PCOs are handling an increasing number of PCO projects this year as compared to the previous year and they expect to handle even more again in 2011. Service levels predicted to increase.
emerging trends Procurement. Clients are demanding more value, visibility and control over any profit made. PCOs are providing an increasing amount of marcom services and digital marcom services are rapidly on the increase. Increasing importance of CSR/ green concerns and a strong green policy. Perception of Value and Budgeting identified as key new trends for 2011. ¶
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CULTURAL DIFFERENCES | 85
Lars Lövgren why did Smart City in Qatar
Pär Hugo Kjellén
hold their launch in a tent as usual? Why did an exposed shoe sole lead to a diplomatic crisis in Iraq? What turned an event in Quebec into a nightmare and why were all the agreements ripped up in Mexico? Because of cultural differences; a subject that Dr. Layth Bunni is more than aware of and analyses critically. Layth Bunni is Chief Executive Officer of the Congrex Group, one of the world’s organisers of meetings and events with sales of €100 million and a workforce of 350. The Group works from 22 offices on five continents and has expansion plans. Since it was founded in 1982 the company has implemented close on 4,000 events for over five million delegates in more than 40 countries. To achieve results they need to have full control over cultural and social traditions and customs. “Culture is a risk zone and it’s important to study the differences in detail in advance without generalising and without prejudice. One has to be careful with cultural interaction as a lack of knowledge and awareness could ruin entire projects, something we’ve experienced,” says Layth Bunni, whose father was Irish and mother was Iraqi (a good mix, he says). “Culture is all about our history and our experiences, attitudes, customs and values. It’s also about traditions, unwritten laws, body language, future visions, how the society is built up and how we handle change. All this must be weighed in when we cooperate with people from different cultures. It’s interesting and crucial at the same time in achieving results.” Layth Bunni talks of an ambitious project in Qatar 2008, which was a good year for the oil industry 2010 No 4 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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there. Congrex was given the task of launching Smart City globally, a top modern media town with facilities to attract people to the country on the Persian Gulf. Five hundred of the media world’s leading lights were to be invited and one of the conditions was that the meeting would not be held in a tent, which custom demanded. “The message was ‘We are Best’, which is normal in the Arab world. People would experience something they’d never done before, the presentation would be unique, etc. MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 4 2010
We put together a 3D film in dynamic format to show the project and launch and our proposal was trashed completely! The Emir in Qatar, who sponsored the whole thing, said ‘No thanks, we want a tent, the biggest and best there is’. The result was, admittedly, a positive event but there was nothing new at all.” The role of the Emir and of tradition had been underestimated, and the lesson learned was to always document cultural factors carefully in advance and take them extremely seriously. The Mexico City case last
year also involved a large tent for 20,000 people. “We’d done everything according to the European model of a tender and agreement documents, signatures, etc. When the tent was due for delivery, a few days late on top of everything else, the 25 lorries that were transporting the tent stopped outside of town and new tougher negotiations got underway, in which our side had to give way. We learned that cooperation must always be based on their terms and conditions from the outset.”
Let the ocean be part of your meeting.
The beach next door and room for upp to 300 people.
Three hours from London.
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CULTURAL DIFFERENCES | 89
Layth Bunni gives two more examples: When an event in Quebec became a nightmare as all the hotel rooms and exhibition halls were fully booked very early due to Quebec’s jubilee celebrations, and in Iraq where, in cooperation with the British government, Congrex arranged a meeting in the green zone with an Iraqi minister. Out of nervousness, one of the British party responsible for PR and communication happened to cross his legs, thus showing the sole of his shoe to the Iraqi minister. “This is the worst thing you can do in the Middle East, the worst insult there is, worse than the F word in the west. It led to a grave diplomatic crisis between the British government and Iraq,” says Layth Bunni stressing that the majority of meetings that Congrex implements are actually successful. What should one consider when organising a meeting or an event in another culture? Layth Bunni says that the golden rules for success are as follows: to research the venue thoroughly, that you have to adapt to their culture, not vice versa, to be aware of public holidays and festivals, to cooperate with the person who is actually responsible, to be watchful of useless contracts and to negotiate according to the other party’s methods. “The most important thing is to approach the other culture from their perspective or you run the risk of hitting a brick wall and ending up in conflict. To avoid prejudice it is always good to speak to people on the inside, not judge from the outside. Many places are also multicultural, which is a vital factor to bear in mind, especially today. Generally speaking, people have to be treated with respect for where they come from, that alone has many advantages.” ¶
2010 No 4 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
90 | KELLERMAN
Roger Kellerman is a publisher, business intelligence analyst, trend creator, educator and networker. He has more than 25 years’ experience of the global meeting industry.
WE WHO CULTIVATE “Every person can choose
between two things: to build, or to cultivate. Those who build can continue for many years with their project, but one day they will finish what they once began. They then take a look around and realise that they are shut inside their four walls. Life loses its meaning when the building ends. Then there are those who cultivate, those affected by storms and seasons and who seldom get any rest. But as opposed to a construction project, a garden never stops growing, and because it craves the attention of the cultivator, it turns life into a great adventure. Cultivators recognise each other; they know that the history of every plant is the history of the whole world’s growth.” So writes Paulo Coelho in the introduction to his book Brida, words that could also be used to describe our magazine. When I wrote my first texts on the Swedish meetings industry in Expos & Congresses magazine in 1984, we were applauded and congratulated, chiefly from the industry we described, followed by: “Now you’ve written everything, MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 4 2010
how do you intend to fill the next number?” And I can say, 26 years later, that there has never been so much to write with regard to meetings as there is today. It is like laying a jigsaw puzzle. The more we learn, the more we write about, and the more new puzzles pieces we find, pieces that are not visible until the nearest puzzle piece is in place. After 26 years of non-stop cultivating, not least in global relationships, more and new doors open all the time. This is why we are the meetings planner’s magazine. Despite the turbulent financial times we live in, we are sharpening our focus on helping even more purchasers of meetings to become even better. We do this, among other reasons, to cultivate our relationships with the event companies that are in the forefront of their development work. Those with the courage to challenge their customers with new knowledge and facilities, and with event companies who simply develop their clients’ companies. Our magazine will never be ready because it is not a building, and does not need to be completed. The
magazine is a cultivated product, where we also exchange crops when our readers need new angles of approach. If we cannot surprise our readers with positive changes and development opportunities then our own development grinds to a halt, and we do not want that. We travel to international expos to meet other cultivators because they are there all ready to meet us. We meet people from different parts of Asia, the Middle East, Canada, Europe, the USA and South America, to take a few examples. This gives us new shoots, new crops and new ideas, and which we now share in Meetings International’s fourth number. It is also a way to harvest virgin land. We have shown the world that there are many good ideas in Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia and look what happens: People we did not even know existed get in touch and talk of their experiences of the issues we take up. New doors open, new cultivations are created, new relationships get underway and we realise that our work, after 26 years in the meetings industry, has only just begun. ¶
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