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G B LO AL V IS N IO AR AW D 11 20

We are a private intelligence agency without spies

NATHALIE

W.

STRATEGIC INTELLIGENCE CHANGE MEETINGS IN CYBERSPACE FACIAL EXPRESSIONS KELLERMAN

ISSN 1651-9660

45

No. 08 Nov 2011 €15 / 165 SEK

9 771651 966908

>


ECO TOURISm DESTINaTION OF THE yEaR It is clearly something positive that a destination like Gothenburg can be recognised for its environmental resources. Fresh air, clean water, unspoilt islands and large forests bring benefits not just for our visitors but of course for us who live here. All this in combination with Scandinavia’s largest all-under-one-roof eco-friendly conventions venue sharpens our competitive edge as a meeting destination. This award is proof of our work and an inspiration for us to develop our responsibility for the future. Now let us enlighten you.


GOTHENBURG BUILDS FOR THE FUTURE 2010 was a year of meetings. Never before have so many people visited

Currently 81 non-stop connections service the city from 57 European desti-

Gothenburg to participate in a congress or fair. This is something we are

nations making it easy getting here. More connections are to be expected

proud of. However we intend to beat this record. And that’s why we are buil-

allowing for the Swedish west coast to be even more accessible.

ding for the future.

On the subject of the future. Sustainable Gothenburg is a possibility for

A new 29-stories third tower and a total of 1,200 rooms will make the Swe-

your meeting to earn an environmental certification. The city’s aspiration is

dish Exhibition & Congress Centre the largest hotel in Europe. The new Cla-

to validate every aspect of the meeting. From transportation, accommodation

rion Hotel Post, a first class conference hotel with 500 hotel rooms in the city

and venue to marketing and on site office. This is part of our work to reduce

center open in January 2012. We look forward with confidence.

carbon footprint and securing our city for generations to come.

Gothenburg is a buzzing city well-experienced in hosting major international meetings. Meeting venues, hotels, restaurants, shops and entertainment are all located in the city centre. Everything is within walking distance.

Göteborg & Co. Gothenburg Convention Bureau | T: +46 (0)31-368 4000 | E: convention@goteborg.com | gothenburg.com

We hope to see you in the future!


Meetings could be so much more than just a meeting. Malmö is filled with history, sports, arts, entertainment, restaurants, shows, landmarks, sightseeing – all the things that makes your meeting sparkle. At Malmö Convention Bureau we proudly show you the best of Malmö – the venues, the easy access, the ideas and the easy way of a professional meeting. Why settle with an ordinary meeting – when you can have a meeting with a twist?


4

th SoUtH eASt eURoPeAN eXHiBitioN foR MeetiNGS, eveNtS & iNceNtive tRAveL

18 - 19 JANUARY 2012, Ljubljana—Slovenia


Have a cup of coffee with us! At Conventa 2012

“As a professional meeting planner I’m being continuously asked for something different, value-centered, no boring meetings with supplier-partners who are flexible and who want to do business. I firmly believe that South East Europe can provide answers to many of these needs.” Patrick M Delaney, Managing Director, Ovation Global DMC

ORGANISER / Slovenian Convention Bureau PARTNERS / Slovenian Tourist Board • Ljubljana Tourism • GR - Ljubljana Exhibition & Convention Centre • ICCA International Congress & Convention Association • Reed Exhibitions – EIBTM • MPI – Meetings Professionals International • IMEX-MPI Future Leaders TECHNICAL ORGANISER / Go®Mice

www.coNveNtA.iNfo

Bearing in mind that there are not many undiscovered parts of Europe left to explore, we invite all meeting planners looking for something new in the meeting industry to visit Conventa. The Conventa trade show showcases the diversity of South East European destinations characterized by a true flexible approach, safety, real price competitiveness and the quality of facilities and service.


global vision award

2011

meetings international

LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE EDITOR IN CHIEF

Atti Soenarso atti.soenarso@meetingsinternational.com PUBLISHER

Roger Kellerman roger.kellerman@meetingsinternational.com WRITERS

Tomas Dalström, Hans Gordon, Roger Kellerman, Robin Sharma, Atti Soenarso.

No. 08 2011 Make Serendipity Work For You 13 INTRO

Regard Me as a Human Being and I Will Listen

PHOTOGRAPHER

Atti Soenarso highlights the importance of relationships

Sara Appelgren (including cover) TRANSLATION

14

Dennis Brice dennis@writingservices.se

We are a private intelligence agency without spies

EDITOR

Pravasan Pillay

30 MEETING PSYCHOLOGY

Meetings in Cyberspace

ART DIRECTOR

Hans Gordon on the origins and the future of communication

Kellerman Design EDITORIAL RAYS OF SUNSHINE

Lily Dahab, Bene Aperdannier, The Bowling Family, 1Q84, Integrative Thinking, Bimo and his cello. EDITORIAL OFFICE

Meetings International Publishing P.O. Box 224, SE-271 25 Ystad, Sweden Editorial Office +46 8 612 42 20 Commercial Office +46 8 612 42 96 Fax +46 8 612 42 80 info@meetingsinternational.se · www.meetingsinternational.se BUY MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL AT

info@meetingsinternational.se Single copies SEK 165 or €15. Postage not included. PRINTED BY

Trydells Tryckeri AB Environmentally certified according to ISO 14001

STRATEGIC INTELLIGENCE

Nathalie Wlodarczyk

38 BRAIN CHECK

Facial Expressions

Tonya Pixton: A smile creates new thoughts 51

ROBIN SHARMA

The Business of Business

The primary purpose of business is people 52 DURABLE STRATEGY

Charlotta Mantell Ericsson Studio

66 KELLERMAN

Constant Change

Knowledge is constantly renewed and developed

PAPER

Munken Lynx 240 gr / 100 gr by Arctic Paper FSC labeled paper Cert No SGS-COC-1693 FONTS

Adobe: Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk; DS Type: Leitura Display; Hoefler & Frere-Jones: Chronicle Text, Chronicle Display, Knockout. meetings international is stored electronically and is normally made available on the internet. Reservations against this policy must be made in advance. The reprinting of articles and other material, whole or in part, is forbidden without prior consent of the publishers. Quotes, on the other hand, are encouraged as long as the source is named. * We do not take responsibility for non-ordered material.

meetings international is a member of mpi, site and the International­ Federation of Audit Bureaux of ­Circulations, ifabc.


Stockholm

photo: JENS ASSUR

– leading the way in sustainability In a world where green is the new black, the temptation to gloss over the real environmental issues with superficial or cosmetic sustainability efforts can prove almost irresistible. But real sustainability is not a quick fix. At least not in the first ever European Green Capital.


photo: JohAN töpEl

Did you know that there is a duplicate of Stockholm’s sustainable city concept, Hammarby Sjöstad, in China? (Tianjin Eco City 500,000 residents)

A broader definition of sustainability Sustainability is undoubtedly the word ”de jour” of the world’s meeting industry, with more and more destinations offering so called “green meetings”. But real sustainability can’t be achieved by focusing on the meetings themselves. Not even if factors such as accommodations and transports are factored in. Actual sustainability can only result from a much more holistic approach where every aspect of environmental, economic and social impact is part of the equation. That’s why factors such as freedom from corruption, equality and

labour legislation are equally important to consider when choosing a meeting destination. Then, and only then, can the true meaning of sustainability, and indeed green meetings, be realized. Welcome to the first-ever Eurpean Green Capital Stockholm was the first-ever city to be designated European Green Capital by the EU Commission in 2010. The main reason cited for the award was Stockholm’s integrated administrative system, which guarantees that environmental aspects are considered in budgets, operational planning, reporting

and monitoring. Or in other words: just about everything that happens in Stockholm does so with sustainability in mind – and this has been the case for a long time. A case in point: the City has cut carbon dioxide emissions by 25 per cent per inhabitant since 1990 (with the aim of being totally fossil fuel free by 2050!). At the cutting edge of urban development Sustainability starts at home. Stockholm’s much-publicized sustainable city concept, Hammarby Sjöstad, has come to serve as a role model for urban devel-


the city for everyone The vision for Stockholm in 2030 is that of a world-class city, accessible to everyone – disabled or not. To this end, a systematic endeavor to make Stockholm the world’s most accessible

photo: ClARIoN hotEl StoCkholm photo: StoCkholmSmäSSAN

Sustainable transportation There is no getting away from the fact that traveling to and from your chosen meeting venue has some environmental impact. Therefore you’ll be pleased to hear that Stockholm-Arlanda Airport was the first airport to meet the requirements for the highest level [3+] in the assessment of environmental impact of airports in 2009. This level requires that the airport is entirely climate-neutral with respect to emissions from its own operations. In continuing efforts to optimize the whole transport chain, there will be a new commuter train connection, taking passengers directly [and swiftly] from the airport to Stockholm International Fairs, beginning December 2012. This is in addition to the already existing Arlanda Express high-speed rail link (travel time from airport terminal to Stockholm Central: 20 min). And once in Stockholm, you can take advantage of the extensive local transport system that ranks among the best in Europe.

photo: loUISE BIllGERt

opment projects all around the world. From day one, the City of Stockholm imposed tough environmental requirements on buildings, infrastructural solutions and the traffic environment of this once run down industrial area, resulting in a total impact on the environment by half when compared to any similar, conventionally developed new city districts. For the next project area, Stockholm Royal Seaport, the requirements will be even more stringent!

Food and drink – check. Accommodations – check. Meeting facilities – check. You’ve gone through your green meetings checklist and everything seems to be in order. But is your meeting destination REALLY living up to its sustainability claims?

capital city was launched in 1999. Every year since, MSEK 100 have been earmarked for the Easy Access Project which is aimed at making Stockholm’s streets, squares, restaurants, cultural institutions and the City’s own properties, accessible and serviceable to all. We are here for you Stockholm Convention Bureau is here to make things easier for organizers. As a part of Stockholm Visitors Board, we provide a free-of-charge service offering all the support you need to plan a successful meeting. If you want to know more about what we offer

and why companies and organizations keep coming back to Stockholm, don’t hesitate to get in contact.

For more information, send us an e-mail or give us a call! Stockholm Visitors Board Stockholm Convention Bureau Phone: +46 8 508 28 500 conventionbureau@stockholm.se stockholmconventionbureau.com


INTRO | 13

REGARD ME AS A HUMAN BEING AND I’LL LISTEN

The International Diabetes

Federation (IDF) is a global advocacy organisation for the 250 million diabetics worldwide. It represents over 200 diabetes societies in more than 160 countries. The IDF is a voluntary organisation with official ties with the World Health Organisation and is a non-governmental member of the UN Department of Public Information. The IDF leads The World Diabetes Day campaign and organises The World Diabetes Congress. Luc Hendrickx is responsible for the Diabetes Congress. At the Frankfurt IMEX fair in May, he was rewarded for his work when he received the Global Vision Award from the Canadian Tourism Commission for his significant contribution to congress work. In his thank you speech he addressed several intriguing aspects on how he is received as a purchaser of large international medical congresses. What Luc Hendrickx considers as most significant in his dealings with destinations and congress venues, PCOs and DMCs, is that they mainly see him as a human being, not just a person they have to sell something to. “If they don’t understand who I am and the needs that I have then how do they know what to sell me?” It is thus not particularly important to show him the complete offering of rooms at four and five star hotels. He does not need to see all the nooks and crannies of every congress

venue. The supplier only needs to do some basic research before the meeting to understand the needs of Luc and his organisation, because the International Diabetes Federation will not visit a town at all if the destination lacks the hardware that the organisation needs. Luc Hendrickx says that they strive to get to know the people behind the hardware. If they can form a relationship that holds throughout the project and perhaps become lifelong friends then we have achieved the same goal as he has. The meetings industry is all about people and relationships between people, long-term and enjoyable relationships or, as Luc says: “Once a customer, always a customer, even if the organisation never returns to that particular congress venue or destination.”

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.

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NATH A LIE TEXT

Tomas Dalström PHOTOS

Sara Appelgren

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STRATEGIC INTELLIGENCE | 17

“One could compare Exclusive Analysis to a private intelligence service, but without the spies. We help our clients to foresee future events in the country they’re working in, or considering working in, so that they can plan more effectively. We analyse things like: Is a coup likely or large demonstrations? Which governments are likely to change the laws in a way that affects foreign companies and charities operating in the country? We’re based in London, but have a global network of analysts and external sources.”

Until recently, Nathalie Wlodarczyk has been one of two managers for a department with thirty people. Her area of responsibility has been risks connected with violence, such as terrorism, war and other unrest. The other manager is responsible for non-violent risks. “I’ve modified my role somewhat to spend more time in Freetown, Sierra Leone, where my partner lives. I divide my time between Freetown and London. In my new role I train our analysts and others working away from home via Skype. They mainly receive training in our analytical

approach. I have some one-on-one coaching as it’s important for them not to feel isolated and it keeps them updated on the new approach within the organisation. Exclusive Analysis Ltd has a workforce of roughly 200 around the world. The majority are part-time employees and one person may cover one or several countries in a region. “They could be academics, journalists, government employees, people working in industry or private businesspeople. They are people with a great interest in events in these countries but who are unable to work 2011 No. 08 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


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“Nathalie Wlodarczyk has been one of two managers for a department with thirty people. Her area of responsibility has been risks connected with violence, such as terrorism, war and other unrest.”

full-time perhaps. They work a few days a week or keep a check on the progress of specific areas.” After September 11, 2001 a new niche emerged within the insurance sector called terrorism insurance. Nathalie Wlodarczyk says that the demand was enormous and it has been a great success, but there was a hitch. The insurance companies had to be able to put the right price on the policies. To do this they needed to understand differences between, for example, Colombia, New York and Cairo. “This paved the way for a new type of consultancy service. We who had experience from the analysis side began working with this. We help our clients to scratch under the surface to find out what’s pushing developments in different parts of the world and how it’ll impact the future. They’re given the skills to plan more effectively, set the right price, invest and send their employees there. It’s interesting work. There are always new issues cropping up, and in different MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 08 2011

parts of the world. The job is never monotonous.” Roughly a third of Exclusive Analysis’s clients are from the insurance sector. The client portfolio includes large multinational corporations, banks, investment funds and others in the finance sector, oil and mining companies, government and international bodies, and development and aid organisations. Nathalie Wlodarczyk took her doctorate at the Department of War Studies at King’s College in London and has written a book entitled Magic and Warfare: Appearance and Reality in Contemporary African Conflict and Beyond. “In the book, which is built around my dissertation, I go one step further in trying to understand violence that appears irrational and barbaric from the outside. Articles from the late 1990s about conflicts in Africa very often focused on some lunatic promising the people that they would be immune against bullets or that they had a priestess leading the troops. It


SIDRUBBE | 19

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“… and thought it odd that we didn’t have an equivalent in our armies. The important thing for me was not in determining whether or not the magic worked but in trying to understand how they think.”

was used as an explanation to why things were barbaric and irrational. “One has to ask why certain people choose something that relies upon the supernatural to explain why something is a logical choice. For example, if everybody believes it’s a real resource then it’s logical that they will try to utilise it in planning strategy and tactics, to recruit people, etc. If one could explain and understand why people choose to immunise themselves against bullets or use priestesses to lead them to victory, then one could perhaps understand more of this type of war and conflict.” Nathalie Wlodarczyk’s point of departure was that people in general are not irrational no matter how it may appear, but do things that lead somewhere – a practical approach. Working on the book was an attempt to work out the practicality in this type of magic. “These people believe that other powers lend a hand in war, particularly in battle. They lead the bullets to where they are destined. There’s

a lot of theatre involved as well. As soldiers spray the bullets from their automatic weapons they obviously miss the target a lot. For many people this proves that the magic is working.” Nathalie Wlodarczyk is often asked if their actions are due to a lack of knowledge and education. “You would think so if you come from Sweden or the UK, but their high priests were surprised that we found it interesting and different, and thought it odd that we didn’t have an equivalent in our armies. The important thing for me was not in determining whether or not the magic worked but in trying to understand how they think.” Nathalie Wlodarczyk believes that she has chosen to work with conflicts because she comes from Sweden, where these kinds of conflicts are very unfamiliar. “Sweden didn’t participate in the Second World War so there are very few memories of what a conflict like that would entail on the home front. Therefore, it’s fascinating and 2011 No. 08 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


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“The sudden emergence of 5-star hotels, fast internet and air-conditioned cafés in the capital Kigali does not signal the end of the antagonism.”

interesting to try to understand why it happens in other parts of the world.” It was no surprise when she began working with international issues as it had formed an integral part of her childhood. “My father was French and we travelled a great deal during the summers. When I began upper secondary school in Umeå it felt natural to enrol in the completely new International Baccalaureate, which was in English and felt more international. I became involved in something called the European Youth Parliament. I and other European teenagers travelled to a town in Europe pretending to be politicians for ten days with no parental or teacher guidance. We went two or three times a year and I travelled to places such as Dublin, Milan, Nicosia, Vienna and Istanbul. When it was time to step up to higher education it felt natural to make contact with some of the people I’d met. Quite a few were going to study in London and through them I heard about the London School of Economics, which MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 08 2011

I wouldn’t have otherwise. I enrolled there in 1997. “About the same time, I became engrossed in the workings of violence and extreme violence. At that time Africa was the obvious place for field studies due to the grotesque wars taking place there. It was a logical place to begin in trying to understand why it was a sensible alternative for those involved. Of course, once there, I soon discovered that Africa was interesting in many other ways as well. If feels as though that part of the world is in the middle of shaping its future, not like Europe where everything has slowed down somewhat with the people in a comfort zone. We are no longer engrossed in issues like country, state and politics, unlike in Africa where the people are generally more engaged.” What advice does Nathalie Wlodarczyk have for those seeking to do business with, or start a business in, an African country? “Read a lot of history, including modern history. Things have

progressed immensely in many places. But ten or twelve years is quite a short time so to understand what could happen you have to know where those who have power come from, what the old conflicts were all about and how many of them still smoulder on. “In Rwanda, which has progressed the most in recent years, they’ve coped well, but many of the old conflicts have been brushed under the carpet. There’s a good chance that they’ll flare up again. The sudden emergence of 5-star hotels, fast internet and air-conditioned cafés in the capital Kigali does not signal the end of the antagonism. In other places, such as Sierra Leone where things have progressed much slower, many of the underlying conflicts have become dormant and less explosive than what they have been. It’s a slower process that will probably stabilise in time. It’s easier to progress quickly under authoritarian rule, but that usually means that they cut off all the forks along the road.


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“In Sierra Leone … It’s impossible to predict arrival times so it doesn’t matter whether you arrive on time or not. The perception of time is more diffuse.”

Understanding this balance is important for those seeking to invest or to stay put for a longer period. It’s less important for those coming and going quickly.” Nathalie Wlodarczyk says that there are mainly two things that irritate people who come to Africa: People hardly ever arrive on time and things are very unstructured. “In Sierra Leone, from where I’ve just returned, it’s more intensive because all the logistics are so timedemanding. It takes longer to get anywhere. There’s more traffic, it’s difficult to find fuel for the car, someone has dug a large hole in the road, there’s no water in the morning or the power’s off, etcetera. It’s impossible to predict arrival times so it doesn’t matter whether you arrive on time or not. The perception of time is more diffuse. “Meetings drag on forever, things take longer than what we’re used to. A lot of in-between meetings are needed to build trust, to get things moving. This makes it more difficult

to plan. And things go wrong much easier. I have to work a lot more hours than in England to achieve the same results, so it’s a good idea to add an extra day or so to your journey. However, despite everything, there are fewer cancelled meetings in Africa than in the Middle East and the Gulf States, for example. “Also, there are no real dividing lines between evenings, weekends and leisure time, meaning you could get a call at any time on the weekend or late in the evening because everybody has the same extended working hours.” Nathalie Wlodarczyk explains that trust takes time to build and we have to bear in mind that it is a discussion and trust culture that we are not used to. “Nobody makes quick decisions without first building up a relationship. In Sweden and England you can attend a meeting and decide on something with somebody you’ve never met before in just half an hour. Even if you could do this in Africa, it’s

no guarantee that the decision is final. Your prospective client knows nothing about you or your background. It takes time and quite a few meetings before they begin to get a picture of you and your motives. They’ve had so many dubious proposals over the years that they either try to avoid getting involved or to ensure they get as much as possible out of their commitment. “It also takes time to learn how different people work. It’s impossible to form close relationships with everybody. It depends on the individual, their experiences and background. They put up barriers against certain types of projects and foreigners. The people feel antipathy towards certain nationalities. Being Swedish is usually positive. It’s anonymous and it helps if the people in Congo, for instance, hear that I work in London and not Paris or Brussels. There are many factors that influence a meeting and navigating between all the obstacles can be difficult.”

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“After September 11, 2001 a new niche emerged within the insurance sector called terrorism insurance. Nathalie Wlodarczyk says that the demand was enormous and it has been a great success, but there was a hitch. The insurance companies had to be able to put the right price on the policies.”

Nathalie Wlodarczyk also thinks that it is important to try to understand as much as possible prior to a meeting. Who are the people you are going to meet and how do they fit into the bigger picture? “What sort of company or organisation is it and who are their close liaisons. The company could actually be owned by the President’s brother. Everything is all too often political, albeit under the surface. Try to find out how the organisation, company and people fit into the greater scheme of things. This will help you avoid certain areas and to understand where the prospective client comes from. “Being formal is also important as African society is extremely formal. It’s far better to be over-formal with titles and showing respect – for instance, calling somebody with a doctorate, ’Doctor’. First names come very late on in the relationship. Even if somebody has grown up and been educated in the West, showing this kind of respect will still have a positive impact on the outcome. People MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 08 2011

you talk to may say, “I come from New York, call me Dan”, but that’s on his initiative. In Sierra Leone, where I’ve spent a lot of time, ministers and government employees are addressed by their positions rather than their names. You are your position, just like Mr. President in the USA. What you represent and what you do is more important than who you are. Being informal could easily be perceived as an affront. “Of course, people don’t necessarily have much say in this, regardless of whether they’re presidents or ministers. They do that which the country, community or electorate demand of them or they get voted out. It’s not that much different for MPs in England, who also have to make their constituents happy to be re-elected, but in Africa it’s more extreme and quite often about the future of the country.” Exclusive Analysis has a network of roughly 1,200 people. One person is in charge of it all and keeps regular contact with the others in the group.

“That person also helps to identify the right people in a specific country when we’re compiling a report, arranges the meeting and ensures that everybody attending the meeting are aware of who they are going to meet. Hardly anybody attends a meeting without first holding an internal meeting, where they are given a quick run-through and are made aware of what they’re expected to consider, achieve and to do after the meeting, like writing a report, for example. “This meeting is an integral part of our operations, in both the commercial and analysis part. We must try to keep a check and be systematic to make it easier to go back and see the results achieved at different meetings. We follow-up rapidly by contacting all the people we’ve met, even for smaller projects. To say thank you, to provide feedback and to give them the chance to change their stance. Follow-up depends on the purpose of the meeting. If it’s information gathering in, for example, Sudan, we go there to meet as many people


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STRATEGIC INTELLIGENCE | 29

“I’ve become more attentive. When sensitive things are being discussed you have to be attentive and read people’s reactions, what they think and feel about the issues and the whole situation. I think I find it easier to see the nuances and it helps me when I’m sitting in a meeting in London, for example.”

as possible to try to get a picture of what’s happening. It’s very important to return to say that this is what we’ve understood and this is what we’ve agreed on, even if it doesn’t quite tally with what you think.” Nathalie Wlodarczyk feels that the knowledge she has acquired about conflicts and conflict resolution has influenced her way of negotiating and behaving at meetings. “I’ve become more attentive. When sensitive things are being discussed you have to be attentive and read people’s reactions, what they think and feel about the issues and the whole situation. I think I find it easier to see the nuances and it helps me when I’m sitting in a meeting in London, for example.” Nathalie Wlodarczyk has to adjust when coming home to Sweden to attend meetings. “I moved early and can hardly remember what the meeting culture is like. Nobody was surprised when I took part in English meetings. On the other hand, I was genuinely surprised

when I went to Stockholm for a business meeting with an insurance company. Both my colleagues and I were quite shocked, me probably a bit less than them. Swedish meeting culture is earnest and businesslike, while English meeting culture is built around humour, irony and casual chat about sport and world events. The differences in the meeting cultures made it difficult to read what we’d actually achieved. We all felt the same: this didn’t go well at all. No one cracked a smile. The atmosphere was deadly serious and the customer was obviously not interested. After a few days, to our surprise, we received an order. “It’s extremely difficult to read people when first entering another culture. It takes a while to interpret signals. Are they just being polite? Are they really interested? What does it mean if they say yes or no?”

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YOU ARE HERE

MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 08 2011

© iStockphoto.com/mstroz


MEETING PSYCHOLOGY | 31

Hans Gordon, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Authorised Psychologist, specialised in Aviation Psychology. Authorised psychotherapist, since 1987 running Gordon Consulting. Has for decades been engaged by airline companies, among them SAS and Thai Airways International.

Meetings in Cyberspace

LOL DATS WKD WELL I FINK SO NE WAY. L8R M8 (Modern text message language translated to normal English: That’s great, well I think so anyway. See you later!)

The mystery of human language origins is the most crucial in understanding how we became uniquely human. After all, it is language that allows us to communicate with each other far more precisely than any animal can. Language enables us to formulate joint plans, to teach one another, and to learn from what others have experienced elsewhere or in the past.” From The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal by Jared Diamond

When sitting in a hotel room in

Bangkok thirty years ago, which from a historical perspective is shorter than the blink of an eye, the only way to get in touch with the folks back home was to order a phone call through the hotel switchboard. It took two to three hours before I was connected via a complex satellite system. A few years on and the switchboard had been replaced by machines. I could now make the

call myself, provided of course that I knew the country and area codes. Communication took a massive stride forward with the introduction of fax machines in hotel business centres. Talking was replaced by writing and contact was now much quicker; albeit at the cost of social intercourse. All the nuances in the voices, all the background noises that form an integral part of a phone call, particularly when speaking to the children, 2011 No. 08 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


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“… linguistic research points to it having taken close on 500,000 years of human development for a more sophisticated, abstract and richly charged language to take shape.” were no longer there. But it was amazing nonetheless. The long wait at an echoing telephone with a dodgy connection was a thing of the past. Then email made its entry. It had begun to make inroads way back in the late 1960s, but only for those with access to the primitive and extremely expensive computers of the time. The first ever email from the Swedish Prime Minister to the US President was sent in 1994. Only then were the digital networks reasonably reliable. Today, an estimated two to three million emails are sent every second of every day. Despite rapid technological advances and massive price drops in computers and wireless networks, more and more young people are abandoning large desktop computers in favour of what are still known as mobile phones (they are phones as well of course). They text and MMS each other with thumb movements that navigate the virtual keyboard at lightning speed and they social network via Facebook and Twitter, or one of the other seemingly endless number of online meeting places. This enables them to reach not only one but an infinite number of people. Facebooking and Tweeting has enticed millions of users. Facebook reports that at the beginning of MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 08 2011

2011 the registered number of users totalled 665 million, meaning that roughly ten percent of the world population is connected to this intercommunicative network alone. One animal species apart from humans to have been used in research into verbal communication (animal language) is the green quenon monkey. Found in most parts of Africa, these particular monkeys were chosen for having developed relatively complex social relationships with each other. They live in groups and compete with other groups for territorial supremacy. Like many other animal species they are under constant threat from predators and have to use their ingenuity to find good food areas. The interesting thing is that the quenon have developed an intricate method of communication consisting of a variety of tonal screams and grunts, all of which convey different messages. It has been established that some screams and grunts signal the approach of dangerous predators while others tell the troop there is no danger when less dangerous predators are approaching. They have a complete tone scale: some for when humans are approaching, others for when a rival quenon from another territory

is encroaching, and some that strengthen the social ties within their groups. The green quenon converse in their own way through having developed an ingenious animal language. The first human species (Homo habilis, Homo erectus and Homo sapiens neanderthalensis) probably communicated using a variety of signals even more intricate than the green quenon. The question is, when during their development did our forefathers go from using sound signals to creating messages by putting together a variety of sounds containing symbolic meaning? This is a field that we know very little about, but linguistic research points to it having taken close on 500,000 years of human development for a more sophisticated, abstract and richly charged language to take shape. The Neanderthals, who suddenly disappeared as a species, could produce cave art and possessed both intellectual capacity and organisational skills. Our own species, Homo sapiens sapiens, appeared around 150,000 years ago, that is to say quite recently. This more historically modern species, with even greater intellectual capacity, emerged in southern Africa and began to spread to Europe and Asia 90,000 years ago. It would, however, take much longer for a form


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MEETING PSYCHOLOGY | 35

“We do, however, get new language constellations, but mostly as ripples on the surface of water that is becoming increasingly shallow.”

of written language to come into use. Our ability to use writing as a means of communication only dates back some 5,000 years. Is the development of human intelligence linked with language development? This is one field in which the majority of researchers and psychologists are probably in agreement. It is through language, not least the more advanced grammar and syntax, that humans have gradually developed their various skills. In his book Language and Mind, renowned linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky drew attention to the 17th century, the Age of Reason, “which laid the foundations for modern science, where the problems that still baffle us today were formulated with astonishing clarity.” In the upper echelons of society at that time a refined and advanced language flourished that gave rise to new cognitive structures and creative forces. Society became more complex and the language was needed for deeper reflection and analysis, and, not least, for being pioneering and highly innovative. Thoughts need language as their building blocks; without a proper language thinking becomes muddled.

It is in meetings between people that language develops substance and meaning, and it is there that the language, and with it people’s intelligence, progresses. Let us return to meetings in cyberspace. What do we actually do on Facebook and Twitter? Are these real meeting places we are talking about? Yes, to a certain extent. We receive shorts messages or small utterances from those we call our “friends”, which in this case is a technical term. Our “friends” are made up of people we accept within the framework of that which we read and write. It is not unusual for a Facebooker to have a couple of hundred “friends”, of whom maybe only twenty percent are active Facebookers. The others have registered but remain silent. So we meet through our small online utterances, the majority of which (there are exceptions) are in a way comparable to the signalling sounds from our prehistoric period. In my experience, profound discussions in which we analyse experiences in an effort to acquire a greater understanding of what we have been part of are non-existent, possibly with the exception of the odd reference to an in-depth article. Thus, we do not examine the order of things through

Facebook. Politically-founded ideas are seldom put across and therewith never discussed. “Genuine communication is always shrouded in genuine uncertainty. I don’t really know what I’ve said before you reply and you don’t really know what you’ve said before I reply. You show me what I’ve said and I show you what you’ve said.” These are the words of Swedish Social Psychologist Johan Asplund in a paper in which he discusses the development of social skills. It’s very difficult to speak of “genuine communication” in relation to Facebook and Twitter. It does not take place there. It is too anecdotal and compressed for that. Johan Asplund would probably call it a form of asocial chattiness. Therefore, we cannot expect these cyberspace meetings to fortify the language or the analytical intellect. We do, however, get new language constellations, but mostly as ripples on the surface of water that is becoming increasingly shallow.

2011 No. 08 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


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.

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INTERMISSION | 37 SIDRUBBE | 37

Not many magazines have their own soundtrack, but we do. This time we’ve chosen Color the Trees, the latest album by Firefox AK. We have several favourite tracks but we will let you choose your own. Explore Firefox AK yourself on Spotify or iTunes.

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T

P I X T O N TEXT

Tomas Dalström

PHOTOS

Sara Appelgren

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Facial Expressions In June, Tonya Pixton defended her dissertation on the interpretation of facial expressions. Tonya works at the Department of Psychology, Stockholm University. She has studied in the USA and majored in three subjects, including Psychology. Tonya Pixton comes from Texas and has danced since she was three years old. She has toured with groups in the USA, Switzerland and Sweden, and played the violin when she was young. Music, art and ballet play a large part in her life, along with her family and her work. When Tonya Pixton was study-

ing Psychology in the USA she read a great many research reports and articles from Stockholm University, which inspired her to complete her doctorate here. In December 2001, she moved to Sweden. What happens when I enter a meeting room?

“You scan all the faces to decide who, or who not to, sit next to. This takes a split second. Our brain determines initial attraction, sex, ethnic origin, if the face is familiar or not,

emotions (facial expressions) and who appears to be serious. Also, whether you would consider socialising with them, whether you like them or could get to like them. “We sense whether it is a man or a woman as quick as lightning. It’s almost impossible to register how long it takes, the reply is instantaneous. In test situations, where the hair and other clues have been removed, the chin has shown to have a great significance in identification. There is also preliminary research which

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indicates that the male hormone testosterone plays a major part in forming the chin.” We read red, the colour of blood, in two hundredths of a second. Here you’re talking about thousandths of a second. Has this rapid decoding of the face anything to do with man’s survival as a species?

“Yes, and chimpanzees also read facial expressions, emotions and moods. We need to be able to sense whether an individual or a group is a friend or a foe.” Can all people read facial expressions?

“Yes, with the exception of those suffering from certain types of brain disorders.” Imagine walking up a shopping street and meeting hundreds of people. Suddenly you recognise X, who you worked or studied with twenty years before. How is this possible?

“The face is a large and significant part of our lives and we practice all our lives. Our parents’ faces are the first things we see when we’re born. The memory also plays a part. You recognise the faces you are exposed to. But there are people with a very short memory for faces.” Is it possible to train the memory?

“It’s not my field, but I don’t see why it’s not possible.” Are there any gender differences in how we recall faces?

“Agneta Herlitz, professor in the psychology of ageing at the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society (NVS) at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm has shown that women recall faces better, women’s faces in particular. Her speciality is cognition. I specialise in perception of emotions and our research fields intertwine.” Could you expand on the emotion aspect?

MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 08 2011

“I look specifically at happy and angry faces. My research points to no gender difference in how we perceive the face and that we notice happy faces much easier. Previous research showed that we discovered an angry face first among other faces as a matter of survival. But that experiment has since been shown to have been flawed. New research shows that we are drawn to happy faces in a group. The explanation being that people

lot of money on the lottery, we interpret the facial expression as a person who is surprised. “A study I carried out also showed that a neutral face surrounded by happy faces is judged as being sad, but angry if surrounded by angry faces.” If I smile can it affect how I experience things?

“There’s a great deal of research that points to us being able to change our view of that surrounding us with

“New research shows that we are drawn to happy faces in a group. The explanation being that people seek that which is positive and are drawn to that which is pleasurable.”

seek that which is positive and are drawn to that which is pleasurable.” Do researchers look at real faces when carrying out experiments?

“Yes at first, then cartoon figures. Something like stick figures where you draw simple lines for the eyes, nose and mouth. Today they use both depending on the experiment they’re carrying out.” The situation must also influence the face we’re drawn to. In a threatening situation we look for angry faces in order to avoid somebody.

“That’s right. If I were to present the same face with the same expression but with two different stories, people would judge the facial expression from the description. If, for instance, I have a picture of somebody who looks afraid and say that X has come home from a long day’s work to a letter saying they’ve won a

a smile. A lot of things indicate that the facial muscles are connected to different parts of the brain. If we smile when feeling stressed or under the weather then we see the world in a more positive light.” Do you utilise this knowledge in your work?

“Naturally, especially when I’m stressed and feeling tired, and perhaps not looking forward to holding a lecture. I then decide to smile and things start to brighten up. When I smile, the two stress wrinkles on my forehead above my nose disappear. The muscles are affected and it is so ingenious that when we smile the muscles are prevented from forming the wrinkles. But even the muscles surrounding our eyes are activated when we smile. I smile and my students look positive and naturally


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BRAIN CHECK | 45

continue to influence me and my smile.” Do you think differently or does the smile lead to new thoughts?

“It leads to new thoughts. I see the situation and life in a more positive light. I believe this, and many research reports back me up. However, I must point out that I’m a person with a pleasant disposition and, according to others, a natural smile. So perhaps it’s easier for me. “At a conference somebody said they’d started courses in Japan to help people to smile more. It’s not normal to show feelings there. They learn how to smile and how deep to bow so as not to appear false. They then measure how customer satisfaction is affected.” In many countries in South East Asia it’s important to have an open face and smile a lot, while other countries have a stern expression, far removed from a smile. How does this affect people in a country?

“I have experience from Thailand where the people you meet always smile, which rubs off on me. We don’t consider that behind the smile they might not be that happy at all. We react to their smiling faces. Stern people are the opposite. They make us depressed or sad. It’s always an interplay between us as individuals and the society we live in. “Swedes are not known for their lively emotions and expressions, but in southern Europe it’s quite the opposite. It’s the same in northern and southern USA, there’s a difference between how we express ourselves.” What does that depend on?

“I’m no expert, but I would imagine climate has something to do with it. I should maybe point out that research shows that Swedes are just as happy as people in other countries but don’t express it in the same way.”

Is there research that shows a difference in how we perceive men and women?

“My research, and other research, shows that we expect women to be cheerful and men to be angry. This doesn’t mean it is that way, that’s just our view.” How old are we when we begin interpreting faces?

“A few minutes after birth we begin to look for faces and are

face shouldn’t be too symmetrical. A lot of research points to an average face as being attractive. We put together a lot of faces and create an average. Then there’s research that shows that they also look at things that are different.” How do faces in films influence us?

“We use the face to communicate, both in films and in life. When a person speaks in a film and you can’t see their mouth, you understand less and

“At a conference somebody said they’d started courses in Japan to help people to smile more.”

attracted to faces. After a few days we begin to imitate faces. When a child sees a picture with triangles that reminds them of the eyes and mouth and another picture where the ‘mouth’, for example, has been moved outside the ‘face’, the child looks at the first picture. A child also prefers to look at an upright T rather than an upside down one. The eyes, nose and mouth are the important things when children interpret whether somebody is angry or happy. “The question is whether we are born with this behaviour or if it’s acquired by being exposed to so many faces. There is much today that points to us being born with this ability.” Do infants look at happy and angry faces alike?

“They’re drawn more to happy and attractive faces.” What is attractive to them?

“That’s a large research issue. It has a lot to do with symmetry, but the

remember less. So seeing the mouth movements is significant in being able to listen. “If the voice and mouth movements are not synchronised we discover it in milliseconds. I think this is a good example that shows the capacity we humans have when we interpret the face.” How conscious do you think we are of being controlled by other people’s facial expressions?

“It’s not that conscious. We scan a person or a group of people and are perhaps conscious of it, but I doubt if we’re aware of why we make the choices we make. We walk through town and scan thousands of faces without thinking about it. You could compare this with not being aware that we’re listening when looking at the other person’s mouth. It’s only when a disturbance occurs that we become aware of something happening.”

2011 No. 08 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


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BRAIN CHECK | 47

“We’d rather talk to a person who smiles and we’d rather visit a person we know is friendly. This is always the case.”

But I’m aware of scanning when I enter a meeting room and start looking for somewhere to sit. And the choice is based on my previous experiences.

“That’s right.”

I could sit next to a really tiresome person but I wouldn’t know until afterwards.

“Exactly, the selection process is based on first impressions and that’s very important for us people. But when the person begins to speak and we get to know each other better, our impression and our perception changes and the person isn’t quite as attractive any more. And vice versa, a person we didn’t find attractive at first sight becomes attractive when we hear them speak.” Is it the voice or expression that determines how I react?

“This isn’t my field so I can’t answer that from a scientific perspective, but there’s an old saying that

goes: It’s not what you say but the way that you say it.” Are there occupational groups that are adept at reading faces?

“Police officers are adept because they practise a lot in their work. We all have that ability. Anybody who works with people gets better at it as they go along.” Car salespeople perhaps …

“Or they might have a more positive facial expression because they have to sell. They utilise the positives of being pleasant and smiling. We’d rather talk to a person who smiles and we’d rather visit a person we know is friendly. This is always the case.” Can I practice becoming better at interpreting faces? Is there anything special I should consider?

“If you’re uncertain of what a person is expressing with their face then maybe you should ask: I’m not sure what you mean. Am I right in thinking … ? This gives you a better understanding of the other person

than by just interpreting their facial expression. Your interpretation of a facial expression is also influenced by how you feel on the day and the experiences you’ve had in life, along with the situation you and the other person find yourselves in, of course. “We can also be taken in by a person’s facial expression. I’ve had students who’ve looked totally blasé. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not interested. This becomes obvious when we discuss something and they start asking questions.” And how should I go about improving my smiling technique?

“By smiling naturally, not a false smile. Research has proven that people see through a false smile, but you shouldn’t smile too much because people don’t like that either. Just be relaxed, cheerful and pleasant.”

Tomas Dalström is an author, journalist, lecturer and innovator with a passion for the brain. He’s the author of the book Bäst i text · Läseboken/ Skrivboken (Best in Text · The Reading Book/The Writing Book) which is about how to write texts that communicate on the terms and conditions of the brain. He runs the websites veryimportantbrains.se and readrunner.se.

2011 No. 08 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


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SIDRUBBE | 49 RADAR | 49

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful … that’s what matters to me.” 2011 No. 08 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


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SHARMA | 51

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”. Robin Sharma’s blog is at robinsharma.com.

The Business of Business IN DANGEROUS ECONOMIC TIMES Sure growing your business is

about delivering astounding value to as many people as possible. Of course scaling your enterprise has to do with increasing profits+reach+impact. But my suggestion is, above all else, the primary purpose of business is people. Herb Kelleher, the founder of Southwest Airlines once said, “the business of business is people.” Ultimately, your business will stand or fall on the ability of your team to forge relationships with your customers. To connect with human beings. To be so staggeringly excellent and caring and ethical that the human beings you serve are reminded about what’s best in the world. An example: Yesterday morning I was looking for a place to have an early morning coffee in the neighborhood where I work. I’d been putting the final touches on the manuscript for my new book The Secret Letters of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari and needed a break.

I found a hip little place that seemed real, compelling and authentically Italian. It was early and a woman was just opening the door. The lights were still off. No one else was around. ‘Closed’ still hung in the window. With a large smile and the subtle wave of her hand she said, “Good morning, please come in.” No “We’re not open yet” or “Come back later.” She flipped on the lights. Turned on the music. And proceeded to joyfully make one of the single best Cafe Americanos I’ve experienced in many years. She then raved about her chocolate croissants and said, “They’ll be ready in 15 minutes. I’ll give you one for free. I’m not letting you leave here without trying one.” Seriously. We talked about our mutual love of Italy, our common lust for superb coffee and our basic belief that all people matter. And that every moment in front of another human being is a chance to express your values and make a difference.

“You know,” she said, “people come in here wanting WiFi so they can surf the Net. I tell them we don’t have that here. This place is about connecting. And conversations. And people. Some leave. Most stay.” As we enter a period of intense economic disruption, it’s blindingly obvious that those businesses that take care of their customers are the ones that will survive and thrive. But don’t just do it because it’s smart for business. Do it because it’s one of the best ways I know of to improve the world.

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M A N TELL TEXT

Tomas Dalström

PHOTOS

Sara Appelgren

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In April this year, Ericsson Studio became the first European company to receive two awards from the Association of Briefing Program Managers (ABPM); the World Class Award for the best experience centre and an award for their environmental solutions. The citation from ABPM read: “Ericsson got us thinking in new and exciting ways about the nature of what makes a centre world class. Ericsson Studio is brilliant and … completely different.”

Creative Director Charlotta Mantell, one of the mainstays behind this achievement, has been on board since it all began as a tentative, small scale project. We asked her to sum up in one word how Ericsson Studio succeeded in bewitching visitors and the ABPM jury. She answered: storytelling. “Before we opened Ericsson Experience Center in 2003, my colleague Eliot Freed, a San Francisco architect, and I had both used storytelling as a central strategy. This was before storytelling had become a buzzword. We wanted to use the company’s history as a springboard

for starting conversation, something that would appeal to all the senses.” The first thing that strikes you as a visitor to Ericsson Studio is that it is imaginative, casual and unexpected. Can a large company at the forefront of technological progress do this kind of thing? Of course, creating something that visitors comment upon and which provokes conversation is nothing new. Well-to-do Victorian families laid conversation pieces on the dinner table for their guests to ponder over and talk about, a technique that Ericsson Studio exploits to the full. It’s not difficult to imagine visitors from Japan, Mexico and Sweden 2011 No. 08 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


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“Before we opened Ericsson Experience Center in 2003, [we] had both used storytelling as a central strategy … We wanted to use the company’s history as a springboard for starting conversation, something that would appeal to all the senses.”

beginning to converse on seeing old portraits of Lars Magnus Ericsson and his family, hearing birdsong, lighting lamps by pulling silky tassels or climbing a tower. “Previously it was important to differentiate between business-tobusiness and consumer marketing, but one should never lose sight of the fact that customers are people and it’s all about reaching out to them with your message.” Charlotta Mantell is a business administrator and has been a project manager at several advertising agencies. In 1998, she switched to Ericsson where she worked with events, and four years later she was assigned the task of building up Ericsson’s Demo Centre in Kista near Stockholm. The new studio rose from a rebranding process implemented by the company last year which saw it discard the dark blue in favour of a more colourful typeface. “Changing the name from centre to studio added a creative element. Our theatre and backstage concept MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 08 2011

lures guests into a creative process, a process which they see themselves as being an integral part of. “We strove to create a theatre; a ‘space to act.’ The word studio is also associated with the film world, so we built small stage sets where we go to describe our product portfolio. We can sit down with our visitors to discuss, record and illustrate our ideas. All the tables have glass tops that you can write on. “I regard podiums and PowerPoint presentations as being old hat. The studio concept is more unconstrained; you get closer to people and always have something to talk about.” For Charlotta Mantell the basic concept is to let their customers feel part of shaping the future, an illusion that begins as soon as they enter the building. “They enter through a door with ‘Entrée des artistes’ written on it to take part in a play entitled The Future. As they come through the door they’re met by music, text, images, videos and data code projected


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“They enter through a door with ‘Entrée des artistes’ written on it to take part in a play entitled The Future.”

onto the floor — multimedia with a touch of chaos. Here we have the opportunity to promote Ericsson as the world’s fifth largest software producer. “Professional speakers know that they only have a few seconds to capture the audience. Making the audience laugh or smile will get them through this initial barrier. We kept that in mind when designing the studio.” The cloakroom is clad in tapestry wallpaper with a portrait of founder Lars Magnus Ericsson. The walls are adorned with photographs of Ericsson and his family from the late 19th century. The toilets have different themes. Birdsong streams out of the loudspeakers and quotes are handwritten on the mirrors. “Many of our guests take photos before going home.” Behind the reception desk is a small exhibition that includes Ericsson’s first ever telephone and mobile phone. Recent awards are also on display.

“We allow customers to hold the objects to get a discussion going. We’ve also planted a tree of knowledge with a table and chairs around it. A wall of comments from previous visitors forms the backdrop. When there’s no room left to write, we photograph the comments then paint over them. The photos are on display in a folder on the table. “Seeing the company’s product portfolio leaves an impression on our visitors and is a great conversation starter. If they don’t already know that this is an innovative company, they soon find out after the first scenes of a play they participate in. “We guide them between our stage sets where we display our product portfolio. This gives us the chance to discuss the finer details and various advantages.” There is also something that could be likened to a modern forum theatre. Everything is white except the cushions, reflecting the new colourful company image. Discussions can continue in the lounge suites that are 2011 No. 08 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


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“We put together our green product portfolio in the beginning of 2007, which was earlier than most. The green corridor we created still fills me with pride. There were people who questioned it back then, asking: Who’s interested in our green message?”

fitted out with TV screens or in any of the seven meeting rooms that have names like Jari and Gail. “These are names of employees and customers. Our visitors can read a short piece about them. The meeting rooms all have different themes and offer an array of colours and surprises. One room, for example, has a table tennis board as a meeting table. Participants can even take a pre-match time out. There are wall bars for anybody who feels the need to limber up.” Ericsson Studio promotes the new age while embracing the ancient legacy of all human behaviour. Aristotle, who died in 322 BC, saw the potential of utilising the brain’s constant searching for familiar patterns. He systemised the art of rhetoric and played a large part in the creation of dramaturgy. Humans also developed the art of memorising narratives as a way of passing on knowledge before written language came into use. “Storytelling runs like a golden thread through everything we do. MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 08 2011

When we opened our first exhibition in 2003 we had access to a few corridors and rooms. We had a small budget so we had to be inventive. We reused furniture from offices in St. James Square and Telefonplan. There weren’t that many technical solutions back then so we had to use narratives to entice visitors. “We put together our green product portfolio in the beginning of 2007, which was earlier than most. The green corridor we created still fills me with pride. There were people who questioned it back then, asking: Who’s interested in our green message? “That same year, the studio team began producing the exhibition. They wanted to show visitors an end-to-end solution for a range of environments. We could show a solution in a desert or on a roof in Manhattan. It had sound effects as well and was very successful. We could go around with our visitors, pointing at details and talking about them at length.”

Charlotta Mantell reveals that they found it difficult to put across the core activity of the company. The mobile phones made them recognisable but now they were no longer Ericsson – they were Sony Ericsson, of which Ericsson owns half. “We came up with a clock showing that Ericsson installs a base station somewhere in the world every 150 seconds. A lot more people now know what Ericsson’s core activity is.” When the studio team grew out of their old premises they had the chance to reconstruct the exhibition in a new 1,500 metre square building. “The new exhibition is based on the old. The whole thing went at a furious pace; the pile driving began in March last year and the building opened in August. It went so well thanks to the confidence put in us by the management team and because we were a finely tuned unit with lengthy experience. We were also unorthodox in using one-man businesses: an industrial designer, a set


Carefully craft the links to develop your community just as an artist would craft a beautiful object. Choose the tools best suited to your objectives. Mobilise our international experience across key industry sectors. Commit totally to our clients. Champion innovation, yet remain true to your strategy. These are the beliefs that have today made us one of the key players within the field of Association, Communications and Event Management. Together, let’s build unified and dynamic communities around your brands, companies and institutions.

Learn more about our 47 offices in 23 countries worldwide on our website Contact us — MCI Headquarters Office

Rue de Lyon 75 — P.O. Box 502 — 1211 Genève 13 — Switzerland Phone +41 (0)22 33 99 500 — E-mail: hq@mci-group.com

www.mci-group.com


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“The exciting thing about our solution is that we can dismantle the hall and sell it on and have plenty of fixtures and fittings for the next hall that opens in 2012, just like we took things from our old premises. There’s value in the recognition factor and it shows that Ericsson does not have a throwaway mentality.” designer, an interior designer and an historian to do the writing. “Today I’m a creative director working with my favourite subject – creating new solutions. I no longer need to put a lot of energy into staff issues and budgets as I did previously.” After many ifs and buts, the company has merged its Event Department and Experience Department into one Marketing Department. “Experience marketing is what it’s all about today.” Charlotta Mantell says they are not allowed to reveal budgets, but the project has been very cost-effective. “The exciting thing about our solution is that we can dismantle the hall and sell it on and have plenty of fixtures and fittings for the next hall that opens in 2012, just like we took things from our old premises. There’s value in the recognition factor and it shows that Ericsson does not have a throwaway mentality.”

The studio is often visited by large Swedish companies who are keen to study their approach. “One of the customers, Telenor, has just built a new centre in Oslo and they have derived inspiration from Ericsson Studio on several occasions. “We will develop the studio in the future using 3D and animation. My vision is some sort of centre in all the regions in which we operate, depending on the budget. We’re also looking into how we can interact with and better utilise our research centre in Aachen.” The company’s latest message is: everything that can be connected will be connected. Charlotta Mantell says that this is easier said than done. It requires that they put their heads together with their customers, partners and others to find a suitable approach. “In Meetings International 7, Robin Teigland spoke of the growth of the online fashion and film industry. It’ll

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“Most experience centres I’ve visited look the same with fantastic displays, technology in abundance and good salespeople, but that’s nothing new. If Ericsson is to succeed as a brand it has to enter the unknown again.”

come to the boil and for us it’s about how we can help these sectors to connect and work in new ways. It’ll be a super fusion of everything possible and that’s where we’ll find a niche.” Ericsson Studio measures how their clients, that is to say account managers who bring their customers there, experience the centre and the service provided. They also speak to the customers. “We’ve received very positive feedback and have good customer references.” In a few days Charlotta Mantell is meeting a customer who is planning to build an experience centre. She will talk about the background to their success, summarising it as follows: 1. It’s a strong concept that ties in with our objective of inviting customers and letting them take part in creating the future with us (creating the network society). 2. Storytelling. It’s beginning to wear thin, but this is what it’s all about. The shortest route between two people is a good story. We’ve polished the details and they are there to carry the story forward, arouse curiosity and promote our message. MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 08 2011

3. Sustainability in all its dimensions is vital. We use wood constructions and heat our premises using excess heat from IT equipment. Sustainable design is important, not green design as such but sustainable, timeless, exciting furniture that you gladly take with you when you move. 4. Another success factor is in the utilisation of the five senses. We have birdsong in the foyer and toilets. This has worked perfectly and we’re continuing in this vein. We work with colours and shapes and unexpected elements like a real tree, for example, to catch the eye and provide a link to nature; everything to make people feel good and to help them make the correct associations. Smell is something I’d like to work more with. This is also very important. Then there’s the sense of touch. Here you can actually touch and squeeze everything. 5. The fifth success factor is the team who work here and those in reception, all passionate and service-minded people.

Before the interview ends and the ‘Entrée des artistes’ door shuts, Charlotta Mantell rounds off by saying: “Most experience centres I’ve visited look the same with fantastic displays, technology in abundance and good salespeople, but that’s nothing new. If Ericsson is to succeed as a brand it has to enter the unknown again. That’s what the jury liked and that’s what our visitors appreciate.”


Global Point

Exhibit in our large lounge in the middle of the exhibition hall. Book three hours for any day of the fair and meet your customers.

FuTURe

The cream of Scandinavia’s entrepreneurs in the hospitality sector will discuss where we are headed. Will you be on board?

Taste of TUR

A unique food and drink venue in the middle of the fair. Book stand space and invite your customers to experience a wealth of tastes.

www.tur.se

Deals

Come up with your very best offers. Invite visitors to your stand to buy them. We’ll spread the word via our channels.

WHERE ARE WE HEADED? The travel trade is growing at a tremendous pace. Everything is changing. And we are no exception. We are now launching several new features to make TUR 2012 an even better fair and an even more important tool for the trade. Welcome to some exciting days at the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre, Gothenburg, 21-25 March. Read more on www.tur.se.


66 | 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. twitter.com/thekellerman

CONSTANT CHANGE That everything is undergoing

constant change is nothing new, not even for those who think that social media controls everything and everybody. We seem to have a very short memory. That which didn’t exist five years ago could be the biggest thing now, only to be forgotten in five years time due to the changes we didn’t see coming. Our magazine has steadily progressed during the eight years it has been on the market. Four years ago we began an English version, thus giving us a whole world to cover, a world that finds itself in a state of constant change. Knowledge is constantly renewed and developed. We are also joining the International Meetings Review Network together with several other magazines. What this will lead to is difficult to say, and that which is common knowledge in a year’s time has probably not even been considered by us yet. But we always leave the door ajar. Parallel with this we are translating our two most popular books into English: Kick-start Your Work

MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 08 2011

Meeting by facilitators Maria Eliasson and Pia Villför Larsson, and Meeting Psychology by Dr. Hans Gordon. The books are fully in line with the changes brought about by meetings becoming more professional. The starting point in Gordon’s book is that if we don’t know who we are or why we are, how are we able to understand how other people are, and if we don’t know who we are and why we are who we are, how are we able to create good meetings? The recent Nordic Choice Hotels’ event Next Generation Meetings in Stockholm discussed taste, fragrance, colour and sensation as the basis for experiences. Experiences create meetings from which we take knowledge back to our daily lives, and this is of great significance for where we hold our meetings and how we develop the world. Next Generation Meetings is always present and is undergoing constant change.


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an an AllAll Inclusive Inclusive M.I.C.E. DestinationM.I.C. & More....

Göksu Mh. Gazi Blv. No:531, 07310, Antalya / TÜRK‹YE Göksu Mh. Gazi Blv. N Telefon : +90 (242) 314 38 06 - 07 • Fax : +90 (242) 314 37 23 Telefon : +90 (242) 314 www.antalyaconvention.org •antalya@antalyaconvention.org www.antalyaconvent

Göksu Mh. Gazi Blv. No:531, 07310, Antalya / TÜRK‹YE Göksu Mh. Gazi Blv. N Telefon : +90 (242) 314 38 06 - 07 • Fax : +90 (242) 314 37 23 Telefon : +90 (242) 314 www.antalyaconvention.org •antalya@antalyaconvention.org www.antalyaconvent


Profile for Meetings International

Meetings International #08, Nov 2011 (English)  

Meetings International #08, Nov 2011 (English)