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Bullet Points or No Bullet Points?


October 31, 2006

By Scott Schwertly

There was a comment from my last post that questioned the approach of using visuals with minimal text verses bullet points when giving a presentation. Thus, I wanted to take this opportunity to explain my reasoning for this style.

“Less is more.” These are the infamous words of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, a famous architect and advocate of simplicity. Presenters are like architects. We craft blueprints and then share our masterpieces with those in the audience. Every word, every slide, every handout needs to be closely inspected to match the laws of simplicity. If the content and design preparation are done right, the delivery will be memorable. It's a delicate balance of art and science where "less is truly more."

Whether you are a facilitator, trainer, or keynote speaker - people are coming to hear you speak, and not read the words behind you or in front of them in a handout. Here is an example of how slides should be done if you choose to use presentation software:

The Wrong Way
Wrong_1

On this slide you see the main header "Jack loves his Dog." This header is followed by three points: 1. Jack has a dog. 2. His dog's name is Petey. 3. Petey is a pug.

The Right Way
Right

On this slide you actually get to see "Petey" - the dog Jack loves. Do you see and feel the difference? Notice how the main point (Petey the pug) is given special focus. It becomes memorable and not buried amongst other points.

Slides should accent the speaker rather than control the speaker.

What Was That All About?


October 30, 2006


By Scott Schwertly

Have you ever asked yourself this question when walking away from a presentation?  Maybe you didn’t ask this question, but you caught yourself checking your watch every 10 seconds wondering when the agony was going to end.  Don’t worry.  You’re not the only one who feels this way.

As a meeting planner, make sure the next time you hire a “well-known speaker,” you get a return on your investment. When hearing a presentation, the audience is expecting to get something in return for their most precious asset – their time.  Unfortunately, too many speakers disappoint them.

Here are some “essentials” to ensure you are getting everything you expect from the presenter you hire:

• The speaker must have only three points – no more, no less
• The speaker must not use bullet points
• The speaker must have a beginning, middle, and end
• The speaker must preview and review his or her content
• The speaker must know his or her audience

I have wasted too many hours and minutes of my life listening to speakers who were aimless and unmemorable.  Public speaking is all about sharing knowledge to help others grow.  Help your audience walk away with something meaningful, and most importantly – something that is memorable and life changing.

Trade Shows: A task for sales, or marketing?


October 27, 2006

By Peter LoCascio

Sales and marketing people tend to have different personalities and, depending on management's philosophy, can either work together or challenge each other. The latter approach, though, often hampers efforts at successful trade-show exhibit participation.

Much of marketing’s personality is based on strategic thinking, and tasks often include market research, competitive analysis, product introduction, program development, and the design of communications and advertising campaigns. Marketing has more time to adjust its efforts to market trends, purchasing cycles, and various product issues. 

In contrast, a sales team’s performance is judged on an annual, quarterly, monthly, and weekly basis, creating an atmosphere of immediacy.

Simply stated, marketing people are usually strategic, long-term thinkers, while sales people are tactical , short-term thinkers who tend to be impatient with almost anything that fails to deliver immediate sales and help them make their numbers. So their approach to manning a trade-show booth is going to differ drastically from someone in marketing.

The challenge for many trade-show exhibit managers is to create a cooperative environment where the dynamics of tactical sales and strategic marketing personalities can complement each other in order to have trade-show  sales success.

Show Booths Don’t Lure Prospects—People Do


October 25, 2006

By Peter LoCascio

While most exhibitors understand the value of quality with regards to their trade show exhibit materials, some might do better at maximizing their effectiveness by more adequately focusing on important intangible entities, namely the personal connection.

First and foremost, in considering what constitutes a successful exhibit presentation, you must remember that people attend trade shows to do business with people—not with inanimate objects such as props, graphics, or sales literature.

The trade show environment is one for creating that opportunity for pleasant human contact. The exhibit merely creates an environment conducive for people to meet each other—the person in that booth must take things to the next level by drawing a prospect into the atmosphere the booth has created, and then engaging them in a way that piques interest and builds trust.

Think about it: What does the trade show attendee actually see when he or she approaches your exhibit? The perception could be similar to the difference between entering Tiffany’s or entering Wal-Mart. It all depends on the total picture you present, including your booth, your products, and your people.

If your most important trade show were a sporting event, it would likely be your own Super Bowl—a single three-day tournament under one roof.

The question is, are your people prepared to perform on that stage?

10 Ways Trade Show Exhibitors Can Help Themselves Justify the Expense


October 23, 2006

By Peter LoCascio

1. Timely planning. Trade show planning should be accomplished within a relaxed, well managed time frame.

2. Clear goals and objectives. There is little chance that an exhibitor will find success on the trade show floor without a plan backed by their management.

3. Sufficient exhibit space.  Having what is needed to effectively present product, process sales leads, and confer with prospects is critical.

4. Exhibit design and production. An exhibit needs to tell prospects who you are, where the products are, and who to talk to.

5. Top management support.  Top management must make a concerted effort at demonstrating a commitment to the exhibit function.

6. Exhibit personnel.  Top sales and technical people must be invited to represent the company at trade shows.

7. Dynamic product presentation. Exhibits cannot fall short in delivering prospects who are motivated to consider products displayed.

8. Prospect follow-up. Information requested by a prospect must be delivered within 5 working days of the show.

9. Experienced trade show exhibit management.  Trade shows demand dedicated, trained, and professional exhibit managers.

10. Conducting post-show evaluations. Post-show follow-up sessions are essential and should be staged within one week of the show.

Peter LoCascio, President, Trade Show Consultants has over 35 years of experience implementing trade show sales goals and reaching them.

www.tradeshowconsultants.com

The Industry’s Future: Risk Factors


October 19, 2006

From Joan Eisenstodt

Everything we do is risky.  After 9.11.01, many in our industry sat up and paid attention to risk factors we faced for meetings and facilities.  Time passed and we waited for the next crisis before we again paid attention.

The tsunami should have been a wake up call – it devastated an international center of tourism.  Hurricanes Katrina and Rita should have alerted our industry to things to come.  The wars and strife in too many countries should have made us more aware.  Watching tourism struggle in

Israel

and

Lebanon

should heighten our awareness.

In yesterday’s post, I wrote about the water shortages in

India

and in a post on the MiForum List, I wrote about the impending water shortages in

Las Vegas

.   Currently in

Dallas

there are water restrictions for hotels.  Is it likely that many planners ask about water supplies or read newspapers local to the destinations to which they take meetings to become aware of situations?  Could your meeting survive without water or on water restrictions?

We have seen a blackout on the East Coast of the

United States

and

Canada

and yet I imagine few planners ask facilities about back up generators. 

We continue to do things the same way we’ve always done them without enough thought to ‘what next’ could hit and disrupt meetings, tourism, and travel. 

In a study done by the American Highway Users Alliance and widely reported in the press, we saw the number of cities that have inadequate methods to evacuate in the event of a catastrophe.  Are you planning your meetings with an eye to the cities that are reported to be safer?  (Report available at http://www.highways.org/pdfs/evacuation_report_card2006.pdf )  I bet not.  It’s still about almost everything except safety.

What will we face in the coming years?  Who is preparing and how for possible contingencies?  Did the ‘spinach scare’ frighten you or did you just figure your meeting would not serve spinach and not question what else might be contaminated?  Have you considered how, if a terrorist attack, hurricane, tornado, major snow or ice storm occurs, how you will ensure the safety of those in attendance at a meeting or en route to a destination? If there is an outbreak of food poisoning or other medical emergency for more than a few people – residents or those at a meeting – what facilities will be available to protect and heal those in attendance? 

What future crises will we have to anticipate and manage?  If we were not prepared before how can we expect to be prepared in the future?

This takes us full circle to the first posts this week in looking at the ability to anticipate, think and be curious about what is around us and what is to come. 

Actions you can take:

1)      Read more.  Start with “A Whole New Mind” by Dan Pink.  Then join The World Future Society (www.wfs.org) and keep up with bigger trends.  Read “Hospitality 2010” and begin to comprehend the larger world in which we live and how it impacts what we do.

2)      Take nothing for granted.  Question everything including the properties with whom you’ve worked in the past.  Suppliers – ask the planners what they are doing to protect the meeting participants and how your facility can integrate its contingency/emergency plans in with those of the group.

3)      Demand better education.  Our industry can do more to provide education that will expand our thinking and prepare us for the future.  We can make that happen. 

The Industry’s Future: Trends and Conditions Impacting Our Industry


October 18, 2006

By the always reading Joan Eisenstodt

What have you read this week that opened your eyes to future trends and conditions impacting our industry?

On October 17, it is said the population of the United States reached 300 million.  This may or may not be accurate since I read that the US territories like Puerto Rico were not counted.  We thus might be well over 300M.  Regardless of numbers, the populations of all countries are changing rapidly.  In a global society where people move about more easily, we are seeing greater diversity in who lives where.

Who will attend meetings in the future?  Who will work in our industry?  What will the jobs look like?  What populations will be dominant in what countries?  If the “baby bust” continues as it is in many countries (except France– read www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7935921/site/newsweek/ ) who will fill the jobs currently being vacated by the Baby Boomers? How will hotels and other facilities be designed to meet the needs of aging populations? of diverse religions? of a different gender mix at meetings and in the work force?

“Hospitality 2010: The Future of Hospitality and Travel”, by Marvin Cetron et al (which can be purchased at amazon.com - http://www.amazon.com/Hospitality-2010-Future-Travel/dp/0131475797 ) looks at the trends impacting our industry’s future.  In addition, a white paper with the same title and interesting content, co-authored by Dr. Laila Rach at NYU’s Tisch School, can be found at http://www.nyu.edu/public.affairs/releases/detail/1116.  In the 23 October 2006 issue of The New Yorker is an article entitled “The Last Drop: Confronting the possibility of a global catastrophe” about water usage and the current shortage in many countries and specifically in India.  (An interview with the author can be found at http://www.newyorker.com/online/content/articles/061023on_onlineonly02 )

While in Dallas last week on business, I read that water use has been curtailed.  This included asking hotels to only serve water on request and cut back on any use to water lawns or to do laundry.  How long will it take before cities like Las Vegas– already facing a shortage in 2002 before more people moved in to take the jobs at the increasing number of hotels (http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2002/Jun-23-Sun-2002/news/19020549.html ) - curtail the use of water for residents and hotels?  How will we manage our meetings and serve guests when there is no water?

This week I’m in Detroit and looking at the buildings occupied by the car manufacturers that helped create a different US that had an impact on travel and tourism.  In the 23 October Business Week is an article about the impact of a change in what cars are manufactured on the rental car industry and the prices we pay to rent cars.  (http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_43/b4006072.htm?chan=search )  If there are fewer rental cars and the prices are much higher, what will the impact be on meetings?

Terri Hardin wrote, on 18 October’s MiMegaSite Soap Box about the Frankfurt Book Fair.  In her last line, she asked “Hey, what was the last book YOU read?” http://www.misoapbox.com/2006/10/alive_reading.html I wonder what was the last anything you read – in print or on line – that gave you a clue about the industry’s future?

If you follow the trends, you’ll be more aware and thus smarter about how you work.  Go read something now.

The Industry's Future: Using the Right Hemisphere of Your Brain


October 18, 2006

From Joan Eisenstodt - a confirmed "Right-Brainer"

“Today the defining skills of the previous era – the ‘left brain’ capabilities that powered the Information Age – are necessary but no longer sufficient.  And the capabilities we once disdained or thought frivolous – the ‘right brain’ qualities of inventiveness, empathy, joyfulness and meaning – increasingly will determine who flourishes and who flounders.”

Dan Pink, quoted above from his “must read” book, “A Whole New Mind”, writes that right-brainers will rule the world.  As a right-brainer who sees patterns and broad concepts, appreciates and encourages play and joyfulness, and, other than writing contracts, hates details, I concur.  And yet, in the world of meeting planning – and even in the broader hospitality field - I wonder how correct that it is and how well our industry will adapt especially when the current talk is about ‘getting a seat at the table’ and being strategic. 

When conducting training for meeting professionals and consulting with organizations about the content of their meetings and about the make up of their meetings departments, I see many who are perfectly content to be tactical. That is, doing meeting logistics is comfortable and it is a necessary component of the work we do. 

In the supplier community, especially among those who work in facilities (hotels, convention centers, and conference centers) I see little interest in exploring the creative side of meetings.  Even among convention and conferences services staff, I see little creativity beyond thinking in terms of food and beverage to expand creatively. Room sets have changed little in the 30+ years I’ve been in this industry.  Not much is done to enhance the atmosphere in which we learn and participate.

So if we are a field that is comfortable in the tactical, who will blend left and right brain skills?  How will our industry begin to change to see the need for more creativity outside the fabulous table settings, ice carvings, room décor and fabulous desserts?

Here’s what I want you to do (adapted from Dan Pink’s book):  Write a story in 50 or fewer words describing your job and its components.   Done?  If you’ve written on the computer, save it.  If by hand, turn it face down and let it rest. Now if you have a ball handy – or any small object – toss it gently from one hand to the other.  Do it for a few (at least 2) minutes.  Just sit back and do this.  Take more than 2 minutes if you prefer.  After you’ve done that, go to http://www.permadi.com/java/spaint/spaint.html and create for a few minutes.  Catch yourself smiling as you see the colors and patterns.  Enjoy the experience. Now, write about your job– tell a story that starts “once upon a time” and goes on for up to 100 words. 

What difference do you see? Were you able to allow your right brain to engage and find a way to make the words flow differently? Or did you find yourself stuck in your left hemisphere and unable to get creative?

What Pink writes is about the law and medical schools that are taking students out of the classroom to art museums and to companies like IDEO to see and experience differently, to hone their observation skills and their empathy.  When are we doing to do this? When will we even have more facilities with great art on the walls or places to play?  (Kudos to those who have done so – especially to the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, the Summit Executive Center in Chicago and others who get it.  You are too few in environments that do not stimulate us.)  When will industry associations move us to think differently about what we do?

I am convinced it’s not so much a seat at the table and rather it is a brain at the ready to see and present things differently.

Read “A Whole New Mind” and open up your brain to its right side. You’ll be amazed at the changes you’ll experience and bring to your work and life. Note: For promoting Dan Pink’s book here and elsewhere, I get nakhes – a Yiddish word for pleasure – and bubkes (nothing) in remuneration.  It’s nice to expand the brains of others.

The Industry's Future: Core Competencies


October 15, 2006


Joan Eisenstodt

On the way to a funeral in Ohio this weekend, after a week at MPI’s Institutes where I taught and learned from many new to our industry, I read an opinion piece in the October 16 issue of Newsweek entitled “I Think, Therefore I Am Misunderstood” written by Erik Wielenberg, a philosopher and professor of philosophy.

 

For those who have been on the MIMList/MiForum list and attended classes I’ve taught, my attraction to this opinion piece will be easily understood – I believe in questioning.

 

Erik Wielenberg said, as he wrote about how he answered those who wanted to know what he “did” (not unlike those of us who plan meetings and “sell hotels” being asked what we do!), “What I do, in a nutshell, is this: I find a question or a puzzle that interests me.  I try to figure out a solution, usually reading what others have had to say about it along the way.  If I come up with anything good, I write it down and see if anyone is interested in publishing it.” 

First let me tie in why I mentioned the funeral.  My uncle, the last of the siblings of my mother’s family, died at 91.  My parents died some years ago – Dad in 1987 and Mom in 2002 – and my other aunt and uncle some years back.  There are now just the surviving cousins who range in age from early 50s to early 70s and their children and grandchildren.  We cousins were always at the “kiddie table” when our family had gatherings.  All of a sudden, with the death of the last of our parents’ generation, we are the grown ups.  It’s not that we haven’t led incredibly productive lives and didn’t consider ourselves grown up; it’s that there are no more ‘parents’ to guide us.

This lead me to consider our industry and who has come before us and who will come after and to wonder what the core competencies would be for now and the future.   It lead me to wonder who would guide the next generation in the hospitality industry.

I admire futurists – those who study the past, study trends, and predict what will happen.  If you’ve not read “Hospitality 2010”, I highly recommend it – for a look at the near future and the trends that will impact our industry.

That said, I am not a “futurist” – I don’t intend to predict, here, now or later, what I see as our industry’s future. Rather this week, as I have done for years and intend to do for many more, I will ask questions, make comments, interject observations and suggest reading, to allow each of us to think more broadly about how each of us will grow and impact our own lives, our lives in this industry, and our industry.

Thus, as I reflect on our industry, I wonder when a generation of those who were at the forefront – people like Howard Feiertag – and those of us who were next – are gone, who will lead the way?  What will guide us – or you who are left – to greatness and to make our industry even more dynamic than it’s been? Who will create the communities of the future? Who will question the policies, procedures and practices? What will become of our industry as the world rapidly changes?

On the MIM/MiForum list, we see questions all the time about how to do something, where to find resources, and about our opinions on places and vendors.  Some think those who ask first without doing their own research are lazy. Sometimes I agree and yet, I understand that we have, now, unlike when I first began in the industry, ready-made sources for information.  We always had a network of those to call; we simply access it differently now.

How does this relate to a core competency – the ability to deduce information from what one is given and to ask insightful questions – to the future?  When we who have supplied the answers from our years of experience are gone, how will others learn to puzzle out the answers – or even the additional questions – with no one to ask?  Will they – you – be able to ask the questions because of a deeper understanding of an industry’s history or a general curiosity?  And for today, how will you – we – be able to puzzle out a situation, say, on site, when there is no one to ask?  How will your critical thinking skills be amassed now to use later?

I have no answers though imagine that some of you might.  Shall we “tawk amongst ourselves” to puzzle through this?

TSA Screening Procedures for Private Flights


October 12, 2006

By Greg Raiff


The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has changed security screening procedures for airports, by monitoring carry-on liquids and gels aboard all Commercial Airline flights. With a few exceptions, passengers are only allowed to carry on travel-sized toiletries of three ounces or less, if they are contained in one quart-sized clear plastic zip-top bag past the screening checkpoint or on-board a Commercial Airline.

When flying privately,  each trip is designed to be as convenient as possible while implementing the highest security standards set by TSA for Private Charter flights.  Chartered aircraft are flown when applicable from one private terminal/FBO to another where TSA screening requirements and procedures are designed for specificly for privately chartered flights, depending on the departing/arriving private aviation facility. Below is a list of personal items TSA is currently monitoring on scheduled Commerical Airline flights vs. a Single Entity Private Charter leaving flying from a FBO to FBO.

Commercial Airliners Vs. A Single Entity

Private Charter Flying from FBO to FBO

Carry-On Rules & Regulations

Carry-On Items

Commercial

Private*

Aerosol spray bottles and cans greater than 3 oz.**

No Yes

All creams and lotions including Neosporin or first-aid creams and ointments, topical or rash creams and ointments, suntan lotions, moisturizers, etc.

greater than 3 oz.**

No Yes

Bubble bath balls, bath oils or moisturizers

greater than 3 oz.**

No Yes
Bug and mosquito sprays and repellents No Yes

Deodorants made of gel or aerosol

greater than 3 oz.**

No Yes
Eye drops - passengers allowed to carry up to 4 oz. of eye drops. Volumes greater than 4 oz., are only permitted in checked baggage. No Yes

Gel-filled bras and similar prosthetics - Gel-filled bras may be worn through security screening and aboard aircraft.

Yes

Yes

Hair styling gels and spray of all kinds including aerosol greater than

3 oz.**

No Yes
Hair straightener or detangler greater than 3 oz.** No Yes

Lip gels such as Carmex or Blistex greater than 3 oz.**

No Yes

Liquid lip glosses or other liquids for lips

greater than 3 oz.**

No

Yes

Liquid bubble bath including gel or liquid filled

greater than 3 oz.**

No

Yes

Liquid foundations

greater than 3 oz.**

No

Yes

Liquid, gel or spray perfumes and colognes

greater than 3 oz.**

No

Yes

Liquid sanitizers

greater than 3 oz.**

No

Yes

Liquid soaps

greater than 3 oz.**

No

Yes

Liquid mascara

greater than 3 oz.**

No

Yes

Make up removers or facial cleansers

greater than 3 oz.**

No

Yes

Mouthwash greater than 3 oz.**

No

Yes

Nail polish and removers

greater than 3 oz.**

No

Yes

Non-prescription liquid or gel medicines like cough syrup and gel cap type pills - Up to 4 oz. of essential non-prescription liquid medications.

Yes

Yes

Personal lubricants - Up to 4 oz. Yes Yes

Saline solution - You are allowed to carry up to 4 oz., of eye drops with you. Volumes greater than 4 oz., are only permitted in checked baggage.

No

Yes

Shampoos and conditioners

greater than 3 oz.**

No

Yes

Toothpaste

greater than 3 oz.**

No

Yes

** Travelers are allowed to carry travel-sized toiletries of 3 oz. or less IF the items are contained in one quart-sized, clear plastic zip-top bag.   

*Single entity private charter flying from FBO to FBO.

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