Keith Patrick Working with CSM's

A bit of frustration

October 05, 2006

I missed yesterday. I am frustrated both at myself and at the pace necessary to perform in today's world in our industry.  Where did the day go.  It was 6 pm before I realized it and as I set at my desk, nothing creative came to me.  So I went home.

I am not used to "giving up". I am not used to not performing.  I am frustrated.

So I had an opportunity to think a bit on the 27 minute drive to work this morning.  Why did I not perform? Why did I lose my creativity?

These are my thoughts.

I recently read an article about people who think they have Alzheimers. The author had data that suggested that many people who think they have Alzheimers actually only have information overload. Information overload can cause confusion and forgetfullness.

Obviously if one ages, enjoys change, and continues to learn, they continue to pack in information. It appears that the more information, the more difficult to sort, process, recall, etc.

Those of us looking for excuses for "senior moments" find comfort in this theory.

As I am typing, I find evidence of my brain rushing.  I am typing letters at the end of a word that belong at the begining of the next word. I am typing letters twice.  I think these are examples of "overload".

But among my thoughts as I drove were those focusing on my recent experience of reviewing applications for the CMP exam. The process for evaluating applications includes a second and even third look at applications that are rejected.  As a CMP board member representing ACOM, I have the opportunity to review rejects. What a learning opportunity.

I found applications that had words misspelled. I found calculations of numbers that were not correct. I found lack of backup proof of claims of education and continuing education. I found lies.Based upon the work experience of the indivudals, I can assume they are young people.

I have to ask, what exists in these individuals lives that would cause them to forget to include documentation, to not correct math errors, to not catch typing errors? Is it overload? Has technology allowed them to have access to so much information that they have reached a point similar to where I am in my recall, forgetfullness, and making errors? At their age?

Anyone have the answers?


October 03, 2006

By Keith Patrick

Yesterday I talked about change and its impact on me by questioning have I been around too long. The final answer is that as long as we change and as long as we enjoy change, we have not been around too long and can continue to "be around".

Today I am pondering the impact of change on relationships.

Our industry has been successful partially because of the relationships that are formed over doing business, working together in professional associations, taking on industry projects, or simply getting to know one another at industry events.

While working in Anaheim, I had the opportunity to meet and form relationships with individuals who had helped build Anaheim into a destination.  They either worked for Disney or the CVB. They in turn involved me and introduced me to associations that allowed me to form additional relationships.  I had a tremendous support group across the street and around the nation. Ideas flowed, business was booked, and successful events were held.

As my career took me back and forth across the USA, those relationships held and the support group grew in numbers and strength.  But as is the case with most things, time erased much of this group either through retirement or death.  Much of the continuity of the group was based upon face to face conversation, telephone conversations or working together.

Today the fast pace of e-mail has taken away some of the opportunity for looking at one another or hearing one another's voices. We still do business with others, we see others at professional meetings and we work with others on industry projects, but in each case, the relationship is less personal, I think, because we do not have that eye contact and/or that voice recognition.

People younger then I are very comfortable with text messaging and other forms of communication that do not offer eye contact or voice recognition.  More power to them as I think they have increased efficiencies, allowed for change (remember that is a good thing), and made our world even more small.

But I wonder about the relationships.  Perhaps they are there.....would love to hear comments back about this from those who believe so......and still possible for those of us who need to increase our skills in communicating in "the new ways".  Perhaps they are not.

And if they are not, what does that mean for our industry?

Will individuals attend professional events and text message each other "across a crowded room"? Will they stay in their hotel rooms and send e-mails to each other even tho under the same roof? I think not.  I think they will be at the reception and at the general session, but I do wonder if the familiarity will be impacted to the point that the handshake/hug/kiss on the cheek or mouth will not come as natural as it used to.

Have I been around too long?

October 02, 2006

By Keith Patrick

It seems to me that almost everything has changed about my job.  I have been a Director of Convention Ser vices for 28 years in 9 different properties in 7 states.  When I started, we typed our resumes and BEOs.  It has been, as they say, a "grand ride".

But things have changed and so I am thinking perhaps I have been around too long.  Not long enough to retire, but long enough that I do not understand some things about my current "job".

For example:  Why I am supposed to return prepared BEOs to my clients at least two weeks prior to their arrival on property, but I don't receive the information for those BEOs until a few days before that two week out date? Why do so many details change after I send the BEOs to the client?  Why does the billing change for so many guests after they check in? Why is so much audio visual equipment ordered "on the spot" moments prior to a meeting. Why do references on a credit check not "check out"? Why does my client appear at a pre convention meeting late and dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt? Why does this bother me?

Obviously I remember the "good old days" when a three ring binder (remember them) would appear in the mail with daily sheets that included all requirements for each event and it would appear a month prior to arrival of the group.  I remember credit being approved prior to the contract being signed and not changing even if the contract was several years out. I remember preconvention meetings where the client and staff would arrive early dressed in business suits.

What I perhaps, choose to forget is that I had to prepare all paperwork on a typewriter, often working into the night longer then I do now.  I forget being on the floor from 6 am till 10 pm as we had not yet discovered the meeting services concierge. I forget mailing BEOs instead of scanning them and sending them via e-mail.

We are in the world of instant. I can communicate with you and send you items instantly. I can change things instantly and communicate them without running to the fax machine.

And that world has changed its occupants and their expectations.

I remember final night events at major industry conventions that included a dinner dance with each course being served after an "intermission" allowing us to dance.  Often dessert was served at 11 pm or later.  Now those final night events are likely to be stand up receptions including heavy food and contemporary recording artists that keep the crowd "jumping".

I remember entertaining prospective clients over 3 hour dining experiences in gourmet restaurants.  Now that entertaining is probably at a concert or athletic event.

Because our client expectations have changed, we have been allowed to experience many new aspects of "our job". And those aspects, even tho markedly different from the past, have kept my "job" interesting and challenging.  And I think those aspects and our clients have kept me young.

So as I think about what I have just shared with you, I guess I am happy that things have changed and that allows me to say to myself, as long as things keep changing, I want to stay around and that I have not been around too long.

A special friend gave me a small plaque that hangs above my desk that says "Enjoy Change".  I guess she realized the benefits of change long before I did.  Thank you special friend.

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