By Jan Tolle MacDonald, CMP, CMM
Another day of great sessions!
I attended my first SIG (Special Interest Group) session and the topic was “international meetings.” The SIG was such an excellent experience, I wish I would have gone to more. Why? This format is very open and information is exchanged freely between both planners and suppliers. It’s a small group lead by a moderator. Each attendee introduces themselves and exchanges business cards.
I had the opportunity to meet with other Tourism Boards operating outside of North America. We discussed various overseas travel issues like translation services, attendee registrations concerns and a lot of challenges that planners experience. I learned how I can better approach selling meetings in Alberta to international (American) groups. Representing a Canadian destination, it was interesting to learn how much easier it is to do business in my country than in other international destinations. We don’t have the same visa issues, nor are there language or cultural barriers.
I also learned many North American associations are grappling with shrinking memberships due to what they call the “economic 9/11”. As a result, the best way American associations can grow is by establishing chapters throughout the world. Eventually, this means their meetings will go to international destinations. (And I may be biased, but I think Canada is an excellent way to ease into a first-time international conference!)
I also attended:
- “Listen Up – Your Focus is costing you,” presented by Margie Thomas, M.A.T. Consulting. I learned:
- When listening, ensure you understand if the person is seeking a solution or wanting to vent.
- Listening is good business; making one bad mistake a day can be costly.
- Listening effectively gives clarity of understanding; it is just not agreeing.
- Understand the definition of hearing (means your ears work) vs. understanding (understand what is being said)
Yesterday’s sessions were great for networking and chatting with clients who I had either met on the previous day or who had attended our Travel Alberta client event. It was such a productive day, it left me little time to write this blog!
Jan Tolle MacDonald, CMP, CMM, is the regional manager, Midwest MC&IT, for Travel Alberta. This is her first time attending the Professional Convention Management Association convention, and will be blogging about her experiences for the duration of the event.