Watch and Learn
I have a confession. For the past few weeks, I’ve watched way too much television. I squarely blame the Republican National Convention, which took place in Tampa, Fla., followed by the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. I tuned in every night, watching speech after speech, listening to personal success stories and narratives about overcoming adversity. I watched intently, judging the speakers on how they handled applause lines, the teleprompter and—in one case anyway—props (the chair seen ‘round the world).
The conventions, particularly the speeches, were meeting planner eye candy. If you didn’t watch, you missed out. You missed a valuable educational opportunity, seeing how event organizers restructured the four-day RNC into a three-day event because of Hurricane Isaac and moved President Obama’s DNC acceptance speech to an indoor facility because of the threat of bad weather. You missed excellent auditions by potential speakers for your own events. You missed the pundits who—like your attendees—squawked and debated for hours after speakers left the stage about their effectiveness and deliveries.
And if you didn’t watch the conventions or follow coverage of the events by newspapers and other news outlets, you missed out on your opportunity to take part in a very important civic responsibility. We talk a lot in the industry about being an advocate for meetings, travel and tourism, and the events industry took center stage this week. Take a bipartisan approach to convention politics, and work together as an industry to promote the importance of meetings. Share news about the economic impact felt in Tampa and Charlotte. Make the case to your city leaders about the press coverage that events can create in your destinations. And be an active participant in the political process in your city, state and country to make sure the industry’s voice is being heard.