Where Would We Be Without Meetings and Events?

by Ed Graziano, Corporate Event Interactive
We all know the meetings and events industry has taken some hits with the economy’s downturn and there are so many cost cutting measures companies are taking. With this in mind, I ask – where would companies be without meetings and events? What would it be like in a world…

1. Without annual meetings –
When you are a part of a family, what are your best memories? Are they emailing notes to your siblings? Texting your children? Or chatting on the phone? Those may be the favorite memories for some, but for most of us our best memories are the great family vacations or the holiday celebrations at grandma’s house.  And while there are different dynamics between work and family life, I expect that for many people workmates are a second family. From my experience, the goal of many companies is to create a positive, family style environment so their employees are more productive.  If coworkers are a second family, do you really want their best memory with your company to be an end of the year webinar updating them on the year’s highlights and future forecasts?

2. Without client hospitality events –
Clients are of course the lifeblood of any business. While thank you calls, office visits and occasional special offers are nice, isn’t the ability to host an event or outing with top clients even that much better? A chance to give your client’s an experience that is extra special? Something they will remember and appreciated more than 10% off their next order or the obligatory “thank you for your business” phone call?

3. Without incentive trips –
Yes money is an incentive to team members who overachieve, but so is being involved with a “once in a lifetime” experience with your peers. Admittedly I have never worked for a large company, but I have a hunch if I did I would be much more inclined to form bonds with coworkers relating stories about adventures from my incentive trip rather than comparing pay stubs from our bonus checks.

4. Without product launches –
We live in a fast paced world where we are inundated with hundreds upon hundreds of messages each day. It occurs to me that if companies did not host events associated around their new product launches, how would their message create traction with their customers? Isn’t the best way to create a buzz to have your customers touch, hold, feel and experience your product or service? Can they have this experience with your product when all they see are images on television or the Internet? Maybe in a world without meetings and events  video outlets and other traditional media will once again become the only way to promote new products and services

5. Without trade shows –
Similar to product launches, trade shows provide the opportunity for companies to let customers “experience” their products and services. But just as importantly, trade shows offer the unique opportunity to learn what is new and different in your industry and to see what competitors are offering.  While virtual trade shows have value, the real value from the trade show experience comes from that person-to-person interaction.  Can you really fully comprehend the benefits of a new tech devise without trying it out? Wouldn’t innovation suffer if there was not an annual show where companies tried to one-up their competition with that newest and best gadget, or new wrinkle to their service?

6. Without employee celebrations –
Employee celebrations are probably the most vulnerable to being cut in this down economy of all the meetings and events listed above. Why celebrate a department’s successes and finished projects when the costs might hurt the company’s bottom line? Or be politically correct when others have been let go of their jobs? But isn’t it human nature to celebrate after a big win, or an important anniversary? Or to enjoy some refreshments with friends or family after a big task is completed? Yes, people do like to celebrate accomplishments and special occasions and, speaking from many years of experience, can find themselves going stir-crazy, whether at home or at work, without the ability to do so.
These are my thoughts on what it would be like without meetings and events. I am sure you have other thoughts, examples and stories as well so please take a moment to share them!