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Meeting Productivity

Meeting experts will tell you that the expectations of both meeting attendees and their bosses have been ramped up as of late. The economic challenges of the past few years have caused that to happen.

“It’s no longer simply enough to plan a well-executed and logistically sound meeting,” said Sue Tinnish, dean of the School of Hospitality Management at Kendall College in Chicago. “There are heightened expectations for participants and all stakeholders of meetings that require meeting planners to do more and to accomplish more in those meetings.”

Tinnish will be a seminar speaker at the fifth annual Small Market Meetings Conference, September 28-30, in Mesa, Arizona.

Even though organizations may be responsible for content, “meeting planners, in my opinion, should have expertise in how to make the meeting content the most palatable it can be for the audience,” said Tinnish. “To do that, planners should understand how to package content. That is where expectations are going up.”

Tinnish has a growing presence in the hospitality and meetings industry. Upon her appointment as a dean at Kendall College in 2013, college president Emily Williams Knight said she looked forward to working with Tinnish “to continue to build a hospitality program that is recognized for its strength not only in Chicago, but throughout the United States and around the world.”

Tinnish earned a Ph.D. in organizational development from Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois; an M.B.A. in finance and marketing from the Booth School at the University of Chicago; and a B.S. in communication studies from Northwestern University.

Asked what she will bring to attendees of the Small Market Meetings Conference, Tinnish said, “The bar for meeting planning will continue to be raised, and I plan to share insights and ideas that have a practical focus for meeting planners and will allow them to evolve professionally.”

Another idea Tinnish wants to drive home to meeting attendees is a central focus in the book “Teaching Naked,” by Jose Bowen. The book stresses that colleges must offer better information than what’s already online and must maximize “naked” or face-to-face contact between faculty and students.  Tinnish uses PowerPoint as an example of technology’s limitations.

“It becomes a nasty crutch,” said Tinnish. “The book stresses that you can still have a really engaging classroom without so much technology. The same for meetings; you can also have engaging meetings with or without technology. It’s about how to have high-impact meetings.”

Tinnish has been a frequent guest speaker throughout the meetings and events arena. She has spoken at both national and international meetings for such groups as Meeting Professionals International, the Professional Convention Management Association and the Hospitality Sales Management Association International.