The internet is a rich resource for meeting planners. Want to avoid triggering food allergies as you design menus for your next convention, learn about new tech tools or read more about how crowdsourcing can enrich meeting content? There are websites and blogs for all that and more. Here are some great meetings industry sites that should be on every planner’s reading list.
Everyone Eats: Whetting Appetites for Inclusive Meals
Tracy Stuckrath of Thrive Meetings and Events — thrivemeetings.com — started her business 10 years ago “to make sure everyone with dietary needs had something to eat when they attended events.” In her newsletter and blog, she explores issues that might otherwise go ignored, like how nuts show up in unexpected places like wine that’s been aged in nut barrels or liqueurs with nut flavor enhancers. In her Drynuary post at the top of 2020, Stuckrath points out that even though alcohol is considered somewhat or very important to some three-quarters of meeting planners in a recent survey, more thought needs to be given to those who don’t drink or who might be battling dependency issues. She shares links to a previous post about how to make beverages more inclusive. Stuckrath has big plans for this year; she is launching a podcast and a weekly video Q&A, and she just revamped her website.
Tech Talk: Gurus Dig in to Innovations
Corbin Ball — corbinball.com — published the last issue of his popular Tech Talk newsletter in the fall, but the rest of his business — a website, articles and speaking engagements — goes on. Ball was the original meeting and events tech guru; he started his company back in 1997. Many posts on his website are written by guest experts, and they include topics like “2019 Trade Show Trends That Exhibitors Need to Be Following to Maximize Customer Engagement,” or “Eight Effective Ways to Promote Your Event on Facebook.”
A writer who is newer to the meeting tech scene, Michelle Bruno, says her articles are unbiased, no-spin reviews of products. In one recent article posted on her site, eventtechbrief.com, Bruno explained how smart badges take the work out of networking by sending out visual signals so that people can quickly identify the people with whom they want to connect in a crowd. As they talk face to face, their badges are still at work, electronically exchanging contact information for lead tracking. Bruno also writes about event technology on her blog, Fork in the Road.
Going Greener: Sustainability in the Spotlight
Growing awareness of climate change issues will no doubt put a greater emphasis on sustainable meetings in coming years. For information about green meetings, there’s no better source than Meet Green — meetgreen.com. Meet Green works with organizations to integrate sustainable practices into their conventions and meetings. In addition to blog posts about sustainable holiday practices or ways that being more sustainable saves money, the blog includes a monthly MeetGreenChat where meeting professionals discuss how they’re planning more sustainable dinners or how weather issues tied to climate change have affected their meetings and events.
The Events Industry Council’s website also has a selection of articles and resources on sustainability — insights.eventscouncil.org/sustainability — including a how-to guide on shrinking an event’s carbon footprint.
Broad Strokes: All-Around Experts Offer Advice
Adrian Segar just hit the decade mark on his blog and business. He’s well known for his Conferences That Work blog, inspired by his book of the same name. Nearly every list of top meetings industry bloggers includes Segar. He writes about planning events that are relevant and memorable — not easy to accomplish, but Segar is generous with ideas and strategies. His blog topics are a mix: In one, he explores how to get science conferences out of their antiquated ways; another points to the importance of event crowdsourcing.
Velvet Chainsaw — velvetchainsaw.com — is another site that offers good, general guidance. The consulting firm says it is out to raise the bar on face-to-face meetings, and its blogs, written by managing director Dave Lutz, cover a lot of evergreen issues. In the recent article “Top Tips for Preparing Speakers,” Lutz discusses how to use calls with speakers to delve deeper into expectations in terms of their presentation’s focus and purpose and ways to make their content more relevant and engaging for your audience.
Alphabet Soup: Industry Associations Cover the Bases
Blogs and articles delivered by two major organizations for meeting professionals are worth checking out.
Meeting Professionals International (MPI) posts a blog at its main site as well as at planyourmeetings.com, an MPI effort to help support those who inadvertently land in meeting-planning roles. Although a lot of the content there is aimed at planning, such as “Five Common Event Planning Mistakes” or “15 Great Entertainment Ideas for Corporate Events,” a good number deal with personal development and workplace issues, like identifying the signs you are a workaholic or when to ask for a raise.
PCMA’s News Junkie aggregates meetings news from around the country and world, like an NBC News story about tech innovations at the Consumer Electronics Show or “Seven Hotel Trends” from hospitalitynet.org. PCMA also has downloadable industry reports, many done in partnership with hospitality giants like Marriott and Hilton. These reports look at issues like room blocks, struggling trade shows, the future of meetings and salary issues facing event planners.