In­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tion

Peter Gray, an in­de­pen­dent Mo­ti­va­tion Con­sul­tant, presents a reg­u­lar Busi­ness Events News fea­ture on cur­rent is­sues in the Con­fer­ence and In­cen­tive in­dus­tries.

Business Events News - - News -

WHAT do you ex­pect when you en­gage the ser­vices of a ‘pro­fes­sional’?

Ac­cord­ing to Wikipedia “...the term... de­scribes the stan­dards of ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing that pre­pare mem­bers of the pro­fes­sion with the par­tic­u­lar knowl­edge and skills nec­es­sary to per­form their spe­cific role within that pro­fes­sion”.

So, how would you feel if, hav­ing ap­pointed a ‘pro­fes­sional’ con­fer­ence or­gan­iser (PCO), you saw in so­cial me­dia a mes­sage from the PCO you’d just en­gaged: “Hello, I’m a new Corp. Event Co­or­di­na­tor. I wanted to know if any­one has a tem­plate check list I can work from to get me started?”

Not im­pressed, I would have thought. And yet such ap­peals ap­pear reg­u­larly on LinkedIn (and this one ac­tu­ally did).

Some peo­ple seem to think that or­gan­is­ing an event is sim­ply a mat­ter of fol­low­ing a check-list. Ad­mit­tedly there are a few events where fol­low­ing a check-list will re­sult in suc­cess, but there are many more where an ex­pe­ri­enced op­er­a­tor will make a con­sid­er­able dif­fer­ence. Quite apart from the risk posed by en­gag­ing a rank ama­teur, a suc­cess­ful event - whether it’s a meet­ing, a con­fer­ence, an in­cen­tive pro­gram or re­ward, or a stand-alone event - re­flects on the client and tak­ing an in­ex­pe­ri­enced op­er­a­tor to task af­ter­wards isn’t go­ing to re­deem a client’s rep­u­ta­tion.

In Aus­tralia there are ac­cred­ited cour­ses avail­able to peo­ple who are se­ri­ous about be­com­ing part of the busi­ness events in­dus­try and there are many more com­pa­nies that are will­ing to let en­thu­si­as­tic em­ploy­ees learn on the job - with their care­ful guid­ance. How­ever, be­ing part of a team plan­ning and de­liv­er­ing a suc­cess­ful event is not an ex­er­cise in democ­racy and new en­trants have to learn just what their con­tri­bu­tion needs to be and when ac­tions or sug­ges­tions may be wel­come... or not.

It is lit­tle won­der that peo­ple out­side our in­dus­try find it dif­fi­cult to equate what we do with the more es­tab­lished pro­fes­sions when there are no vis­i­ble signs of ac­cred­i­ta­tion or stated re­quire­ments to abide by pro­fes­sional and eth­i­cal stan­dards and we don’t charge for the work we put into our pro­pos­als. In­dus­try bod­ies such as MEA and PCOA have long promised to pro­mote ac­cred­i­ta­tion as a pro­fes­sional re­quire­ment to be de­manded by prospec­tive clients, but noth­ing has hap­pened yet.

The amount of work that goes into pro­duc­ing a bid doc­u­ment or pro­posal is con­sid­er­able and there is a move to charge clients for the In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty con­tained within them. The re­al­ity is that while the big com­pa­nies are will­ing to give away their ideas (or re-quote on some­body else’s) for noth­ing this is not go­ing to hap­pen.

We live in an era of in­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tion; when it is ex­pected that ev­ery­thing can be ob­tained at the touch of a but­ton. But event man­age­ment is not an in­stant in­dus­try. If they are to be suc­cess­ful events have to be metic­u­lously planned in ad­vance, not just ticked-off on a list ob­tained via so­cial me­dia.

Peter Gray is an in­de­pen­dent, Ac­cred­ited In­cen­tive Prac­ti­tioner and mo­ti­va­tion con­sul­tant. He can be con­tacted at peter.gray@mo­ti­vat­ing­peo­

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