Face-to-face interaction is the platform where deals are struck, relationships are forged and ideas are generated. Members of the meetings industry can use their collective voices to communicate and collaborate on the important values live events have on the growth and development of society. Here are seven actions you can start taking to become an advocate for the industry:
1. Believe. Only through speaking out on issues affecting meetings can you encourage others to use their voice. Meetings industry advocacy has grown exponentially over the last few years as more people believe the cause can effect change in how others view and respect our industry.
2. Be informed. Keep abreast of issues concerning you and the issues concerning your job, industry and cause. A great resource is meetingsmeanbusiness.com, which provides a comprehensive list of pertinent studies from a wide cross section of resources. You can also download the MMB app to access these industry resources and stay up to date. Read industry magazines regularly, join social media groups and find blogs to be aware of issues that supplement information from the media.
3. Discuss the issues. Spread the word. Share information among peer groups and friends. Talk to them and listen to their views about industry issues. Start a discussion in your social media groups, your workplace, trade organizations, etc. Most meetings media groups and associations have social media platforms where you can share opinions and insights. This will help you shape and refine your own beliefs.
4. Go on the record. Write, speak out and act. Inform others by communicating your opinion on the subjects that matter most to you. Contact key stakeholders about the topics that concern you. Voice your opinion by writing to editors of the media you consume. The Convention Industry Council has created a platform that sends out action-oriented updates to show advocates how to get on the record.
5. Be a resource. Provide expertise so others know the values you’re advocating. Share your know-how with co-workers, executives, industry organizations, elected officials and other key stakeholders.
6. Volunteer. One of the best contributions you can make is your time. Volunteers are part of the solution to advancing awareness for a cause or issue. The old adage “the more you give, the more you get” holds true in most cases. The benefit and reward of giving of yourself often outweighs the means to which you give. Participate when called; volunteer when inspired. Every meetings industry association has many opportunities to volunteer.
7. Contribute. Donate money or time to support your issues, causes and organizations. The most committed gesture of support and power is a contribution. The meetings industry has numerous opportunities, with the most common and easiest being association foundations. These foundations fund the studies that create the relevance to advance the industry. They also provide grants for advocacy endeavors. Make a difference by contributing, while at the same time expanding your contact base and advocacy influence.
Roger Rickard is the guy organizations call when they need help with advocacy. He’s the founder of Voices In Advocacy. Contact him at email@example.com.