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Thanks for listening to the Meetings Podcast. The Meetings Podcast is sponsored by IMEX America and AVforPlanners.com
1- Liz King of Liz King Events speaks to Eventsagrams AJ Poletta about the getting the right kind of social media photos and video sharing at your events. Great user generated content is being produced at all events. Eventstagr.am collects images and shares them easily for your attendees and to help event planners brand their events correctly. Some best practices are shared.
2- Editor Barbara Scofidio and Sue Pelletier from MeetingsNet’s talk about the Top 10 Social Media Influencers
Sue shares how she uses social media to network and some tips on the ins and outs. The MeetingsNet editors and Twitter followers have also spoken: The latest version of the MeetingsNet app magazine features our picks for the top 10 social media influencers in the meetings industry today. Editor Barbara Scofidio, the mastermind behind the story, talks about some of the highlights, and chats with MeetingsNet’s own social media influencer, editor Sue Pelletier.
Main site: MeetingsNet.com
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Twitter handles: @spelletier MeetingsNet’s @meetingsnet @barbarascofidio [email protected]
3- Jon Trask and Elizabeth Glau talk about last December Meeting Professionals International (MPI) created a venture with the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) to revise MPI’s CMM Program and in the process establish a new set of standards. These changes didn’t resonate well within the existing CMM community who have responded with a petition asking some of the changes be modified or even abandoned. Today the podcast takes a look at this controversy with Jon Trask of AVforPlanners and Elizabeth Glau of Building Blocks Social Media discussing some of the pros and cons of the proposed changes.
Segment Producers this week (In order of appearance)
Mike brings his hundreds of proven worldwide resources to the fresh, creative, fast paced boutique environment that his meetings and video production company Grass Shack Events & Media has established. Mike has an eclectic background which leads him to the communications world. Several years of firefighting instilled a hearty work ethic and the importance of teamwork to get a job done right and the love of helping people.
Mike is also the founder of three other products EventCamp.org, AVforPlanners.com, MeetingsPodcast.com all help the meetings and events industries learn about event technology and social media in events and meetings.
Mike’s list of repeat clients for the past ten years at Grass Shack Events & Media includes Oracle, MySQL, Blackboard, Hilton Hotels, Hewlett Packard, Yahoo, Wells Fargo, Siemens Medical Solutions, PepsiCo, Genzyme, Sanofi, BiogenIdec, Thompson Reuters, Vantagescore, GAP, Restoration Hardware among many more.
Liz is an event planning superhero by day, and closeted tech geek and introvert by night. Distraught by the thought of everyday civilians being conquered by spreadsheets, she resolved to re-channel her organizational and tech savvy superpowers and launched Liz King Events while still running events full time for Columbia University. Liz voraciously shared content on event best practices via social media and quickly became a thought leader/influencer amongst her peers. Her hopes of being an incognito event superhero went down the drain as her cover was blown once she started making cameos on lits like ‘Successful Meetings list of 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry” and ‘Connect Magazine’s list of 40 Under 40 Up-and-Coming Event Planners in 2011″. Liz now comfortably wears her cape and employs her superpowers to helps entrepreneurs/brands like Claudia Chan and Ramit Sethi plan smart, tech-savvy events to better engage their attendees. ??Outside of client events, Liz uses her prowess to educate and challenge her industry peers on how to better integrate technology into live events to create a more winsome audience experience, through auxiliary outlets techsytalk.com and PlannerTech [Founder]. When not saving gotham from the event planning woes, Liz can be found unwinding by learning how to code, brushing up on her Korean, or indulging in Korean cuisine … all in civilian geek attire, of course.
Barbara joined Corporate Meetings & Incentives in 1991 and has served as its editor since 1994. She is an active member in many meeting and incentive industry associations, and was the first member of the media ever to serve on a Global Business Travel Association committee. In addition to her role on GBTA’s Groups and Meetings Committee from 2008-2011, she served on the education committee for the 2007 SITE International Conference, has judged the SITE Crystal Awards for the past 10 years, and led the media committee for SITE’s 35th Birthday Celebration at the 2008 Motivation Show. A frequent speaker and panelist at industry events, Barbara is a past winner of journalism awards from SITE, ASBPE, and Folio. Twitter handle: @barbarascofidio [email protected]
Sue is one of the MeetingsNet editors, has been writing and editing business publications
for more than 20 years. She also develops and manages Internet sites, enjoys growing social networking communities, and helps plan live events and webinars. Since starting covering this industry, she has developed a huge interest in adult education in all its many facets, and a fascination with how all the elements come together to create a learning environment that actually gives people the tools they need to do their jobs better once they get home. ?e-mail: [email protected]?Twitter: http://twitter.com/spelletier? Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sue.pelletier
Co founder at AVforPlanners.com. You can find Jon at Jon(At)AVforPlanners.com
Jon has offer a free show evaluation to Meetings Planners and organizers for their next meeting. A $1500 value. All you have to do is email Jon and say you heard the offer on the podcast. Jon has been a member of MPI since 1994, Jon earned his CMP designation in 2003. Jon has spent the last 20+ years in the audio visual and production business.
This experience, which cuts across so many different types of AV support while dealing in logistics, pre-production and project management, along with spending many years in sales give him a unique view of the disparate elements required to create a successful relationships, and ultimately to successfully support a meeting of any size. Jon was named “Meeting Professional of the Year” by the Orange County Chapter of MPI Jon keynote “Language of AV” he has spoken to numerous meeting and events association and college classes at UCSD, OCC and CMP study groups on the subject of basic AV for planners.
Elizabeth Glau and
Elizabeth Glau, CMP launched Building Blocks Social Media in 2009. With a thorough knowledge of key social platforms and understanding of content flow within these networks, Elizabeth’s thirst for “What’s Next” keeps her on the cutting edge of the tools and tactics in interactive media. Elizabeth has helped to increase the proficiency of the meetings and events industry by consulting and speaking on topics such as personal branding, engagement technology and event marketing.
@elizabethglau http://www.socialmediaforplanners.com/ http://www.socialpointforevents.com/
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The Meeting Planners podcast source for what’s new and exciting in meetings and events industry.
Mike: Hello and welcome to this episode of the Meetings Podcast my name is Mike McAllen and this is the podcast for meetings and event’s organizers who want to produce engaging programs for their attendees plus empower our organizers with new tips and resources to take their careers to the next level, you can find links and transcripts on the meetings podcast website. So you may have noticed again we have switched and shifted the podcast to be more of a magazine style, we still have the main interview but we have 20 or so great contributors who will be bringing new segments for their events podcast and I hope you enjoy it. If you do enjoy it I really appreciate if you went over to the iTunes store and you can find the link on our site and leave a review, it really helps us to get more listeners. And so on today’s show we have 3 sections; the first section is Liz King from Liz King events talking to AJ Palter of Instagram, he is at the UK and now they have a New York office. They talk about getting attendees to share the right content at events about branding, and hash tags and a lot of good stuff it is a really great segment so I think you should look forward to that. The next segment has Sue Pelletier and Barbra Scofidio, they are from Meetings Net and they are going to be talking about the Meetings Net Editors and the Twitter followers have spoken the latest version of the Meetings Net App Magazine features their picks for the top 10 social media influencers in the meetings industry today. Editor Barbra Scofidio the master mind behind the story talks about some of the highlights and chats with Meetings Net own social media influencer, Editor, Sue Pelletier and that is really fun they talk about all these people that are most of them you know if you are on twitter or face book you will know these names and they are really people that get out there and get their content out there. As for the main interview we have Jon Trask of AV for Planners and Elizabeth Glau of Social Media Building Blocks talking about last December’s Meeting Professions International, they created a venture with the Global Business Travel Association to revise MPIs CMM program in the process established a new set of standards. These changes didn’t resonate well with the existing CMM community who have responded with a petition asking of the changes be modified or even abandoned. Today they will be talking about that controversy and they will discuss some of the pros and cons of the proposed changes.
Liz: Hi everyone thanks for having me this is Liz King with Liz King events and it is such a pleasure to be here. 2013 was dubbed as the year of the selfie and it is certainly evident in our events, more than ever our attendees are interested in taking photos and videos at our events and this is something that event planners really have to get used to. How do we encourage the right kind of sharing? How do we collect this information and how do we use it to our branding benefit? There are a lot of questions here so I thought it would be good to introduce you to a company that is helping event planners collect more of these images and leverage them for our events. And we are also going to talk today a little bit about how we can encourage great user generated content of our events and what are best practices are for collecting everything that happens live as the event is happening. Today I am really pleased to introduce you to AJ Palter he is the head of US Cross at a company called Eventstagram, they are based out of the UK and they have just recently opened an office here in New York as well.
AJ: Thank you so much for having this on all the way over from the UK Eventstagram is a fun engagement technology that allows us to aggregate content in real time at an event from Eventstagram, twitter and we are able to capture photos that people are posting whether it is a wedding or music festival, conference or a meeting and we are able to display all that content as a part of it, interactive slide show encourages people to share through social media and share using a hash tag that you are able to use and hash tag at a later date.
Liz: That is great I think that picture and video sharing has become so popular so it is really important to get planners the tools that they need to collect all that and share it at an event and I recently attended a fashion show that you guys were sponsoring and I got to see Eventstagram in action and it is always funny when people take a picture and they tweet it and then it comes up on the big screen and then they take a picture of that picture it is becoming more viral they are sharing it because they have seen it publicly and that helps to feed into it. But a lot of planners are really trying to understand how this all works, how do you get people to take pictures in the first place, how do you get them to share in a way that you can then collect it, what kind of tips do you have for planners who are just getting started over things like that?
AJ: I think that one of the key steps some of us in the industry sort of overlook is the fact that we really need to sensitize the hash tag not clear to a lot of the individuals who may be interested or focused in the social media space they might be sharing content but the content is lost if it isn’t shared in a way that you can aggregate and use. So I think that that is one of the key pieces of Eventstagram is that we are able to say, hey listen we are going to sort of reward you for sharing using the hash tag you can even get to see your photos, your content up on the big screen in real time whereas otherwise a lot of people aren’t inclined to share using that hash tag just because it doesn’t particularly concern them perhaps or maybe they are just not familiar with the process but by having a clear call to action at that, by using that hash tag you are going to be a part of the event and we are going to recognize that at real time I think that that is a clear call to action for people to do so.
Liz: And I think there is something to branding your event and I always talk about creating picture perfect moments like giving people something to take a picture of. People taking pictures, your brand is being shared through those pictures I have often seen speakers that are set up on a big huge stage and people are taking tones of pictures of them but they have no backdrop behind them with any brand on it so you might be getting all those pictures but you aren’t getting the branding out of all that effort and then if people share on the hash tag you can benefit but that is only one piece of the branding cargo.
AJ: I think that is a great point too because that is one of the key hurdles with social media it is the fact that the platforms today don’t seem to be particularly interested in sort of tying in branded photos as an offering which is thus quite frustrating to event planners so if you can create those situations whether it is on a step on a key or some sort of installation that really inspires people to capture those moments, that is huge in getting your brand and your product placement out into the social media space just because there is no filter for your brand as much as you would love there to be.
Liz: Now, I know that any event technology company is innovating all the time you have a great product but I am sure there are a lot of things that you are working on that maybe aren’t released yet or are new features. So can you tell our listeners what are some of the things we are looking for in the future of Eventstagram?
AJ: So we are constantly working on ideas all the time and you know about maybe only 30% of those ever make it to you guys because we test and try things 24 hours a day, trying to constantly improve the products I think one of the things that is really exciting for me as we work both in sort of the small events space and also with the corporate brand activations is that as we build these amazing displays for some of the big events, some of the big brands is we are actually working to take those templates, pick those animations and capture the mesmerizing displays that we are building for the big events and we are breaking that down into templates that people can use on Eventstagram at their own smaller events. So I think it is kind of cool proposition to say hey you can have the display that for our use when they were releasing their 458 special car in Aston and we are breaking that down for you and now you can have that ideal meeting, ideal conference which I think is something that has a little posses to what the people like.
Liz: Awesome, now since we are talking technology I have to ask you I am always working to create mobile app or event tech product, what are some of your favorite that you think we should all be investigating?
AJ: We are constantly trying to uncover new events tech as well a lot of it we get from Liz King events but we occasionally find some other channels as well, there are a couple of things that kind of come to mind here, one of the companies, I think they are based in Europe but they just came over to the States like us as well and they are called Emergency Digital they are planning an event just next week and we are really excited because from what I can gather they provide every attendee with an I Pad but I don’t think you’ve got to keep that, they provide you with an I Pad as you walk in and then have a sort of interactive platform that encourages people to engage through ice breakers or through team building exercises and I think as far as is concerned it is kind of you need to talk to some other people in the room and get as much information from them in order to proceed and then they have software, they have 50 I pads in the room and they will send out like a puzzle to each I Pad and each I Pad turns into a piece of the puzzle and then everyone in the room has to work as a team to mount these I Pads unto these bracketing on the wall in order to create this puzzle in real time. That was a pretty cool use of tech and I am excited to see what these guys can do in the future. And then the other one that I am really excited about is, have you heard anything on the use of drones for aerial photography at events?
Liz: I have seen it for sports but not necessarily for events.
AJ: Yeah, so I was reading in just few weeks ago there is a company based out in Orlando Florida called Sonus Studios and they started what it seems as renting out these drones they will have a pilot basically come and provide aerial coverage of your event, I think it is something like $500 for 3 hours but after playing with the drone that I got for Christmas back in December, just a little guy would have a camera on it and I was around cruising around my neighborhood taking photos from 50 feet in the air, I think that is something that could be really cool is sort of a real time aerial coverage of your event, I think that is something that is going to continue to grow we just have to see what the FAA thinks about all the flying drones around our conferences and our festivals.
Liz: Yes, drones are a hot topic these days. Thank you so much for sharing with us today, it was great chatting with you about event technology and I will encourage all of our listeners to check you on your website and follow you on twitter and check out your blog I am really interested to see what you are going to be doing at south by south west.
AJ: Yeah that sounds amazing, thanks so much for having us on and we are excited to help everyone engage their audiences at their events and we will check back in often.
Barbra: Hallo everyone, this is Barbra Scofidio, I am an editor with Meetings Net and I am here with Sue Pelletier another of our editors to talk about the February cover story of our new I Pad tablet app and it is on industries top social media influencers, welcome Sue.
Barbra: Sue is one of our influencers and this was a group that we chose all of our editors got together and brainstormed and we reached out to the industry and asked too the people who are most influential on twitter who you look for their blogs and you want to hear about, you want to get to know the person behind the hash tag or behind the twitter handle. And came about with just a great list, learnt so much about what their strategies are behind their tweeting, they aren’t blindly tweeting they are very much building brand but they are also being themselves and I think that is an important first point to touch on Sue. Did you notice that as well that one of the most important characteristics or common characteristics is authenticity when it comes to being an influencer?
Sue: Absolutely, I think one of the influencers said, I think the question was like people surprised when they meet you in real life they were like no I am pretty much exactly who I am on twitter, on my blog or whatever and I think that is a key part of social media is to be who you are not to try and put on some persona, try and be somebody you aren’t they are going to someday meet you in real life and figure out who you are anyway so you might as well be authentic about it. But everybody seemed to think that that was a very key piece of their social media strategy if you want to call it that but you should just really get out there and be who you are and share what you have with the world and what you know and to get the same back from other people.
Barbra: Exactly, another thing that I noticed that I was a little surprised about is a lot of these influencers don’t necessarily choose a time to tweet; they are spontaneous, much more spontaneous than I thought but there are some great tools out there as well that you can use to time your tweets, can you talk a little bit about that?
Sue: Sure I am a big fan of who tweet, I think that is a wonderful program where you can pre-schedule your tweets or your post to LinkedIn or face book or wherever you want to post things to. It is really handy for me in particular because I tend to go through all my RSS Feeds at night while watching TV and kind of figure out what is going on and what I want to be posting about the next day and then I can just auto schedule things to go out so when I am in the middle of a crisis at work I can actually take care of that and not be like I have to go tweet now. I think a lot of people do that it is just a really handy scheduling tool and you can also set up different feeds to follow, people who you really want to pay attention to out of the fire horse of information coming at you there is really those few key people that you want to listen to, your own personal influencers and there are ways that you can sort of cut through the noise by using that tool as well. There are plenty of others out there but who tweet is my personal favorite and it has been for quite a while now.
Barbra: Right that is what came up the most, another interesting fact that we discussed was connecting the tweets with blogs and then kind of secure this connections that each form of social media creates and you certainly have an award winning blog, you want to talk a little bit about that and how you do social with your blog and vice versa?
Sue: Sure, I think that is why I got in on this prestigious list it is just I got the longevity award I have been blogging since I believe it was 2002 when I first started the face to face blog for meetings net and it was a whole different universe back then than it is now, not many fewer people around and they were a bit, it is just in such a tremendous way to meet people who you would never meet otherwise and now when you start layering in all the other social media that has come since then it is really kind of interesting how it all works together and how you can really take something that is interesting to talk about and you can blend it down to 140 characters for twitter, you can make it much more personal and friendly for face book, you can make it much more businesslike for LinkedIn, each of the social media has its own kind of persona and it is kind of interesting to weigh and everyone does try to really make their message meet what people are looking for in that particular social network.
Barbra: Very true and it is also interesting there is a time and a place you get a little bit personal, most of the people occasionally would tweet about something more personal, having to do with their travels or even their families but it is few and far between and it is a little different for each person but I did notice that our top social influencer is someone that the world knows and follows and that was Richard Branson and you talk about a guy whose personality into his social media it is him and he actually does his tweeting, he has a person who we have spoken with who tweets for him but he does a lot of it on his own, he is always thinking about a little bit of that joke factor and how to surprise people next and he shares some of his personality and some of his personal details in his tweets, he is a bit of a rock star so everybody wants to hear about it but there is kind of a time and place and everyone we spoke with said that occasionally they will talk about something funny that just happened or what one of their kid said or something like that. Do you do that as well?
Sue: I do, I have been known to post pictures of my dog to the blog I know you aren’t supposed to do that but you know whatever she is cute but yeah I mean it is part of getting to know who the person behind the technology and you know we are people and we do have kids and families and lives and trouble woes and everything else that goes along with it, it is important not to flood people with that kind of information especially if you are doing it primarily for your business so you don’t want to be too personal but it just adds a little, you know who you are talking to a little bit more and even in tweeter it is kind of funny how much personality can come through in those little tidy bits of information but you really get a flavor of who that person is just by how they phrase things and then you learn a little bit more about their personal life and I think that is a great idea, I don’t think that is a great idea for the people to tweet what they had for lunch and show pictures of that, I don’t think that is a little gratuitous but every now and then if it is a particularly beautiful lunch, why not.
Barbra: Why not and it is funny but that is also why it is so easy when you have been tweeting to go to an industry meeting and tweet out that you are going to be there and it is almost like you have a bunch of fast friends pretty much everybody we interviewed spoke about that how they are connected before they even get to an industry meeting, I think it is great if the industry meeting has a tweet up to attend the tweet up we just did that at PCMA and it was a lot of fun and you have more connections when you leave that you continue to follow and they follow you I am sure you are doing that at every meeting you go to.
Sue: Of course and you know social media is like we all keep saying all this is virtual interaction just drives face to face and it is so true and you can go to any industry meeting, tweet up and you will see hugging and ooh that is what you are like in real life, ooh I am so glad to meet you I mean it is kind of like holding home for people who haven’t met each other in a lot of cases, it is really interesting and I would highly recommend anybody who either is new to it or is thinking about getting involved in doing some social networking for their business to go too to some of these industry meet ups at MPI or PCMA and just meet some of the other people who are doing it and even if you are new to it everybody is very friendly and more than happy to show you the ropes on how to get started with it and you will meet instant friends that way and it is just an amazing experience.
Barbra: And also take a look at our brand new tabloid app you download it through the apple store you can download it through Google Play or Amazon market place, just type in meetings net that is our brand new App we have got a great cover story there about the ten top social media influencers I think you will find it is a lot of fun.
Jon: Welcome back to the podcast this is Jon Trask from AV for Planners and I am here with Elizabeth Glau of building blocks social media.
Elizabeth: Thank you for having me again.
Jon: Welcome back and we are going to veer of course a little today we have been doing a lot of things about small business and marketing and even social media but there is a little bit of tempest that has come up within the industry and actually it is something that we have talked about before just the actual item in question and at the same time it is something that I completed about a year ago so I have a little bit of a vested feeling about it and a little bit about pride of ownership and that is the CMM program through MPI. We are both CMPs and I have had that for a little over 10 years now and a couple of years ago I decided to pursue the CMM and I am not saying the CMM has a certificate or a certification right now because that is even one of the things in question but the key part of this is it was sort of the gold standard as someone put it in an article that I have read, it was really the top end and it took a certain level of experience and a certain commitment to go you had to spend a little over a week on site studying, you had to write an essay test and a business case or business plan at the end of it and so it was pretty rigorous and there are about close to a thousand, like 956 is one of the numbers I have heard people who have passed that program in about the last decade, 11 years or so that it has been offered.
Elizabeth: And it is something that I have always wanted to do, I got my CMP as soon as I could, as soon as I had enough years to qualify and you know the requirements, I went through that program and was very proud to have accomplished that and the CMM was always kind of the next thing to do and the requirements you were at the industry for 10 years and had certain requirements and I had the last few years I have passed that requirement of having 10 years in the industry and so over the last couple of years I had been looking into it, getting CMM in itself but now the MPI is now proposing some changes and that is what we want to talk about today.
Jon: Right, specifically I guess it was late last year the first press release came out and they had partnered with GBTA (Global Business Travel Association) and basically GBTA had a program- the Strategic Meetings Management Certification (SMMC) and I guess it had only been around a couple of years and basically the two organizations decided to partner and sort of combine forces on this.
Elizabeth: And one of the things I heard somewhere else on another show was that MPI had sold the CMM program to GBTA, I think one of the order of my concern is that there is a lot of misinformation going around out there because a lot of people have strong feelings about the changes that have been made and there is a lot of people talking about the places but one of the misconceptions was that MPI just kind of sold it out but that isn’t the case they are partnering with GBTA which I do want to point out is a good thing, Jon and I have talked a lot on the podcast about how we wish our industry associations would work together more and not compete with each other, so that in a general sense I am happy that they are partnering with another industry association on something but I have been doing some research for a presentation I am doing at LABTA so the LA chapter of the Global Business Travel Association and I have been reading a lot of surveys that those folks have been taking and what I have learnt is that people who are corporate travel professionals are being asked to take on more meetings at events responsibilities at their company, a lot of them that work at these larger corporations the reason I think they had the SMMC was to kind of get some education and get a certification on how you would consolidate not only your travel program but your meetings management program and I think they go hand in hand. The one thing I don’t like about the people that are opposed to some of the changes in giving the CMM designation to people that had previously earned the SMMC is I haven’t seen any discussion on what that certification required and that really I feel like moving forward we should all be on the same team you know especially since advocacy is such an issue these days I think belittling the work that corporate travel professionals do and making it seem like it isn’t as valuable, it isn’t as difficult intellectual as the work that meeting professionals do, I think doesn’t get us anywhere in that conversation.
Jon: But I would take sort of a different view point in a way here because the people who earn the CMM was a very challenging program to go through and it required an expenditure of time and money and effort and whether or not it is true but there is certainly a perception that the people who earned this they just sort of qualify for this other thing without really saying here is why they qualify for it so that explanation part, that linkage is missing there and the people who have the CMM many of them feel very strongly that this is sort of a devaluation of their accomplishment and this was again considered like kind of the top thing it is like you aspired to get to that point after you had been in the industry for a while and to simply be told that all these other people just qualify for it without any further explanation is I think where some of these very strong reaction comes from.
Elizabeth: Yeah and I think part of it is there is only a couple hundred people that have earned SMMC because it was only around for a couple of years versus like you mentioned it, it is almost a thousand people that got the CMM so they have a much louder voice, I am not surprised honestly we haven’t heard much from them because again I think the corporate travel industry and the meetings industry we often operate in silos, we have our separate associations and conferences that we attend and we don’t often, no one is crossing that barrier to say what is it that these folks accomplish, was it the same amount of time and effort and energy that they put into their designation what do they feel about it honestly I don’t know.
Jon: Yeah there has been speculation I belong to a CMM group on Linked In and that group actually contains nearly 50% of all the CMMs in the world so it is a fairly substantial size group and there is just a lot of discomfort with that topic that whole idea of what did they do and it hasn’t been linked, it hasn’t been explained and it was never made clear and I think one thing that I have observed is I believe MPI had obviously no idea the fuse they were lighting when they did this the way they did it. It seems like they were a little, from everything that I have read a little deficient in reaching out to first off the community of the people who had this because we are all pretty easy to reach, there is a significant number of us who are MPI members, I just went through the program, they have got my email and it would have probably been easy to solicit some information and some buy in from let’s say out of 1,000 people they could have easily reached half of them right after that and instead my understanding of their focus groups was 4 people and I just don’t think they had any idea what they were stirring because the people who tend to have this designation they are very experienced, they are very confident people and they aren’t afraid to sort of make their opinions known.
Elizabeth: And you think MPI would be used to this because they have had other issues in the past and people have gotten very upset about other things and today is aged with technology you know how easy it is to get feedback from your constituents, from your members in this case and a membership organization, MPI is a membership organization, the CMM isn’t the CMM is something that you earned and they got your money and just set you on your way so the solid truth is the way it is coming across I think to you and other people that have earned it is like ooh they have already gotten my money out of it so that is why they don’t really care what I think about it by lowering their requirements like some people would look at it, if they are able to just get a bunch more people in there and certified and get that much money out of so many more people then clearly it is an obvious business choice to make, it is kind of an oprenda.
Jon: That is what is driving it.
Elizabeth: Right that is what is driving it and the changes and the partnership you know all that it just makes financial sense obviously for them and clearly that was I think you know in my own blub that was the other reason they wouldn’t have necessarily consulted people that already had the CMM.
Jon: That makes sense and I do think though that it was short sighted because obviously they have stirred up something and maybe not everyone who listens to podcast has heard this but I have seen it in numerous industry blogs and posts being discussed and certainly it is a big topic of conversation in some groups I belong to in Linked In and things like that so and even MPI I believe would admit it wasn’t rolled out in a way that was successful. And I know they have taken steps to solicit communication from people now they had some phone-inns and I participated in a lot of them and some listened in.
Elizabeth: Right but did you feel like your questions or your concerns were being heard?
Jon: Not completely and that is part of the problem too it has come across to sort of perfunctory and hoping that things will just sort of blow over and calm down and then they will just continue on with the course that they have set. There is a petition that has been signed and I know it asked for some specific things and from a lot of discussions there were some online surveys done for a significant portion of this group on Linked In for example who are all CMMs with some very specific requests that they are making back of MPI one of them being the 10 year requirement for eligibility and in actual kind of acceptance program because the way that it was rolled out and read it just seemed like sort of saying ooh I want to be in it and there was nothing to question that, beyond that it was sort of a self-qualification and I know to me there is a value in having to make that justification that I had the experience to take the program in the first place and I had to think it through to apply and to me it wasn’t just…
Elizabeth: You know it seems like based on the chart that they have provided it seems like the eligibility requirements beyond the number of years of experience are very similar it is just that they have cut the number of years of experience in half they have dropped it from 10 down to 5 but otherwise you have to provide your resume and an essay and you have to get a recommendation which you know based on what they are saying here the qualifications it looks like I was pretty similar.
Jon: Well I believe before that there was most of it there was an acceptance into the program.
Elizabeth: Which I assume there would still be like and again because this is a financially motivated decision I am sure there is still some kind of acceptance process and who knows there might be somebody that they just say no you wanted it off the street like obviously given your resume and what you are bringing to the table this isn’t right for you but for the most part of course they are going to accept.
Jon: But even the link to time of experience in the industry is actually in conflict with MPI standards that was set up a few years ago the EIBTA standards which many of them speak to having 8 years of experience as a minimum to be able to master particular skills within that knowledge base and so again that part feels again like well if it is 5 years we can get more money, more people in.
Elizabeth: Yeah and I know somewhere in there a fake use or somewhere I think their justification for that was just that people are changing jobs more these days I guess asking somebody to be in the same industry for 10 years is asking a lot for people in this day and age which I can appreciate but.
Jon: I don’t know but having the 20 year MPI member and I have been like 27 years in the industry and so maybe I am an acronyms but it just someone in some of our discussions made the point that that 10 years was also sort of a commitment by the time somebody has done that they are going to stick around.
Elizabeth: Right and you don’t know honestly whether you are talking about meeting professionals or corporate travel professionals I actually agree that the 10 years I think probably should stay because if you are that kind of a person that is going to be selling to the sea level that you know you want to consolidate your travel programs or your meetings management program like you aren’t going to be somebody in all likelihood you know that has less than 10 years of experience in the industry or kind of doing this kind of work and so I think obviously it is just again financially motivated if we drop the requirements we can get more people to join and who knows whether that devalues what those of you that have already achieved it I am sure that again it is all about perception the people that have already achieved it their perception is going to be that devalues it maybe they can come up with some kind of compromise I don’t know if MPI is going to be willing to.
Jon: They have said they are open to some modifications to the program but not very clearly they also said there are some non-negotiable and I think all of that is still out there to know what, where and how things are going to fit together. We have talked about the SMMC folks getting the CMM, I know you have an opinion on that that is pretty strong and at the same time it feels like handing someone something that isn’t specifically what they accomplished, kind of rubs the wrong way and I wouldn’t want it I mean if I were an SMMC instead of a CMM I am not sure I would want to use that title I mean I think maybe the logic behind it is since that program is going away they wanted these people to transition in and be considered at the same level with all of us but it was just handled so badly.
Elizabeth: And if there were more of them you know come to think of it the SMMC required 7 years of experience so now dropping it down to 5 like you think they would be upset too and maybe they are who knows maybe they don’t want it and they have some of the same concerns.
Jon: It would be interesting to hear their perspectives.
Elizabeth: And you and I can certainly try to share this podcast in some of those circles and we would love to get their feedback and hear some of those perspectives too.
Jon: Right well in fact we will mention this later but I very specifically wanted to really solicit feedback from people, we would love to have you email the podcast and let us know your comments and your thoughts on all of these and your opinions we will read some of those on the air we will try and maybe have people on because certainly this is something that a week from now it isn’t going to be gone away or even a month from now I think it has been a significant flare up and it will need to ultimately be addressed whether it is to people’s satisfaction or not is an entirely other point.
Elizabeth: Yeah but opening it up to people that don’t have the CMM, who would be potential customers if you will of the program.
Jon: And so I think I really do want to encourage people to comment back to us and we will try and have some other voices on here besides ours but also just continuing on there are a couple of other points that were brought up in this petition that I wanted to at least mention, one of them that still seems puzzling to me and I haven’t really ever had a good explanation is that they were taking away what CMM stood for and just calling it a stand-alone brand and on one hand they are saying well it is a strong enough trademark that it doesn’t need anything but if so then why would you undercut the naming of it.
Elizabeth: Right there you got this seems bizarre and I agree with them that CMM is a brand, it is a very recognized world thing like we talked about it in the beginning it is something that once you’ve been around for a few years you know what it is, you aspire to get it so in that case yeah it is a strong stand alone brand but why they would just get rid of what it stands for which is Certificates Meetings Management especially since again my view point again on behalf of I guess the corporate travel planners that are coming into this given my research a lot of them are finding themselves doing more meetings management and that is why I feel like this is a good partnership so the name keeping it as Certificates Meeting Management would make sense, it doesn’t make sense to get rid of that.
Jon: Yeah and I always wondered and the last part of this petition was the idea that if they can’t effect some of these changes can they call it something else? And there is a side of me that says you don’t want the designation you have to die out which is also true for the people with the SMMC I am sure they spent a lot of energy and time to do this and theirs is just disappearing whereas ours is just changing but I wondered if they couldn’t continue to offer like different tracks of it and do sort of like the CMP with the health side that they have recently rolled out which I think they did a much more masterful job honestly of bringing out a new certification within their designations and it simply is a CMPHC and why not make the CMM strategic travels or strategic meetings and give it a designation after the end so then you could even tell okay a CMM is an old school and now if you are CMMMT you are a meetings travels specialist.
Elizabeth: But I think the reason they don’t do that is because the new content going forward is going to be largely meetings related not even meetings related it is all about being strategic.
Jon: Right but the problem with that I think is the business plan that they have eliminated, the business case assessment doesn’t speak specifically to meetings or to travelers, to strategic, it is very broadly stated.
Elizabeth: But you were always able to do a business plan on whatever you wanted to do.
Jon: Right, but you needed to have it approved and that was a key step.
Elizabeth: And you have some kind of business case to someone that needs more clarification obviously to the community like what it does that mean I know they have said in the FAQs so you can still do a business plan as part of your project that you have to do but maybe you choose to because I think what would be more applicable to other folks instead of a business plan you are putting together a plan to carry strategic business management program at your company.
Jon: Which is really what probably about half of the people in my CMM class were doing, it was very interesting because at the very end of the program they divided us up by tables as to what our business plans were related to and there were a significant number of people who were simply implementing a strategic meetings plan within their organization that was their business plan they were writing.
Elizabeth: Which is why it makes sense for these two to combine?
Jon: Of course I ended up at the other business table, I had this strange AV for planners thing that nobody could quite figure out yet and I guess that is one of the reasons I feel passionate about the CMM program the way that it was structured is because it was so addressed to my specific needs I understand change but I am not sure that all of this change is for the better and I think that has been a little bit of the issue throughout the community because everybody who got the CMM had their own reasons for doing it and has used that knowledge in whatever way they have decided to apply it to their world.
Elizabeth: Knowledge and having the designation just like having the CMP might get you a job that if you didn’t have it you might not get the CMM is less or not HR circles but still it is kind of that designation that you know I know my stuff, I am a more strategic thinker you and I both know because we have contributed to the new CMP manual that the CIC is trying to make the CMP more strategic focused as well you know who knows 10 years down the road we can talk about this together and see how it has all changed.
Jon: Yeah it is a very messy situation I think it was rolled out rather awkwardly and it is unfortunate because it has caused a lot of bruised feelings and I think on both sides I can’t speak for anybody else but I did a poll on one of the calls that I was on very clearly said that there is the perception that they are trying to devalue the CMM and he said what reason would we have for that and I can agree with that, what reason would they have to want to devalue this program.
Elizabeth: Financially that wouldn’t make sense.
Jon: Yes, which I think is the frustration a lot of people have from information gaps and lack of information and I think had it been rolled out a little cleaner they could have had an entire group of a thousand people advocating for it.
Elizabeth: Exactly, what a missed opportunity.
Jon: Yeah because I mean in our previous discussions well before any of this ever happened I encouraged you to go to CMM program repeatedly.
Elizabeth: Yeah we have talked about it many times.
Jon: Because I think that it was one of the best educational offerings in a compact amount of time that I have ever had the opportunity to do.
Elizabeth: Well it was so valuable for me to listen to your story about what exactly it was like, I already wanted to do it and that is great but here you tell me what the whole week was like and you know what you learnt and that granted some of that potentially is changing anyway so now go to CMMs kit I guess advocate on it specifically about what it was like.
Jon: And again had they brought us in we might have been able to you know here is what is the same, here is what is changing it just shouldn’t be change for change sake, and I think that is where I would probably leave from my side it is like let’s make sure that this prestigious great asset that MPI has built up isn’t undercut and isn’t thrown away casually into something else so that would be what I hope can come out of all this discussion.
Elizabeth: Yeah so I hope that people will comment to us and send emails, hopefully we have reached somebody that maybe wasn’t in these other circles and they have an opinion or correction or something and hopefully we can help facilitate that.
Jon: Absolutely so please email us and there will be all the information at the end of the podcast to reach us but we would love to hear your thoughts, your opinions and we would love to involve some of those in our future show. So appreciate you listening to our points of view or sort of the counter point here today on the CMM roll out and thank you and we look forward to talking to you next time.
Mike: Well it is pretty interesting here about the CMM situation and I want to thank first of all Liz King and AJ Palate for their great advice on the tips of getting your attendees sharing the right content, you can find Liz at lizkingevents.com and you can also find here at techie talk, Liz could also be found on twitter at @lizkingevents and face book and she is very accessible and a really nice lady you should talk to her and check her at all her channels and also again thanks to AJ of Eventstagram they are from the UK and now in New York it looks like a really great product and also what a fantastic use of URL of Instagram which .am is end of that instead of .com and they can be found at @eventstagram on twitter. Also thank you to editor Barbra Scofidio and Sue Pelletier talking about the topic influencers and head over and download the free meetings net app you can find them at meetingsnet.com that is the main site and go ahead and download that app it is really cool I really enjoy it in fact they have a preview of the next one coming up which is even cooler you can find it at the apps store or Google play or even on the Amazon market place and Sue can be found at @spelletier, the meetings net twitter handle is @meetingsnet so check that out. I also wanted to thank Jon Trask from AV for planners and Elizabeth Glau from social media building blocks go over and check out both those websites of course you know if you have been listening to podcast at all you know Elizabeth has been around with working with us for a long time spending some time I thank her very much she is a very smart lady herself so they did a great job talking about the CMM program, you can email Jon at [email protected], please go check out AV for planners, try the free RFP builder, Jon of course has a free evaluation for all the meetings podcast listeners so you can get an evaluation on your next meeting for all the AV and labor which is really cool it is a $1,500 value and it is really cool they do their valuation of 3 companies put them side by side and give you a summary of those companies so you know what you are getting from them so it is a pretty cool deal so I would go that and of course I am working on that with Jon so just email Jon tell them you heard about it on the show and you want to redeem one credit, it is that simple. Lastly please go on to the iTunes and give us a review really would appreciate that leave a review, hopefully a nice review but if you want to put a bad one there go ahead and do it we just want to learn and change up the podcast and the very last thing I want to say is go on to Instagram and take a picture of yourself while listening to the show I would really like to see that I think it would be really cool then I can use it if you want on our actual show page and it will come up when people are listening to it so they can see you wherever you are, use #meetingspodcast. So if you have any questions or comments about anything to do with the show or anything else you want to talk to me send in an email at meetingspodcast (at)gmail.com., you can call me on my cell phone at 9256993190 I would love to talk to you, this is Mike McAllen I hope you enjoyed the show and I will see you next week