Education Is the Problem
I read your column “Public Relations or Reformation?” [AM December, page 6] with much interest. I can see the value of an industrywide public relations effort to remind people at many levels of the value of face-to-face meetings.
I believe the attendance problem atis caused by a lack of solid educational content. Associations can no longer expect that members and others will attend their meetings out of loyalty or habit. Today's professionals need more reason than ever to leave their offices. Learning how to do their jobs more efficiently or run their operations more profitably are excellent reasons.
More than ever associations must: 1) make sure the educational content is relevant and 2) ensure the presentations are fresh and meaningful.
Dick Barton, director of and exhibits, Society of Tribologists & Lubrication Engineers Park Ridge, Ill.
Amen to That
Regarding your editor's column “Public Relations or Reformation,” the commercials featuring President Bush urging us to get back to traveling and business as usual are good, but they aren't enough.
It will take more than a well-orchestrated public relations campaign or even lower registration fees to boost meeting attendance. Lowering registration fees, creating early registration discounts, or even giving scholarship grants for members who cannot afford to attend does not address the real issue. The real issue is how to entice — or compel — time-pressured individuals in cash-strapped, value-conscious companies to leave the office and their families to attend meetings.
Outlaw Group Inc.
Mount Pleasant, S.C.
First Lady of the Meetings Industry
I really enjoyed your profile of my old friend Virginia Lofft (Class Act, AM October 2001, page xx]. Great job! I recall meeting her in the editorial offices of Successful Meetings on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia — way back when!
[Editor's Reply: I, too, vividly recall meeting Virginia at the Chestnut Street office of Successful Meetings. That's when she hired me, fresh out of college, as an editorial assistant, and set me off on a two-decade career as an editor covering the meetings industry.!]
We welcome your Letters to the Editor, which may be edited for length and clarity. Send them to: Regina McGee, Editor, Association Meetings, 132 Great Stow Road, Stow, MA 01775; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.