With the millennium so near I can't help but keep one eye on the future as that magic "2000" creeps into view. Nostradamus I'm not--but here are my predictions for the meetings industry:

* The most effective communicators will win.

People these days are too busy to listen. You can't assume the other person understands your intent or content when communicating anymore. The successful professional of the future will take the time to communicate effectively or end up paying the consequences.

* We'll need more education about ethics.

As our industry evolves on a daily basis, we find business coming from many new sources--brokers and third parties among them. If we don't take the time to show these new players the ropes and teach acceptable practices, who will?

* Competition will only get fiercer.

One of the great things about belonging to a professional organization is that it offers us a chance to test our leadership skills and hone our people skills outside the corporate environment and without judgment.

* Relationships will continue to be extremely important.

I've read articles lately claiming that the meeting planning business is no longer a "relationship business." It always has been and always will be.

* Involvement in professional organizations will be essential.

To be successful, we need resources and information that is no more than a couple of phone calls away. The network provided by a professional organization provides that. My experience has been that during times of upheaval in my career, industry friends have kept me energized, motivated, and on course. This is the greatest gift that our business brings.

Peace, and happy holidays!