Try This

If the boardroom brainstorm has slowed to a light drizzle, try this two-phase mind jogger. In part one, someone offers a solution to a problem: “To stay warm, close the door.” The second person repeats the suggestion and adds a qualifier, using the conjunction “but.” “We could close the door, but we'll get too hot,” for example. Continue taking turns for a set time period. For part two, do the same thing, but use the conjunction “and.” “We can close the door, and open a window.” See which conjunction works best for your group. Are they “but” idea deconstructionists or “and” idea expansionists? Great ideas can be generated from each.

Need a Read?

Know what you'll say if you're asked to speak at Christmas? Here's an opener from George Burns: “Happiness is having a large, loving, caring family in another city.”

The biggest fear of a last-minute speaker is delivering a lackluster speech. But with Andrew Frothingham's Last Minute Speeches and Toasts (2000, Career Press), that fear can be laid to rest. Frothingham offers quotes and jokes, little-known tricks, and seven facts that can spice up almost any speech. The book is in two parts. “About Speaking” gives some speech basics. “Gems You Can Use” are quotes, in categories such as “Animals,” “Family,” and “Golf.” For more information, visit List price: $12

New Sensation

Hooray for Hollywood! The 640-room Renaissance Hollywood Hotel (, premiered with pizzazz this month in Hollywood, Calif. The new hotel offers visitors celebrity style and sophistication. An elevated pool terrace can be transformed into a banquet or reception area suited for 800.

Among the nearly 50,000 square feet of meeting space sits the regal Grand Ballroom, which can accommodate more than 3,500 people for receptions and up to 1,800 people for sit-down dinners. In addition, the hotel's Hollywood Ballroom can accommodate more than 800 people for receptions and 650 for banquets.

Book Mark

In turbulent times, news can be a map guiding people through a hard-to-see future. CMI and The Meetings Group have launched a 9/11 microsite at The site offers daily, bite-size stories spotlighting the meeting and event industry post-9/11. You'll find security tips, legal issues, and more. Links lead to canceled and postponed meetings lists, hotel listings of open dates, and StarCite's “Operation Cancellation Rescue.” Visitors can also click through to a portal page of charities and relief efforts.