One of the biggest frustrations I have with meetings is that we have great conversations, meet great people, then go home and it's as if the meeting never happened. In all too many cases, we don't follow up on new relationships formed and we don't use what we learned.

Don't get me wrong. I am a big fan of education for education's sake, and I understand the benefits of networking. But even after some great sessions full of interesting people, I'm often left longing for more, for something tangible I can take home and use.

Then I heard about the subject of this issue's cover story, the Color Marketing Group, and what they do with their meetings. Attendees are tasked with coming up with their own ideas for what should be on the color palette of the future, along with justifications for their choices, which can range from the political and sociological to climatological. Then, at the meeting, they spend time in small groups making their cases, and ultimately determining the official color palette that will be used in manufacturing everything from powder puffs to Pontiacs.

Not only do attendees get to be a part of shaping the future of their profession, but, as an added bonus, they get a turbocharged version of networking and education, too. Think about the difference between the interactions you would have working closely with others on a project you all care deeply about, and the quality of the chatter at a typical networking reception. And the opportunity to take those invaluable hallway discussions out of the hallway and into a working environment? Well, that'd be your education on steroids.

The opportunity may not exist to do this for every association, but if you want to have your meetings make a difference, I'd sure try to find a way to make it happen.

On another note, I'm hoping that you've noticed we've been doing a little renovating here in the pages of Association Meetings. We researched and brainstormed until eventually, thanks to Group Design Director John Herr, Art Directors Sharon Carlson and Joan Lockhart, Editorial Director Betsy Bair, and my editorial colleagues Barbara Scofidio, Sue Hatch, Regina Baraban, Tamar Hosansky, Barbara Brewer, Kristen Payson, and Larry Keltto, we saw our ideas come to life on these pages.

I don't dare ask the Color Marketing Group if our colors are in line with their forecast, but I hope the new look makes the magazine more interesting, easier to read, and all-around more enjoyable. Please drop me a line at spelletier@meetingsnet.com, and let me know what you think.

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