A few months ago, Meeting Professionals International rolled out a new branding statement: "The Power of Meetings." Those four words came to life for me at the recent Motivation Show in Chicago.
During one general session, Gregory Reid, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Yellow Freight Systems, described a time when his company faced serious problems with breakage and lost packages. To send a message to his top people, he shipped each of them a logoed glass with a note asking them to bring it to the annual management meeting for a special toast. The catch: He shipped exactly the proportion of broken glasses as the company's breakage rate, and "lost" exactly the same percentage as his company loses packages. At the toast, when he asked attendees to raise their glasses, many thought it was funny that they hadn't received theirs, or that they had arrived shattered. "You think it's funny?" he shouted, stunning his audience. "This is exactly the kind of service we've been giving our customers every day!" Try to duplicate the power of that moment in a memo!
And now, for a completely different kind of powerful experience: How about a ride around Chicago in a Ferrari? Giuseppe Lepri, who heads up a Florence-based, decided this was the only way to show potential customers at the meeting what he can do for them back in Italy, where he has a fleet of 40 Ferraris on call for groups. Let me tell you: No brochure or sales pitch can convey the thrill of slipping into a lipstick-red F355 Spider convertible. If I were bringing a group to Italy, Giuseppe would be one of my first calls.
Then there was the reception we hosted one afternoon for the winners of our annual awards programs - the properties our readers choose each year as their favorites. Readers from our six meeting industry magazines mingled with each other, the wine flowed freely, and business cards passed hands. People were delighted to meet our special guest, CMI columnist Bob Nelson (author of 1,001 Ways to Reward Employees), whom they'd seen give a presentation to a packed house earlier that day. There's no better way to create a sense of community among your customers.
And that's what MPI means by "the power of meetings." All three experiences happened within 24 hours of each other at a single event. They couldn't have happened any other way.