Jim Fausel, president of The Conference Connection, a division of Community Resource Associates, a meeting management firm based in Scottsdale, Ariz., knows something about spirtuality, a topic almost everyone has explored after the terrible events of September 11. The independent meeting consultant studied philosophy and theology at Niagara University in New York and spent a decade as a Catholic priest.

Meeting professionals function in a variety of settings, says Fausel, hosting diverse events. As an event progresses, planners expect the affair to run a certain course, deviating now and again only ever so slightly. All the components of an event—location, atmosphere, attendess—set the tone. But when something goes wrong, the tone can quickly shift to crisis mode.

When crisis mode occurs, a good planner should know how to take into account the attendees and his or her co-workers. The planner needs to understand how they might operate in crisis mode.

"As we strive to be understood as planners and people, we have to ask ourselves how effective are we at understanding others’ viewpoints and perspectives? What is our comfort level with the business of ‘spirituality’ in the workplace? How do we honor and respect others in the industry on whom our success is dependent? Are we valued for who we are and what we do?" Fausel says.

"I think we need to re-examine our values and how we treat each other. There are two kinds of ‘spirituality:’ religious and secular. I concentrate on the latter, because we need to do several things. We need to work out our priorities and function well in a spiritual void. We need to strengthen and maintain our personal values and ethics, manage difficult people and help others be nice. We need to learn to keep our cool while those about us lose theirs. We need to discover hospitable virtues, garner respect, and get results. And we need to reduce the stressors in our lives. Those that impact our ability to function well, especially in situations that are confounding and often include crisis."

For more with Jim Fausel, check out the December issue of Corporate Meetings and Incentives magazine.