The challenge of change often frustrates religious meeting planners. When confronted with it, some meeting planners throw their hands up in despair. However, considering the following things will enable us to properly embrace and enjoy the changes in the industry:

We must face the reality of change. A lot has happened in the last 25 years. Religion, politics, finance, hospitality, and meeting planning have all seen great changes. Facing this reality is essential to success. Technology has altered the way we do business. E-mail is more popular than letters today, and myriad other changes have affected the way we plan meetings. Yet some things remain the same. In spite of all the changes in the hospitality industry, we still must cultivate relationships. We should not be afraid of change but seek to incorporate it into our meeting planning.

We must focus our response to change. How the meeting planner responds to change is the key to coping with it. One response is denial. This type of meeting planner will not acknowledge that change has occurred. Another response is disapproval. No matter how beneficial change might be, the meeting planner disapproves and will not change. Another response is direction and discernment. This type of meeting planner notes change exists and gives gentle direction to the change process in his or her organization. This planner also responds by noting the value of change. This planner has the ability to change what can be changed, while refusing to change what should remain the same.

The results of change need not be final. Change often produces more change. The effective meeting planner quickly learns to use the tools at his or her disposal for planning and preparing for an event. Learning to adjust and to make the proper changes will serve us well in the long run. It will provide the basis for a rich and rewarding meeting-planning career. Coping with change will always be an individual matter — and some of us have the ability and aptitude to do so more easily than others — but all of us must learn to cope with change.