Every year, the RCMA Board of Directors selects a theme for the next RCMA World Conference and Exposition. Likewise, most religious meeting planners choose themes for the various meetings that they work on. Banners, buttons, badges, programs, Web sites and letterhead reflect that theme. Themes provide a springboard to successful, cohesive, and meaningful programming.

Webster's New World College Dictionary defines theme as “a recurring, unifying subject or idea.” Here are some important considerations for successful theme development:

  • What one message could cascade over a meeting, providing lift, distinctiveness, and energy?

  • A good theme is brief and must give a clear message.

  • Easy connection. The mind is a crowded place; therefore, only messages that are already connected to the mind are allowed in and remain.

  • Often it matters not so much what the theme is; more often, it matters where the people are and what they know.

  • In our information-rich society, the simple message has the best chance of getting through.

  • Where multiple entities within an organization come together, collaboration is important.

Good theme examples are everywhere. A quick glance at the TV Guide illustrates some one- to three-word listings that companies pay large sums of money to use. Some of the better examples include Outdoor Life, Lifetime, The Learning Channel, Shop At Home, and all the familiar acronyms such as CNN, NBC, CBS, and the like.

Themes deliver powerful and energetic messages about a meeting. Think and plan your themes carefully. It's worth the effort.