I was recently asked by a junior member at the cricket club what I do for a living, which is harder to answer than you might imagine. Whilst we are certainly in the business of meetings and events that doesn’t really get to the core of what our industry is about and stands for. The truth is that events are really just a channel, a means to an end, and it is that end goal that really matters because ultimately for meetings and events to be successful they need to change behaviour and have a positive effect on business improvement.
The next five years will see this focus become ever more prevalent as we see clients change how they utilise their own internal resources resulting in an increasingly mobile, highly skilled, independent labour market. When combined with a mismatch between traditional in-house event planning departments and clients’ business models, volatile economics and a focus on value we are going to increasingly see change. This will in turn create a need for events to deliver far more than the sorts of ROI we have historically been measured against. Instead they are going to have to achieve fundamental organisational changes that drive improved performance.
These changes present an opportunity for the whole industry to innovate and redefine how our services are delivered by challenging companies to think strategically about their meetings and event activities – whether they hold one or one thousand events a year, the principal remains the same. Ultimately, we need to think beyond the simple tasks surrounding event logistics and technology and instead take the time to understand our clients, their business model and resource deployment. Through that process we can gain true insight from the knowledge developed through analysis of clients, which in turn will allow us to deliver event based strategies that will achieve institutional change for the better.
So the truth is I am not much closer to defining what I do in terms that the aforementioned cricket star of the future can understand. Ours is a highly developed and professional industry with capabilities that are still in some cases untapped. It is therefore no surprise many people opt for the simple option and say they “work in events”. Personally though, I prefer to say that our industry improves business performance.