37 minutes | Oct 29th 2020

SL085: The Changing Role Of The Meeting Planner

The Changing Role Of The Meeting Planner James Taylor interviews Jessie States and they talked about the changing role of the meeting planner.

In today's episode Jessie States they talk about the changing role of the meeting planner.

Jessie States, CMM, is the manager of professional development for Meeting Professionals International, where she delivers education in support of MPI’s global live event portfolio. Jessie has been a part of the meeting and event community since 2006 when she joined MPI as a storyteller for The Meeting Professional magazine. Since then she has written hundreds of articles and blogs on meetings and events; penned six editions of the International Association of Venue Managers’ Business Barometer; and served as primary editor for MPI’s research initiatives on strategic meetings management, meeting design, business value of meetings and virtual and hybrid events. In 2017 she was named one of the 25 most influential people in meetings and events by Successful Meetings Magazine.

What we cover:

  • The Changing Role Of The Meeting Planner
  • From event tactics to event strategy
  • The rise of Flipped events
  • Inside the mind of the event professional

Resources:

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Read full transcript at https://speakersu.com/the-changing-role-of-the-meeting-planner-sl085/

James Taylor Hi, it's James Taylor, founder of SpeakersU. Today's episode was first aired as part of International Speakers Summit the world's largest online event for professional speakers. And if you'd like to access the full video version, as well as in depth sessions with over 150 top speakers, then I've got a very special offer for you. Just go to InternationalSpeakersSummit.com, where you'll be able to register for a free pass for the summit. Yep, that's right 150 of the world's top speakers sharing their insights, strategies and tactics on how to launch grow and build a successful speaking business. So just go to InternationalSpeakersSummit.com but not before you listen to today's episode.

Hey, there is James Taylor, and I'm delighted today to be joined by Jessie States. Jessie States CMM is the manager of personal development for meeting professionals International, which delivers education in support of mpis Global live event portfolio. Jesse has been part of the meeting and event community since 2006, when she joined MPI as a storyteller for the meeting professional magazine. Since then, she has written hundreds of articles and blogs on meetings and events pinned six editions of the International Association of venue managers business barometer, and serve as primary editor of mpis research initiatives on things like strategic meetings, management, meeting design, business value of meetings, and verge on hybrid events. In 2007, she was named at one of the 25 Most Influential People in meetings and events by successful meetings magazine. It's my great pleasure to have Jesse join us today. So welcome, Jesse. Thank you so much. So share with everyone what's going on in your world just now.

Jessie States Well, right now I'm gearing up for the CMP conclave, it's coming up in a few weeks in DC. I'm also working on some of our regional poi events planning to be a gbta in Frankfurt and putting together educational program for next year. Awesome.

James Taylor So I mentioned at the start there, you kind of came into the meeting and events industry in about 2006. How did that all kind of began, just tell us that the early journey for you and interesting. I mean, who were those early mentors for you when you first got started?

Jessie States Yeah, I think that I've always been a storyteller at heart. And so I took my degree in journalism, and was offered a job here at an industry magazine. And I was able to convert that love of storytelling into selling the stories of meetings and events, and the true behavior change and business drivers that they've become over the past decades, and really taking the opportunity to truly help businesses understand how important meetings are for creating new business for creating new growth for for growing organizations for changing behaviors within organizations. And I converted that as I moved throughout my career into the research initiatives. And again, making sure that those initiatives, not only academically were rigorous and valid, but also had that storytelling to them. So that it wasn't just a series of statistics and data, it was a story that we could share. And then I started to realize, through no fault of our own, but meeting professionals are just a little too busy to read 100 pages of research. So I took that same storytelling strategy and started to create education out of those research initiatives. Because while we can't always take a couple of hours to sit down and try to understand what research is telling us, we can sit and listen and discuss what that research means for the future of meetings.

James Taylor So I'm interested as well, I mean, when you first started was Was there someone at MPI that was a key mentor for you. Was it maybe someone in the industry that can take you under their wing? Or did you just kind of have to like gonna build your own way into the business?

Jessie States No, I think that there were there were several women who were important parts of my early and mid career, who I could definitely call out now Vicki Howerton, who went on to be the CEO of the venue managers Association, Cindy Diaz, who is now the head of CLIA, the cruise line Industry Association. There were many, many women here at MPI, who were mentors and who took me under their wing and really encouraged me to grow

James Taylor in that. I'm just thinking now, I mean, I'm sure that in the course of your work, you're always meeting people are just coming into the industry for the first time. They're just getting started. You know, what's that maybe a key piece of advice that you give them, someone that's just just getting on that note that first year of themselves themselves in some point at some part of the events industry.

Jessie States It's funny that you asked me that just earlier today, someone sent me an email and said, Hey, I was a homemaker for a long time. I'm now going back and getting my degree in marketing, and I'm really interested in readings, what should I do? And so I really love the opportunity and cherish the opportunity to to help people who are entering the industry, the The great thing is, is that it's the perfect time to enter meetings and events. The research shows that 30% of organizations are hiring full time employees right now. That's a huge number. US Bureau of Labor Statistics says that industry job growth is going to increase by 10%, between 2016 and 2026. So it's a great time to be in meetings. And absolutely, I think that one of the biggest pieces of advice is to get out there, be part of industry associations, go to networking events, go to educational professional development events, find a mentor, someone who's going to encourage you to grow, and just really put yourself out there, even if you're someone who's not comfortable in these types of situations, set goals for yourself. I'm not the easiest person at networking events, either. It's really, really hard for me to go to people, I don't know. But if I set goals for that networking event, if I know what I'm trying to accomplish while I'm there, if I've set objectives on how I'm going to do it, then I feel much more comfortable stepping out of myself and meeting new people.

James Taylor So you mentioned you kind of started in the industry about 2006. I'm interested in, because you're right, you're dealing with people in the industry all the time. How is that? How is the role? I mean, we often will hear that phrase that your event planners, let's say, and I tend not to use it that that that phrase, so my event professionals is the one I tend to use because it's it's a broader category. But how has the role of what we maybe think of as an event planner, or event professional changed since you started to where we are, where we are today, and where perhaps we're going to be going in the future? I think

Jessie States that's a pretty loaded? It's a pretty interesting question. Um, when you look at what happened to meetings, when the great recession hit, you look at the way organizations cut them as if it was something that was expendable, as if it was something that wasn't a business necessity. I think that that's when the role would our role in meetings truly started to see as a huge paradigm shift. Before that we had meeting professionals out there who understood the strategy behind meetings, who could articulate their value to organizations who could share how much ROI was being delivered by their meetings. But if we weren't able to, to conceptualize that, if we weren't able to communicate that to our senior leaders, that's where we truly ran into trouble. And that's why our own meetings outlook business barometer, right before the recession hit about six months before it hit, we started to see a huge cut in meetings and events that we couldn't articulate or understand. And about six months later, we realized it was because the recession was coming. And the first thing that businesses were cutting were their meetings and events. And so what we don't want to see is for that to happen again. But we don't want to see as for businesses not to understand the crucial role that meetings play in, in the strategy behind their businesses, and how meetings truly drive change, impact the bottom line, and positively, positively impact the business. And so the better we're able to articulate that as an industry and take our role away from what you described as the logistics of meeting planning and truly describe the value that we're bringing to businesses, we're going to be much better off the next time we had an economic cycle, I guess also applies in terms of in the world of politics and policy, public policy, because the thing I never realized until very recently was was that the events industry is bigger than the automobile industry. I mean, it's just I mean, it's a massive when you take all these different component parts of it as well, but always feels like, you know, there's some other great recession when that happened. You know, there's a lot of automobile companies getting bailed out for the different things. But it felt like the events industry maybe kind of got overlooked. It didn't seem to have a seat so much at the table at that point. Exactly. There was there, there wasn't any kind of a realization, any kind of research out there, really, that was showing the value that meetings but now, we do have research now you have studies now that show that businesses that didn't cut their meetings fared better than the competition that did we didn't have it at that point. So so it's I think it's it's very interesting way for us to look at the way we articulate our value to to these event owners to these business owners.

James Taylor Now know one of the things that you and I both really passionate about, and really kind of interested in is how things like artificial intelligence are changing the events industry as well. Can you maybe talk now what you're saying, because because part of your role is really looking at the research and looking at where things are going to in order to help train, you know, meeting professionals to what's what's going to be coming up soon. So what are some of the things that you're starting to see, especially when it comes to AI, perhaps automation and robots I watched,

Jessie States I watched a really interesting YouTube yesterday about a product that's just come out into the marketplace. It's an artificial intelligence personal assistant. And this personal assistant will schedule meetings for you. They'll reach out to the other person who you want to hold a meeting with. Find a common time put it into your calendar, if you need to cancel the meeting or reschedule this artificial intelligence service will go and reschedule find a new time where you both can meet sending emails back and forth to this other person. And I started and I've been thinking but but if this video Kind of illustrated what I've been thinking. And that is these logistical roles that meeting professionals do now the ordering of meals, the finding of venues and destinations, all of these things are something that in the near future are going to be very easy to automate, they're going to be very easy for our artificial intelligences to to calculate the different things that we use formulas for now to to book meeting rooms to to do some of the the the tactical elements that make up the meeting profession right now. And so what does that mean for meeting events, when and looking back at some of the industries that have been lost to automation in many ways, is that is that future meetings is the is the meeting profession as we know it going to be gone in 10 years. And if it is, if that is the case, that all of these things will be automated that AI and robots will be taking care of all of these things they'll be doing. But we have algorithms that calculate the perfect number of coffee cups, to put in a room based on your attendees. last 10 years of consumption. If all of that is true, then we need to have a completely different value proposition as an industry, we need to completely change the way we talk about what our roles are, what our jobs are. And the strategy behind what we do, we need to really be move ourselves from a logistical logistical job description to a consulting job description to one that talks about strategy. And and the words that we use as we articulate who we are and the value that we bring to the C suite. And to senior level managers, it's going to be really very important.

James Taylor It's funny, I just as you were talking, saying that I'm reminded of the industry, I first came from the music industry where we first saw it where if we think about any kind of industry, where you have the kind of content and then you have the community, you know, around it, or the you know, the the networking side around it. And what we saw was that the content part kind of came back in term stuffing and the value because so much content was very freely available out there in different ways, watch YouTube videos, watch TED Talks. But the the community part actually went up. And if I look at now, live events are absolutely booming, like life festivals. Absolutely. So it's like, so even though we've seen this massive new technology and digitalization, actually the community aspect, and it has gone up, and I don't know how you feel, but I seem to I feel this as a speaker, where that it used to be it was like maybe 5050, it felt often like the the content and you know, the keynotes and the discussions and things. And then the other 50% was was the kind of community net, the networking, it feels, to me a long time where the networking part is actually become more important now, and I guess we're AI, you talk about that, those tools to be able to schedule meetings and find the right connections for you to have that that's going to really start to come into its own now.

Jessie States Absolutely. And the reasons that people that people attend meetings, the reasons people come together, they spend money to come together that's changing. And in the past, it has been to to listen to the subject matter expert to hear the panel discussion, to sit back, and, and, and, and receive information. And that's just no longer the case. Actually, people attend meetings to meet each other, and they want to meet each other, they want to learn from each other. And they want to learn from subject matter experts. And they want to learn in their own context as well, because they curate their own educational experiences every day using technology. And when they come on site at a meeting, they have their own unique challenges that they want answered, and they won't get ROI. And they won't feel like they had a good conference unless those specific challenges are answered. So how are we connecting people together? technology is getting there. Technology is getting to the point where we're having Amazon type recommendations based on your profile of who should you should meet while you're on site at an event. But how are we as meeting professionals curating those experiences? How are we bringing people together in new and unique ways? How are we helping them engage by the ways that we design the experience itself? And so it's it's a paradigm shift? Again, it's a big shift in the reasons why people are coming on site to meetings events, if you think about it, our youngest generation one entering conferences right now ages 24. So that's, that's Gen Z already. They're coming. They're here already. They have huge communities, friends, huge community, industry communities, they've never even met in person before. So how powerful is that experience to really meet somebody face to face for the first time. And that's going to be the power of meetings moving forward.

James Taylor I guess on that point. Think of it that that Gen Z that's coming through and the millennials, you could argue is that they've been that first generations that have been going through the flipped classrooms at school. So you know, the idea of like, I don't know, maybe you and I are at school, we we kind of go to that and you sit there in a lecture and someone would talk for an hour or 90 minutes or whatever, and then you would make notes and you get up and you go that's compelling. changed in schools, I, you know, all that stuff, you know, all that kind of pure kind of content like lecture style, they're getting online, so that they're actually the time that they are coming together is much more exploratory, much more creative, you could argue as well, because they really, they don't have to do all that stuff. It's, you know, it's there. I love that there's an expression where we're moving from the stage on the stage to the guide on the side. And so you're almost at Utah at the storytelling, like those kind of great event pressures, they're moving almost in that kind of storytelling curation role, rather than just being very logistics, you know, thinking about it. From that perspective,

Jessie States I think a couple thoughts on that, we're seeing about half of meeting professionals saying that their audience sizes are going up right now they're going up by about 1%, about the same amount of meeting professionals saying that their virtual events are going up by about 2.5%. And we're finding that meeting professionals are being much more strategic about when they hold an on site Live Meeting. And when they have a virtual event, they're realizing that they can move some of that educational content, some of that hard content, the thing that doesn't require any interaction that can be moved online before an actual event, the very flipped classroom style that you're talking about. So that when people come on site, they are focused in on that personal experience on having conversations about that content on creating solutions around that content on on facing the challenges that they as a group face, and in creating opportunity out of that. So we're seeing a rise in open space, we're seeing a rise in in conferences without agendas. We're seeing a rise in democracies and all kinds of different ways sector grants, all kinds of different ways that people are engaging with each other, and these new kind of learner formats.

James Taylor So it's always isn't that what you're talking about there is that, you know, the idea of the meeting professional is moving from being a tactician to being a strategist, that is going up too high. I mean, that's great. You know, if we think about where the future of jobs are going with, you know, ai speak on a lot where, over the next 20 years, 40% of jobs are just going to be gone. They're just being automated, and obviously new jobs will be created. But what that requires is that the people are working to invest in those kind of higher quality skills, like the creativity, innovation, for example, as well. So like, it sounds like the new event pressures, many of them are already kind of they get it they're there they can have they realized that having to rescale for that new new environment.

Jessie States Absolutely. So what we're seeing is the rise in strategic conversations. So instead of being a one way conversation, the meeting professional as an order taker, the meeting professional as the consultant, okay, business unit, what are your goals for this particular meeting? And how can my design my strategic design the meeting itself, how can we drive your business? So really being the designer, the mean designer, and saying, okay, you're wanting to increase sales by this much. This is how we're going to just design experience that does that.

James Taylor So I know, one of the things is a top of mind of a lot of people I've been speaking to recently has been the the safety and security aspects of events. I guess, and this is something that you're obviously doing a lot of research on, but you do a lot of training around this as well. Can you can you give me some of your thoughts on maybe someone that has, maybe they have their event there, they're running their event, but kind of the safety and security is, you know, they've kind of ticked the box to a certain extent, but they haven't really thought about it in a deep way and built some protocols and practices in there.

Jessie States So half of meeting professionals don't have a safety insert security plan for their events. Wow, 50% of meeting professionals don't don't have a plan at all. A lot of many, many others have a plan, but it has to be dusted off the shelf every year, they don't realize that your safety and security plan needs to change it every single different event that they have, that every single destination comes with different risks, that every single event venue comes with different threats, that they're the very content of their event could change the security planning that they have. So analyzing your meetings and events, looking at the different risks that those events face, categorizing those risks in terms of what's communicable. What's an acceptable risk for us? How do we mitigate the risks that we do find access that we do find acceptable? And how do we create plans, with our venues with our destinations with local law enforcement with local emergency management, in order to create safe experiences for our attendees is absolutely something that we as an industry start need to start to have a conversation about. MPI has developed a six hour certificate class in discussing just that. It's the theory of safety and security and how you can apply that not just in terms of the risk that you're planning for but impromptu planning as well. What's that process look like?

James Taylor I often wondered this when I see some event professionals Well, if I'm speaking at an event, we'll have some pre using our pre event conversations call we will touch on the safety security aspects and definitely when we're on the site, then we'll we'll go through those things as well. But you shared with me a really interesting kind of percentages as to, if something happens in a room, what people do, and this is going to just this is just like behavioral science really more than anything else. But you told me this, these numbers, I was really fascinated, and it got me thinking about as a speaker, especially if I'm that person, the lights on on the stage, what I need to perhaps do and the way I need to perhaps, you know, think and respond in situations.

Jessie States So, this comes from a partner of ours, it's the NCS four group out of the University of Southern Mississippi, that's the national spectator sports Safety and Security Center. So they are they are mega events, they do the safety and security for marathons and, and Super Bowls. But they have, they have a number that they look at it, it's 10 at 10. So 10% of people are going to be very, very active in the case of an incident. In the case of something happening, safety and security wise 10 are going to be very, very active and trying to assure people out and get them to the right place. 80% of people are going to sit there and wait for you to tell them to do something. So if the fire alarm is going off, they're still sitting there, they're waiting for the keynote, the voice of God, whomever it is to come on and tell them what to do. And then you have an additional 10%, who are somewhat obstructionist, they're the ones who aren't getting up even after you've told them to. So

James Taylor they're sitting there on their laptops, limited, everything's going on random. Yeah, that 10 at 10. That kind of blew, that blew me away. And and obviously, with the events recently in the news, it kind of got me thinking a lot more about it in terms of speakers as well, what we can do to ensure because if you are in a position where as a speaker, you're up on stage, and 80% of people are not going to do anything. That's a pretty mind blowing number that so thinking about what has to happen there. And I don't know if it was you mentioned, or maybe one of my other guests was talking about an event recently where something did happen. Thankfully, nothing, we were injured or anything but something happened. And the speaker completely froze on stage. And it is required when one of the organizers actually come on stage and pick that baton up and deal with it as well. But you can have lost seconds, you know, maybe even a minute there as well.

Jessie States And I think that's part of your crisis planning process is that you have to be able to plan for the fact that at key times, some members of your crisis team are not going to be available. And whether that's because of a medical emergency, whether that's because communication has been cut off, or whether that's because they just froze in the moment. That has to be part of the planning process, too. You have to be able to have Plan A, B, C and D. So what happens if your first line of defense isn't there? Who steps in? And what does that look like,

James Taylor you know, as as someone that is putting together events, you know, events can be stressful? You know, I think I saw a stat the other day that that event professionals is like the fifth most stressful job after like fire and you know, police and is like very out there. So what do you do in order to stay sane and stay healthy? Like during events and in the run up to events, when maybe things you know, there's a lot going on, I

Jessie States think we as meeting professionals take a lot of care and making sure that our attendees are having really healthy, relaxing experiences that they are in the perfect Zen place to accept learning, you know, we work really, really hard for our attendees, and we just ignore our own health. So we were so bad, those long hours, late hours, not taking care of ourselves, or our teams, just running around being very, very stressed out. So I think that that's something that we as an industry need to look at, to make sure that we're translating those experiences that we're telling our attendees are necessary for them. And making sure that we're we ourselves are being really, really healthy.

James Taylor So I know it's through the you have the MPI, the academy there as well, which kind of has a lot of these kind of training in spirit. I know you've got a lot of online site as well as the events. You know, what are you finding just now are people really looking for when it comes to the training piece? Is it still very much the tactical level? Or is it something new that's kind of coming into, you're getting a lot of requests for when it comes to training,

Jessie States we're getting a lot of requests for experience design, we people are looking for new and unique ways to create amazing experiences we no longer talk about sometimes some people have even moved away from calling them events anymore, you know, with everything is an experience, people are expecting an experience, not a meeting. So we're seeing a lot of education in that area. We're seeing a lot of push in that safety and security area. We're seeing a lot of engagement. And we're also seeing a lot of investment in time and thought being put into creative creating inclusive experiences. Our audiences are so diverse and so global, that they come from so many different countries and places they come from so many different backgrounds, it making sure that every single person that comes on site feels welcomed and comfortable is gonna really be so important.

James Taylor Yeah, I know. You mean, it's like, That's it? Yeah. It's like that it's funny because it's, um, I guess now with with a lot of these technologies, making some things like, you know, in terms of registrations much easier technologies around some of the artificial intelligence, it that time that hopefully is releasing for us to be able to think, Okay, I think more strategically in terms of like, what you actually want to achieve with this event, but then also thinking much more about that experience. And, and, and just, you know, releasing that time to be able to do that. I mean, I think about it a lot. Especially when it comes to AI where, I mean, I actually use AI in my my keynotes, I actually run, I'm running my keynotes now through IBM Watson, because I because they can tell me At what point in my keynotes things are gonna be a little bit flat, and I need to switch things up, you've been to story, you know, this in terms of a story, arc and things. So the way I'm using AI is, I can almost see it, this is great, because it's a tool for me, to allow me to focus on the thing that I'm hopefully good at, which is that you like telling stories, telling stories and crafting things and thinking much more strategically and thinking deeply and being more creative about stuff. And it sounds to me, like what's happening in the events industry more broadly, is that's kind of going on. So I don't have to worry about like, will this person have that vegan meal, because you know, that the systems will be in place, they'll be able to take some of those things. So releasing that time to go like, actually, what kind of experience do we want to create the efficiencies

Jessie States that are going to be created by this automation or something that we have to be able to take advantage of? So right now, there's no real job loss because of automation, we're still so kind of early in that process. But as those efficiencies continue, what what does that make more time for for the meeting professional and how can we utilize that time to create even better experiences I think is crucial.

James Taylor So let's go to maybe a little bit the more mundane my new whenever I go to any event speaking event I have my bag and there's certain things in my bag I never leave the home or the office without because they have to be my bag isn't that big school is usually things like clickers and all those things but but What's in your bag was in you know, you never leave Ted to an event without ensuring that it's in there

Jessie States as a speaker but also as a meeting professional. I'm making sure that that my that I have everything in there that that helps me feel comfortable that helps me feel whole like we were talking a little bit about wellness what is it that you need to bring with you or what is part of your personal brand that's just going to make you feel like you wake up in the morning and you're ready to go and so making sure that you have something that's kind of personal to you in that traveling making you feel grounded and whole I think is really important some lady at some people it might be their you know, their meeting pumps you know, whatever it is that keeps you focused on business I think is something that I that I like to keep in the back I'm not sure that's what you're or

James Taylor no actually funny if I was contacted recently by a friend of mine is in the music industry is working with Jennifer Jennifer Lopez and and her thing was candles and like very nice Jerome alone candles and which is a great British brand new Malone candles and and it just like sometimes sense for me I'm bigger than that as well. Like just having this like certain sense kind of makes me feel like home even if I'm in a different hotel room every night and everything. So sometimes for me that's the that's that's what does it.

Jessie States So that's that's that's awesome. I love that. I mean now I feel like I'm deficient in some way I need to go find something that I bring

James Taylor with me everywhere. We have to have a range of MPI candles. That's the next thing. We need to do the MPI candle rage for exclusively

Jessie States marking that right now.

James Taylor So what about online resources? Do you are there any kind of online tools or apps you find really useful to yourself?

Jessie States Yeah, I think that that? Well, first, I've just wanted to let everyone know about the MPI Academy. We have an online Academy of over 200 hours of resources sessions that you can attend, those are free for our members, but they're pushable purchasable for non members. And you talk about the tactics of meaning profession that's going to go all the way from from your contracting negotiations through to the strategy behind your meetings and events. So all of those things that we've talked about that are really really important for us to start concentrating on above and beyond the kind of booking of rooms and spaces and and making sure that that our that our rooms are setting the capacities are right above and beyond all that what makes a meeting experience great what what drives business for for organizations, when they're looking at their meetings, that education is going to be crucial, and we have that that's available for everyone. We do online webinars every week. We we just want to make sure that the meeting community is having the right conversation is connecting with the right people in a truly global way to make sure that we're not going to be left behind.

James Taylor Now you mentioned that you know the global aspects. I know you have these chapters. As you know, all over the, the globe as well. So when almost becomes an MPI member, as well as getting access to the academy into the, to the education side as well, I'm guessing there's a strong, actual live meetup kind of community aspect to what goes on as well,

Jessie States absolutely. We've got 16,000 Global meeting professionals who get together every month, in different ways to connect, to learn from each other to talk about those to actually host the experiences that we've been talking about why it's so important for people to meet face to face. So when you're when you're, it's hard for us as meeting professionals to explain what we do to our families and friends. You know, it's always like, Oh, you travel so much, it must be so much fun, you know, oh, you play in parties, you know. And so I think that at some point, you just need a family, you could go to understands who you are, and gets you and you can talk to them about your challenges. And you can create opportunities together. And you could do business together, because Gosh, darn it, you get each other. You know, it's I think that's part of the value too, in having a global community is the fact that, at least we don't have to, you know, give each other the elevator speech.

James Taylor I'm just as you mentioned, the party planner, thing I'm reminded of someone I recently spoke to who said, they were at an event, and a very well known speaker was up speaking and, and it was in front of actually primarily event professionals as well. And they use the phrase party planner, like throughout the entire event. And as a result, that speaker obviously got the worst kind of ratings on the thing, the thing as well. So, so yeah, I mean, I think I think there's, you know, obviously, a lot of what the MPAA does, is educating its members as well. But I guess you've got that big role of also educating people more generally, including speakers, including new supply other people within, within the industry, you know, government as well as to the value of what, what meetings are about.

Jessie States Absolutely. And that's, and that's what's going to be crucial, because you everyone who's attending this meeting today, or who's getting the this video or this content, you will you all get it. But there are hundreds of thousands of other meeting professionals out there who are just still doing tactics, who are just still being order takers. And and not only reaching them, but reaching business owners and CEOs and government agencies and sharing the value of meetings and the value of this role plays in driving business. Especially when we have people out there who don't know that yet, you know, how are we spreading that message? How are we sharing that story, because if we don't, we will be obsolete, and no one wants that to happen, we all understand the strategy behind meetings. So that's why it's so key and why I'm so thankful for your organization for hosting the summit. Because these are the kinds of conversations that we're going to be able to take back to our organizations, these are the kinds of global conversations that we need to be having, if we don't have them, we won't be here anymore. So not to pump you guys up. ratable what you're doing, and and it may have seemed small in the beginning, and you know, it's growing now, but the importance of what you're doing right now is going to change meetings moving forward.

James Taylor And I think this is one of the great things about online, I know you do a lot of webinars as well is that if you know, if you don't live in some of those big cities as big areas, or places as easy to get to, for events to meet with other meeting professionals, it's kind of difficult, you know, finding out and you know, that was one of the reason we want to do this was like, you know, we're probably gonna have people in over 100 countries, you know, on this just now as well. And, and just so they can learn from the best regardless of where they are in the world. They can just learn from some of the best experts in this field. I just want to ask you one question as we start to finish up here as well. I mentioned like apps and things, but is there maybe a book that you would recommend to someone I'm a big, I'm a huge reader. And I know a lot of my friends a huge read is a book that you would recommend around the events industry.

Jessie States I wish that I could remember the title of it, my my friend to hear it and Dean. She's a Canadian, and has been in our industry for a very, very long time. She just finished her new book on meeting design. And it's incredible. And unfortunately it's it's it's it's

James Taylor escaping my mind right now but look her up Google her name to hear it and D and E n d e a n, it's it's a really deep dive into meeting design meeting curation that I would absolutely recommend. Well, that's what I'm gonna, I'm gonna make sure we're going to put a link here as well for that. So we're gonna have all these links here. So and we'll also going to have a link here for MPI Academy, because we've been talking about this just now and I'm sure that anyone watching this, if you're attending this event, you're obviously you care deeply about, you know, continued professional development as well. So we want to help you kind of continue that, that journey. So we're going to have have a link here, as well. Jesse, it's been an absolute pleasure speaking to you today and learning about the amazing work that the MPI does no amazing what you're doing with MPI As well, is there any any kind of final kind of parting kind of parting words that you would give maybe as someone that's watching this just now listening to this just now just getting started in the in the industry? Is there any kind of final words you would say to them,

Jessie States what we do is so important to small businesses, large businesses, government agencies, geopolitics, the economics, tax growth, the number of jobs we touch, the number of jobs we create, the number of businesses that we drive. When we meet, we had MPI, say, when we meet, we change the world. And that's true on even the smallest of scales. Every time you hold a meeting, you're changing lives. What we do, what we do, to drive career growth, to create change in our industry is to bring governments together to to enact laws that help people every time we meet every time you bring people together, you're changing lives. And so just keep that in mind that the child struggles the everyday day to day the things that drive us mad the stress that we put our bodies through, just know how many lives you're touching. And that every time you bring people together, you're helping to

James Taylor drive change. Well, Jesse has a beautiful way to leave this, this conversation and this interview. Thank you so much for coming on today. Sharing your brilliance sharing your enthusiasm about this amazing industry that we're all in as well. I wish you all the best I wish you all the best in the future as well.

Jessie States Thank you so much for having me.

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