Meetings No 20
A Congress is a Workplace
Atti Soenarso: Perhaps it is time to sharpen the tone.
Cover Story
All Under One Roof
Carin Kindbom: “The ‘all under one roof’ business approach is considered a key USP.”
While There’s Life, There’s Hope
Ever present words from the past.
Digital Mindset
AI and Robotics
Futurists: “Firms will need to strike a fine balance between AI and the human workforce.”
Safety and Security
CWT Global Forecast 2018
Security should be high on the planning agenda.
Brain Training
Sharp Brains on navigating brain training.
Business Events Must Adopt Olympic Safety Standards
Learn from previous Olympic events.
Clan vs State
The Clan Mentality is the Norm
Per Brinkemo on state and clan.
Sustainable Growth
The sustainability performance of 40 meeting and events cities.
Lunch With the Financial Times
An ­international “who’s who” of our time.
La Perle by Dragone
Emotions can be both a help and hindrance when creating a show.
AIME Launches Exhibitor Educational Series
Providing a deeper understanding of buyers.
Increasing Value of Meetings in Hamburg
Number of delegates visiting the city continues to grow.
60 Tips for a Stunningly Great Life
Robin Sharma on leadership.
Brain Check
Going Behind the Mind
Tomas Dalström on neuromarketing and digital vs. print advertising.
Where Event Design and Meetings Management Meet
Event quality is back on the table.
Van der Vijver
Locusts or Legacy?
Meeting designer Mike Van der Vijver: Bring the local community and the event community together.
Benny Andersson
On composition.
New Discovery on Memory Consolidation
Challenging a basic assumption about memory encoding.
The Saudi Arabian city of the future.
Obligations, Engagement and Legacy
Roger Kellerman: The word ‘obligation’ is high on the agenda.
New knowledge
Brain research
shows added value live events.
BTM World 2020
transitions to virtual.
post-pandemic momentum
Dubai Tourism forms Business Events Stakeholders committee,
host first meeting as industry resumes activity.
hotel news
Scandic expects
occupancy of 30-35 percent for September.
Covid developer
Scandic Hotels
launches the largest network of coworking spaces in the Nordic countries.
planned for 16-17 Sep
Update on GIAF
- New dates set for 5-6 November 2020.
Sands Expo and Convention Centre
is now a carbon neutral venue.
positive impact
The Hague webinar
celebrates partnerships and first anniversary of Ottawa MOU.
expanding network
ICCA Partners up
with Geneva International Associations Forum (GIAF).
Sponsored Content
Taiwan Ready to Reopen to the World
Over 80 events taking place in Taipei now.
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A Congress is a Workplace

During a recent conversation with Martin Sirk, CEO of ICCA, in the Braindate Room of the Prague Congress Center at the ICCA World Congress, we began discussing how delegates would explain their participation in the congress to their managers and colleagues. Last year when the congress was held in Kuching on Borneo, several Convention Bureaus refused to send their employees to Malaysia for fear of what the newspapers at home would write. Or, as a delegate in Prague put it: “It’s more politically correct to attend a congress in Europe.”

We ourselves lean towards the section of the media that expects the management of a Convention Bureau to allow as many employees as possible to attend an ICCA congress wherever it is in the world. Last year we were many who went to Malaysia, this year we met in Prague, next year we will meet again in Dubai. In the eyes of many companies, organisations and, not least, the media, the attractiveness of the destination seems to overshadow the purpose of the congress itself. Perhaps it is time to sharpen the tone. A congress is a facilitated external workplace. Delegates from 81 countries made their way to Prague to maintain and expand their networks, to share knowledge and experience, catch up with new ideas and get one or two aha! moments. And we get all of this while at work. We arrive at an external workplace where everything is served on a plate for a whole week: seminars, Wi-Fi, chats with colleagues during coffee breaks, lunches and dinners, and on the bus to and from the evening programmes. Could it be any more efficient?

At an ICCA congress you will also be informed of the future meetings that could be coming to your town’s congress centre and hotels. Here you will find suppliers, PCOs and DMCs. In other words, all the people who create all the congresses, particularly the associations that have produced the world’s foremost knowledge congresses for decades. If we cannot explain that to our local media then it is, frankly, rather embarrassing. It is about more than just filling hotel rooms and restaurants. It is about honing our own skills, developing our universities and colleges, our politicians, maybe even the odd journalist who would rather focus on every penny spent than show an interest in the work you are doing or what a congress entails.

Prepare your arguments, have control over your expenditure and be transparent towards the people who question your organisation’s participation at a congress. By being well-prepared prior to arriving at your external workplace, the congress, you can contribute to making the working days more worthwhile throughout the year. Not only for you but your organisation. At the end of the day, perhaps even the journalist will find a good story in what you have achieved.

Let me take a good example: Sadiq Aman Khan is a British Labour politician. In May last year he became the new mayor of London. When Khan understood what a medical congress could bring to London and the people living there, he said obvious things like: “We will hold more medical congresses in London because they enable our doctors to hone their skills.” Indirectly, he also said: “If the people working to attract more international congresses to our city do not do their job by being a part of international networks then how will we ever find the best congresses?”

ICCA congresses are not unnecessary. They are crucial for your town and your regional development. If you are not seen, you do not exist.