Meetings No 23
Pressure on Meetings International
Atti Soenarso: “At this point, we do not believe our ears.”
Cover Story
Catherine Boissier, Astra Zeneca
“Meetings are a vital tool.”
Cities across Canada Are Attracting Global Meetings
Due in large part to academics and industry innovators across a variety of sectors.
The Cost of Not Thinking
Mark Turrell: Applying conscious thought makes a big difference.
Dubai Tourism Launches Sponsorship Scheme
Designed to empower leisure event organisers.
Economic Development
Dubai Expo 2020 to Deliver $33bn Boost to UAE Economy
Expo 2020 is a long-term investment in the future of the UAE.
Calgary’s BMO Centre Set for Expansion
Funding approved for a $500 million expansion.
Longterm Development
The Potential of Cambodia
Visothy So: “We want to attract a lot of meetings and events.”
Canada Is the First Country to Have a National AI Strategy
Canada is in the lead of a global AI race.
‘She Means Business’ Digs into Diversity at IMEX Frankfurt
Diversity and inclusion are the linchpin of ‘She Means Business’.
The Business and Power of Placemaking
Placemaking in the spotlight at IMEX.
IMEX Frankfurt Shines a Light on Diversity and Inclusion
“Diversity means diversity of people, minds, ideas, and approaches.”
IMEX Agency Directors Forum
A highly relevant and future-focused programme.
Emirates Working on AI-Powered Flight Assistant
“The advancement of the next wave in aviation innovation.”
How to Fireproof Your Productivity
Exponential gains in your exceptionality, productivity and impact.
Volvo Car Group, a Human-Centric Meeting Culture
Paul Welander: “It’s always best when you meet live; for me that’s a meeting.”
The Art of Taking the Chance
“Many of the participants said it was the best congress ever.”
legacy language
unveil new Impact Measurement research for global associations.
planning for the future
to host BMX World Championships 2025.
joining forces
Meet in Reykjavík
is now under the umbrella of Promote Iceland.
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.
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The Cost of Not Thinking

You’re in a hurry in the morning, a little distracted. You’ll take the U-Bahn in Berlin for a half hour to get to where you need to be. In your wallet you have two remaining unused tickets, tickets that need to be validated before you step onto the train. Berlin has an honour system rather than controlled barriers, so it is easy to jump on a train without a ticket … If you are willing to take the risk. Or if you are not thinking.

Cost of mind wandering and not stamping your ticket? 40 Euro. Cost of the single ticket, bought in a four-pack? Euro 2.25.*

You are a bit busy booking flights. You have a lot of options open, but then you are delighted to find a cheaper ticket that seems perfect. You go through the payment process, whilst doing something else in another tab of your browser. A few days later you print out your boarding pass and go happily on time to the airport. At the security entrance your ticket does not scan problem. You show it to the supervisor. Your ticket is for July not June. You now need to buy another super-expensive ticket at the last minute to go with your friends, whilst losing the money from the old ticket.

Cost of not paying attention and buying on autopilot? 80 Euro for the first ticket, 280 Euro if you buy another, or add in an extra 300 Euro loss for not going on holiday. Lost memories? Priceless. Apart from the memory of standing like an idiot at the ticket desk complaining that it is the web site’s fault and not yours.*

I am intrigued by the amount of overtly thoughtless behaviors that permeate today’s life. Entrepreneurs deciding to spend half their meagre cash on an online marketing campaign … without having a clear grasp of their target customer, and before they have a shipping product. People clicking on the first story they see and sharing … without digging around a few extra minutes to find out if the story is real.

As I dig in more, I find that this lack of thinking is a lot more pervasive than I initially considered. Sensible looking people recite mantras about how things work, how ’people’ do things … and when poked, me asking, “Ok, so if everyone lies, do you lie and when was the last time?’, they stumble, mentally and verbally confused, fighting to internalise their personal experience with the generalities they happily spout out automatically.

There is so much nonsense and non sense going around. I could imagine there is a comfort factor of being in a herd that does the same thing, unthinkingly making decisions, sharing opinions, and generally going about life.

But maybe if we stop to think, and then stop to think again about the consequences of non-thought, we would save ourselves time, money, effort, heartache.

I did some personal experiences a while ago on eating with thought. I decided to cut back on sugar and began a two-week period of making changes to make that happen. I had been inspired by the book Mindless Eating which had opened my eyes to a lot of programmed behavior we have in the specific area of food. Sure enough I was suddenly captivated watching myself as I walked into the kitchen, opening the cupboard doors where the chocolates might be hiding, taking one if they were there (and then another), or closing the door, saddened, opening all the other doors, walking out … and then a half hour later doing the same thing again.

Applying conscious thought began to make a big difference. I decided to buy carrots to have something fun and nutritious to munch on. I changed the food requests on the shopping lists to not buy the things I craved but did not need. I gave myself in-head challenges going out to have no dessert, or to only have a single spoonful if at an event with a free dessert shoved under my nose in a social context.

Thinking really does make a difference. Thinking about things can save you a ton of money.

Do you really need this thing you want to buy? (No – that answer works in almost all cases.)

Is this the best option I can find (for booking a trip, etcetera)? Probably not, and another ten minutes of digging might save you a bunch or open up new possibilities.

Do I sound like a TED-talk loving robot-idiot? Which impresses most people, for sure, just not the people you might want to impress.

There are ways of working with yourself to help you think more. If you have areas where you often make mistakes, work out a way of fixing those mistakes. For instance, I used to lose my bus tickets in back pockets. Then I put them always in the same place in my wallet. And then , major improvement , I switched to the online app version which was faster to use, cheaper, and meant I never made a mistake (unless the phone died!).

You can programme yourself so that questions pop up in your head at key moments. When I am chatting about deeper philosophical issues, relationships and more, I use the questions ’does this make sense?’ and ’does this apply to me … or to you?’. The later is helpful to separate out bland general statements of little value with personal insights that can usefully expand one’s model of the world.

I am positive in a future where more people think more of the time in ways that add personal and social value. No one can be happy looking like an idiot forking out fines for things they forgot or spending thousands and draining a company bank account for nonsense expenses.

Today’s people are ready to change, and ready for a more thoughtful future.

OK, most of them. Most of the time. Hopefully.

*Note: these were not my direct experiences! I see the first all the time in Berlin on certain routes, and the second was at Berlin SXF with the guy coming in behind me stranded.

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