Successful Meetings - October 2007 - (Page 88)

Best Practices > MiGurus experts’ blogs from Words from the Wise LIVING AND WORKING WITH ILLNESS For many years, the “C” word (cancer) was whispered. There was a sense that if you said it out loud, you’d “catch it.” About three years ago, two industry friends, both cancer survivors, suggested we do a session at a Meeting Professionals International (MPI) conference to talk about living and working while undergoing treatment for major illnesses or being a caregiver for someone else while also working. These friends asked if I would moderate the session and I readily agreed. Jean Jaworek The Nielsen Into that session came Company many women, one of whom New York, NY had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and hadn’t told her employer; another, a woman who had undergone brain cancer and was in recovery; others who were in various stages of various illnesses; and still others who wanted to hear what was said to be personally and professionally prepared. Two men also attended. One, Jaime, was a young colon cancer survivor; the other, Chuck, was someone caring for a friend with a major illness. That session gave those in attendance the ability to talk about working in an industry where we all believe we have to be upbeat all the time (we are, after all, about hospitality!) whether we feel well or not. Many people shared their personal stories about employers who were great and allowed time off; others, and in particular the woman who was just diagnosed with breast cancer, needed to know how to talk about it in her employment situation where she was the only woman. We cried and we laughed. We discussed the importance of early detection. I shared my story of having my first colonoscopy just before my 50th birthday and the diagnosis: the discovery of three very small polyps with the highest level of pre-cancerous cells that, had they not been found and removed, would have resulted in fullblown cancer in months. It was the first time that many revealed their vulnerabilities and their fears and where others talked about how to manage illness and work. We still need to do a lot of work when it comes to healthcare and our attitudes about those who are sick and want to work. —Joan Eisenstodt PRE-MEETING JITTERS? HOW TO CALM YOURSELF Meetings make me nervous. There, I’ve said it, well, I was actually mouthing the words while typing, but I’m taking ownership of my anxiety, putting it out there . . . sharing. It doesn’t matter whether I’m planning one, attending one, or if I’m the talking head perched atop a lectern, the prospect of the experience always makes me sweat. Projecting my own experience, I’m thinking quite a few others—even some with PLANNER embossed on their business cards—share my angst and could benefit from a few pre-conference, jitter-reduction strategies. Here’s a list of what works for me: Never go to a meeting hungry. If you wait to eat when everyone else is eating, you might not get to it. You’ll be too busy making sure everyone else is getting what they need. You don’t want to deal with this stuff when your blood sugar starts to totter or hit the skids. Your meeting triage skills will be sharpest if you have at least some brain fuel available. Bring your own pen, a spare, and something to write on. If this is a no-brainer, how is it that I have never attended a meeting where I or someone around me has failed to ask for one or the other? Say hello to people in your orbit of activity and smile. When you feel edgy or nervous, there’s a tendency to blow small occurrences up to maximum proportions. It is a good idea to remind yourself that there are others with you, who might be able to help you with whatever. Conveying a sense of how glad you are to see them is an important reminder. You are not alone. Deep breathing. When you get the tightness of chest that is the precursor of tears, an angry outburst, or panic, a few lung-swelling, modulated breaths can save the day. You want to do a good job. A few or all of these steps might help you get it done. They might help you remember to enjoy it too. —Jean Jaworek OCTOBER 2007 SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS Joan Eisenstodt, Eisenstodt Associates, LLC Washington, DC 88

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - October 2007

Successful Meetings - October 2007
Editor's Note
On the Record
Technology Talk
Mouth for Sale
On Site
Tools of the Trade
Striking a Balanace
IACC’s New Generation
Suffering from “Green” Fatigue?
There Once Was a Group in Nantucket . . .
A Trick and a Treat
Places & Spaces
Reno / Lake Tahoe
New Orleans
Los Cabos & Baja
Ontario Province

Successful Meetings - October 2007