By Magdalina Atanassova, Marketing Communications Manager, Kenes Group


IMEX Frankfurt 2016 – the annual gathering of the meetings industry in Messe Frankfurt. Each year, the best and the latest is presented within the 3 days of IMEX, with the tendency to use the shoulder days before and sometimes after the show for more focused education, inspiration and networking. The reason we gather at IMEX is to touch the pulse of the industry and to ask some of the hard-hitting questions – what will bring change to the industry; how are the big disruptors going to affect our business; how can we grow further, etc. The answers are mostly similar, the talk is pretty much the usual, and obviously we keep our fingers crossed that nothing will disrupt our bubble we call meetings industry. But one key question remains somewhat unaddressed – WHY? Why are we truly in this industry?

The answer here won’t require the input of a millennial, the use of social media or engaging the sharing economy. Because, while we believe we develop and grow by upgrading our gadgets, it’s obvious that not too many of our clients are willing to follow. Isn’t the answer to this discrepancy lying exactly in the fact that we often forget our “WHY” – that same why that Simon Sinek defines in his popular TED talk about the Golden Circle or Let’s Start with Why.

And then there’s stress. If you are in the business of organising events, you are very familiar with it. As we know, there is positive stress and there is negative stress – the positive stress can help you grow and develop (i.e. as lifting weights in the gym) while the negative stress has many harmful effects on us. We want to escape this type of stress or limit it to a reasonable few times a year, as of course in today’s reality you surely cannot avoid it altogether. But we need to realise that events bring more than stress to us as organisers and can act as a different, positive stress to its audiences as well.

This is where these two points tie together and where IMEX takes centre stage. This is our WHY – the reason we are in this business. In essence, it is to change the world. Each event we organise facilitates the creation of knowledge, the growth and development of certain fields, presenting them as minor stressors in the form of events. Over a short period of time we gather top minds and help them discuss conflicting ideas so that the best of them can take root, and help change not just a solitary field, but help our society develop overall. With this in mind, I have identified a few important areas where IMEX facilitates the growth of our industry and each of us as event professionals. Let me present them with the help of Simon Sinek’s quotes:

  • The opportunity to present your version of the same thing or It’s okay if we like money. Just remember to love people!

We all serve, we all look for business, we all compete for similar accounts. The difference comes from how we interact on a more personal level. At IMEX, we have the opportunity to foster relationships and show our best to potential clients. And you know – if you don’t make that connection right away, you will have a mountain to climb. Communication will get harder and repeating things over and over will make everyone stressed out.

The resolution: have a passion for what you do and let it show. The people you will meet care for their events and they will want to see that passion in you too.

  • The clash of ideas or What good is having a belly if there’s no fire in it. Wake up, drink your passion, light a match, and get to work!

At IMEX, we are divided into sections, falling into different categories while trying to fit in the whole picture. This causes clashes of ideas. And these clashes, paired with our true passion for what we do, is the first step we take towards progress.

The resolution: discuss ideas and opinions, use the fire in your belly to show you the way to progress.

  • Forcing creativity or A constraint is an opportunity for creativity. The result is called innovation.

We as event planners, especially in today’s world, constantly battle the constraint of resources. Doing more with less is the name of the game now. But this does not have to be a negative. If you are flexible and adaptable – then you innovate. And we see more and more excellent examples of innovation on the show floor every year.

The resolution: see the positive side of what might be considered bad, pair it with a dose of creativity and do the best with what you are given. That is the only way to innovation.

  • Fostering partnerships or Success is a team sport.

We want our industry to move forward but isn’t it that once IMEX is over, we go back to our routines and fight the world on our own?

The resolution: work on the partnerships you’ve made, together is the true way forward.

  • People – because we react to emails, but we talk to people.

Our business (as any other nowadays) relies on a lot of screen time and not enough time with actual people.

The resolution: use IMEX to talk to people, build a solid ground for work relationships and only use emails to foster communication, not as the foundation for these work relationships.

And don’t forget – words can inspire but only action creates change (again Simon Sinek)! So what would be your next action to change the world? Make your WHY count.

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