2018 is Going to be a Great Year for Meeting Planners

“Reflecting global sentiment, the key focus for meeting planners and owners will be prioritizing the attendee experience.”

According to the recent 2018 Global Meetings and Events forecast from American Express Meetings and Events, the meetings and events industry is looking great!  2018 should show solid growth across the industry world-wide.  This is due to numerous factors including increased competition in the industry, increased flexibility in program offerings, and advancements in technology allowing unique opportunities such as virtual reality.

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RELENTLESSLY POSITIVE: The Constant and Unabating Application of Effective and Productive Optimism by Pamela Jett

This week, we are excited to feature a guest blog from speaker Pamela Jett!  Thanks so much, Pamela!

RELENTLESSLY POSITIVE:The Constant and Unabating Application of Effective and Productive Optimism

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where “choosing to be happy” or any of the other peppy pieces of advice often given by professional speakers from the platform just doesn’t seem to be working? Or, in a serious situation where being perky, upbeat, and a ray of cheerful sunshine doesn’t seem possible. Perhaps you’ve even found yourself facing a challenge or loss where being upbeat and chipper is downright inappropriate.

When challenged to “choose to be happy” or given other motivational nuggets, you might find yourself occasionally even cringing and thinking, “here we go again.”  Or, “I’m a meeting planner and nothing about this event is simple. Things are complicated. There are too many stakeholders involved and expectations are high and the budget is low. My pressures and stressors are real!”

A perky, positive attitude has its place. Exuberant cheerfulness by choice can, without a doubt, help create a positive environment. And, it can help keep your team motivated when you are in the trenches or in the midst of a meeting with many moving parts. For over 2 decades I’ve worked with professionals, including meeting planners, to enhance their communication and leadership skills. I’ve frequently found myself encouraging people to “choose to be happy.”

However, I’ve recently decided that happiness is over-rated. It’s good. It is powerful. And, sometimes we need something more.

In the midst of challenges, and without a doubt we live and work in challenging times, what individuals, teams, and leaders really need is the ability to move forward and be productive while simultaneously acknowledging the impact change, crisis, and serious challenge has on people, teams, organizations, and even cultures. Failing to recognize these very real struggles can cause us to lose credibility and for teams to be less effective. Failure to acknowledge the very real challenges people experience and the struggles they have means we are not very empathetic. Failing to be empathetic, failing to “feel with,” minimizes psychological safety, a key driver of success.

Imagine if you are working to plan an annual meeting that has typically had a robust budget. Since you plan well in advance, some vendor contracts have been signed well in advance, decisions have been made, and plans are moving forward based on those robust budget projections.  You receive a phone call with the news “the budget has been slashed for this year’s meeting.” It would be not only absurd for you to respond to this news all chipper and upbeat; it would be counter-productive for you to do so. Your team members and others involved in planning would wonder “don’t they understand this is a real problem? Don’t they get that is means major extra work for us and some really tough negotiations? Are they that insensitive or delusional?”  You would lose credibility if you were chipper and upbeat. Others would no longer trust you or feel safe.  And yet, you are still tasked with delivering a great meeting and pleasing the stakeholders. That’s a tough spot.  Happy and upbeat is a poor choice. Morose and depressed isn’t good either.

It’s in times like these that what we really need is the ability to choose to be relentlessly positive. Relentless positivity is the constant and unabating application of effective and productive optimism.

Based in neuroscience and with a focus on business application, the art of choosing to be relentlessly positive is something everyone can master. Relentless positivity moves us beyond the power of positive thinking and into the mindset and language crucial for resilience and success in today’s world.

Pamela Jett, CSP is a leadership and communication expert based in Phoenix, AZ. Delivered with energy, humor, and a dash of neuroscience, her latest keynote presentations, The Relentlessly Positive Leader and The Relentlessly Positive Communicator, provide audiences of all types new, evidence-based tools to overcome adversity and challenges. www.Relentlessly-Positive.com

We Love Josh Sundquist’s Halloween Costumes!

If you’ve been on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or pretty much anywhere on the internet lately, you’ve likely seen these pictures of Josh Sundquist’s Halloween costumes.

Josh Sundquist is a Paralympian and bestselling author who has shared his story at events across the world. His high-energy blend of humor and inspiration motivates audiences to adopt his ski racing motto 1MT1MT (one more thing, one more time) to elevate their performance in sales, customer service, quality improvement, leadership, and more.

Read more about Josh’s famous costumes

Dr. Rick Rigsby: The speaker everyone’s buzzing about

Dr. Rick Rigsby

Here at the Speaker Exchange Agency, we’ve always got our ears to the ground listening for the sound of a hot new speaker.  And this month, Dr. Rick Rigsby has caught our attention!  Dr. Rick Rigsby is President and CEO of Rick Rigsby Communications. Through motivational speaking, corporate coaching, books and social media outlets, Rick encourages and empowers audience members to become great people who do great things.

One of his motivational speeches, “The Wisdom of a Third Grade Dropout,” was published on Youtube in early October and has gone viral with over 1,000,000 views.  Watch it here!  We have seen interest in Rick skyrocket on our website, and we love this article by Earnthenecklace explaining his recent popularity.

Ready to book Dr. Rick Rigsby?  Contact us today!

A note about our website!


This is Allison Little, IT director at the Speaker Exchange Agency.  As you may have noticed, I’ve been working on making some changes to the website.  I’ve focused on improving the site’s search.  You can now filter your search by multiple categories, keywords, and fee ranges, and view improved search results.  I’m also continually updating and adding speaker pages with complete topics and videos.  On our homepage, I’ve added a fun new section where you can view our current Speaker Obsessions, which are speakers we are super excited about!  There have been plenty more upgrades and improvements behind the scenes that I won’t bore you with, but I hope that everyone is having a great user experience!

Use Music to Jazz up Your Next Meeting

“When it’s done right, music is the secret ingredient for a killer presentation”

As a meeting planner, are you on the look-out for ways to make your meeting more enjoyable for attendees?  Why not mix it up a bit and try creating a music playlist that will help set the tone.

We love this article by  Stephanie Vozza, which gives a thorough overview of how music can jazz up your next meeting.

Read the article here

The Art of the Celebrity Meet and Greet

Julie and Brittanny had the opportunity to work with Alec Baldwin in Las Vegas at a client event this month. Meet and Greets are typically an essential part of any event with a celebrity and they can set the tone for the event. This meet and greet was exceptional at this event and there were a few things that the client did to ensure it went as smoothly as possible:

  1. Expectations: Expectations with VIP’s were set up-front. Attendees knew there would be a professional photographer on-site and they were given specific instructions on when and how to obtain their photos. There were no pictures on phones allowed and not one person attempted to take one nor were they questioning where to get their photo afterwards.
  2. Size: VIP’s were brought into the room in groups of 5 which made it less overwhelming and kept the atmosphere relaxed.
  3. The Celebrity: Alec made the Meet and Greet enjoyable by asking VIP’s where they were from and then telling a story about that city or a friend who lived there or a restaurant he loved. Alec made each person feel special to be at the event and although everyone moved through at a quick pace, not one attendee felt rushed out of the room.

Although some factors cannot be controlled at Meet and Greets, if you are able to set expectations with your celebrity and your guests and ensure they are relaxed and are able to enjoy their time at the Meet and Greet you will set yourself up for success!

Have any other great Meet and Greet Tips? We’d love to share them in a future newsletter. Email us: info@speakerexchangeagency.com

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