Introduction: Minding Morals

Lessons from childhood provide inspiration for meeting planners in search of event messages that stick.
Mar 02, 2006

Jeannette Park
WHEN I WAS GROWING UP, my favorite book was Aesop's Fables. I especially loved the way every story had a moral at the end to tie everything together: Try before you trust; the hero is brave in deeds as well as words; birds of a feather flock together; might makes right; don't be the boy who cried wolf. Those one-line messages packed a punch then, and still stick with me.

The stories in this month's supplement look at a wide range of topics pertaining to pharmaceutical meetings. Like Aesop, our authors have focused on some important morals. I hope they stick with you as well. Here's a sample:

Get your point across In "Launch to Success", Mike McGraw, founder and president of event company Tneve, explains how all activities at a product-launch event should incorporate the same message—the one the host company wants its reps to go forth and deliver. By the end of the event, if a rep can't relate the product's message in 30 seconds or less, the company has failed its mission.

Be memorable The clearest message on earth is useless if your attendees promptly forget it. In "Surround Sound Meetings" , Dan Lockwood of J&S Audiovisual provides advice on catching the attention even of the jaded pharmaceutical sales rep. One useful tip: Reps want to be part of something that's gaining popularity, not on its way to becoming overexposed, so hook your content to current trends.

Keep it compliant One common way to avoid compliance problems in physician meetings is to partner with an outside vendor. But you have to manage the process correctly. In "Principles of Partnership" , Cindy D'Aoust of Maritz Travel says that creating a paper trail of receipts, implementing training programs, and establishing uniform policies can help the two parties comply.

Watch your costs Ron Naples, hospitality consultant and adjunct professor at NYU's Tisch Center, in "Best Bang for the Buck" , discusses the sometimes unpleasant topic of budgeting. Planners are expected to create remarkable meetings while staying within less remarkable budgets. Naples offers seven tips for keeping meetings on the right financial track. Some ideas include knowing the objectives, identifying high priority goals, and establishing clear responsibility.

Or just remember the fable of the two frogs. Here's how it goes: In a country afflicted with drought, two frogs were looking for water to live in. Finally they spotted some—at the bottom of a well. "Let's hop in," said one. The other disagreed. "If the well dries up, we'll never get out," he said. Aesop's moral: "Do nothing without a regard to the consequences."
You don't have to be a frog to live by that one.

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