It's Easy

If there's one thing we all have in common across all sectors of the industry, it's meetings. Whether you serve on an APSP council and fly to different parts of the country several times a year, or you attend dealer meetings for a brand you carry in your retail store, or you organize an annual team-building retreat for your crew of pool-surface applicators, we spend a lot of time in meetings with the aim of improving ourselves and our businesses. That's as it should be.

I recently heard about a trend in meetings that is such a win-win-win proposition that I wanted to share it with you. An edition of National Public Radio's All Things Considered covered — as it does periodically — the ongoing post-Katrina recovery efforts in New Orleans. This report described how the city's convention business is slowly but surely rebuilding. Companies are gradually returning to the city, bringing much-needed revenue. But some imaginative companies are adding to their meeting-attendees' experience by taking a few hours to do some volunteer work as a team. One convention-goer described a few hours spent cleaning up debris in a hurricane-devastated neighborhood. She said the experience was remark able: the combination of bringing business to New Orleans, a successful regional planning meeting for her company and personally helping clean up just one little corner of the region made for a truly rewarding conference.

Now, I'm not suggesting that everyone book their next meetings in New Orleans (although, Hanley-Wood, if you're reading this, I am suggesting that you book your next International Pool and Spa Expo in New Orleans!), but think about a service project for your team's next meeting. It could be something as simple as a few hours serving in a soup kitchen, or helping clean up a local park, or maybe a few hours on a Habitat for Humanity house. The opportunities to do good things are endless. And when you do good things, you feel great.

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