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by Kate | April 18, 2011
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 SMU International opening reception. Photo by Lucie Bayonne.


SMU International, held March 20 - 22nd at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, brought planners and suppliers together for one-on-one appointments. It was a busy three days in the city that never sleeps!

Attendees learned numerous cross-cultural etiquette tips from featured speaker Terri Morrison, author of the best-selling Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands, a must-read for anyone doing business internationally. Though its been long taboo for women to drink in China, recent social changes have now made it socially acceptable. That’s great news for female attendees meeting in China.

Another crucial tip she revealed is to never schedule a 9:00 A.M. meeting in Mexico. 10:00-10:30 A.M. is when business traditionally begins south of the border. If your event needs an interpreter always hire two. The right-brain, left-brain activity required for accurate translation reaches critical mass after about two hours so it’s a good idea to have more than one interpreter and have them operate in shifts for an all-day conference. It reduces the chances of mistranslation.

Morrison also advised that planners avoid American idiomatic expressions such as “no problem.” Your international counterparts are likely to interpret that as a negative response.  

 

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The Visit London crew entertains with flair. Photo by Kirsteen Scott.

 

Measuring ROI is something at the forefront of every planner's mind these days. Building relationships is the key objective that should be tracked when measuring the ROI of meetings and events. That’s what Taylor Duersch, vice president, global decision sciences for the Minneapolis-based Carlson Marketing told an audience of meeting planners and suppliers at today’s closing session of Successful Meetings International University. “Building relationships is a long-term goal that should be measured in terms of attitude rather that satisfaction,” Duersch said.

Duersch strongly suggests planners conduct pre- and post-event surveys that measure attendee attitudes in three areas: trust in the organization; alignment with the organization’s goals; and commitment to the organization.

 

SMU International attendees captured their favorite moments on camera for a chance to win an iPad 2. All entries were posted to our Facebook page, and our publisher and editorial director selected three winners.