Replacing Email: Risky Business

smg-wheel_1Email needs to be replaced. Whether you agree or disagree, you’ll probably agree that the rise in social media is changing the way that we communicate. Perhaps email is not going to die altogether, but become more archaic like snail mail today. I was initially a little sceptical when I started exploring what may happen to email in the next five years until I mentioned it to my wife – she told me how just the other week she had asked her teenage niece to email her something, to which the response was “email!? That’s so yesterday. I’ll Facebook it to you!”.

Now, the purpose of this article is not to get into a long debate about whether email is Social Media Governancegoing to die in the next three, five or 10 years and what will replace it. What I want to address here is the perception, held by many, that using an Enterprise Social Platform to communicate within an organisation is risky. Let’s face it, if we tried to launch email in this day and age it would never get approved by risk and compliance. Why? When we send an email, regardless of whether it is encrypted / protected or not, how many copies are created? There would be the copy on your local machine, the mail server, mail server replicas, probably on some Disaster Recovery system, and then there’s the mobile devices which download them and store them. The number of copies will also multiply by the number of recipients and the infrastructure and policies at the recipients’ company may differ to the sender’s. Perhaps they have multiple server replicas and maybe the email would get downloaded to both a smartphone as well as a tablet. To throw another risk into the bag, how long are these emails going to be saved for? What are the data archiving policies at the sender and at the recipient?

Hopefully you can see that as we delve deeper and deeper into an analysis of email the number of risk considerations increase rapidly. Realistically, we are now comfortable with email and there are a number of good safeguards in place to secure confidentiality.

So how would this scenario look if we used an enterprise social platform to communicate? Since it’s (often) hosted on a server in the cloud (save discussions around which flavour of cloud-based hosting you prefer), the system is accessible through a user’s browser. Granted, this poses risks of its own. But now the message is stored on one server which is accessed via a virtual private network. There aren’t multiple copies floating around on infrastructure own by multiple organisations. From a control perspective, so long as the server is managed correctly, is secure and an appropriate resilience and business continuity plan is in place I would argue that this is less risky than email…more

Are Convention and Visitor Bureaus still worth considering

Meeting planners are blessed with many options when it comes to the destination selection process.  Are Convention and Visitor Bureaus still worth considering for the site selection process? The answer is “yes.” Convention and Visitor Bureaus, and in some cases Destination Marketing Organizations or DMO’s, should be the first organization you contact in a desired destination. Need to know exactly what is happening in a destination?

Then the CVB will be the place to get all that is needed to make an educated decision. Best of all, the services offered by the CVB are free to the planner. They are paid for by bed-tax dollars and memberships. CVB’s do a superb job of keeping updated information on venues, activities, challenges and opportunities in their city. People working at the CVB are experts on what their destination has to offer, and many have worked in the hospitality or meeting planning industry prior to joining the bureau.

As a planner I look at the local CVB as a partner in the planning process of my conferences. From the start they can advise about potential conflicts related to other events, major construction projects in the city and advise on traveling into the destination. Especially helpful for long-term planning, CVB’s have a great understanding of which development projects are in the pipeline and have been approved by the city. As a planner I have been pitched numerous to be build venues; quick checks with the CVB in the destinations revealed the uncertainty of the projects.

Once a destination has been selected, the CVB can help planners secure bids on venues, hotels and other services. The only caveat is that CVB’s tend to only include member organizations in their bid process; however most venues and hotels seem to be members of their local CVB. Part of the bid process can include site visits planned and at times paid for by the CVB for the planner.

Many CVB’s have websites or pages on their websites that allow meeting planners to submit RFPs and browse services and providers.

Once you have confirmed your destination, the CVB can help you with promotional materials, connections and will become a great resource for your attendees as they plan their participation.

Convention and Visitor Bureaus play an important role in the success of your event. Build relationships and make sure that once your event has completed you share with the CVB how many room nights your event picked up. This will help the bureau accurately report numbers to their constituents. It’s a simple thing to do but forgotten by so many planners

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Slide Makeovers: Presentation Design Lessons from Real Slides

presentationdesignlessonsMainImageI was browsing the web the other day and stumbled across a handful of slides that I thought could use a makeover. The slides were cluttered, the main message unclear and visuals weren’t leveraged to make any impact.

So I asked my team to redesign them. I thought it would make a fun and insightful exercise, with the objective of demonstrating what not to do when designing presentations. Before we walk through the slide makeovers, there are 2 essential practical presentation design lessons for you to keep in mind:

1. Focus on the Essential

2. Increase Your Slide Count

Remember that, and learn from these mistakes:

Original article by Scott Schwertly can be found here