Lessons from NOLA: Storytelling in the Meetings Industry

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It’s vital for suppliers and planners to make the most of every second by truly engaging each other, emphasized industry veteran Gary Hernbroth in a keynote at Smart Meeting South Central National in New Orleans on Tuesday.

Suppliers and planners from around the country are meeting one-on-one as part of a jam-packed agenda at the event, which began Sunday at The Jung Hotel.

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“We make up our mind a lot about something in 10 minutes,” said Hernbroth, chief motivating officer for Training for Winners, in his talk, “S.P.E.E.D. Dating—Your 10 Minutes to Glory.” He noted that 10 minutes can seem like very little time or a lot of time—little when we’re told there’s 10 minutes left in our spa treatment, and a lot when we’re informed our root canal will last another 10 minutes.

“In your appointments, are you ready to have 10 minutes of spa or 10 minutes of root canal?” he asked.

Hernbroth stressed that suppliers need to zero in on planners’ needs from the get-go and to be creative in their presentations.

“I believe the world’s best sales people are the world’s best storytellers,” he said. “They don’t tell everything about the hotel. Be a painter of words when telling your story.”

He said that feelings motivate people more than facts. So, he advised suppliers and planners not to bombard planners with numbers and other information that aren’t relevant to them.

“You have a short time to create powerful images—determine what’s cool,” he said. “How do you make your property or group stand out?”

He briefly summarized his message to all participants: “Make it easier to do business with you.”

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