Join next week’s virtual Global Meetings Industry Day and share your advocacy activities.

Wherever you’re working from at the moment, there’s no excuse for missing Next week’s virtual Global Meetings Industry Day. Meetings Mean Business have postponed their in-person events during Global Meetings Industry Day, the April 14 day of advocacy for the meetings and events industry, due to social distancing and travel restrictions. MMB hopes to host a celebration at IMEX America in September. Next week, though, planners have three other options to recognize and advocate for an industry which supports 26 million jobs around the world.

Register for Meeting Professionals International 12-hour virtual event. The lineup of educational sessions includes information on coping during the pandemic in addition to expert advice on improving your meetings when in-person events resume.

Participate in the attempt to break the world record for the largest online meeting at GMIDGoesVirtual.

Share your acts of service to the community at large.
While the best thing everyone can do is to stay home and flatten the curve of COVID-19 infection, many members of the meetings and hospitality community are finding ways to help.

Here’s one great idea for planners who want to stay busy and help out the NHS from home…left over goodie bags???

How To Turn Down a Meeting Without Offending.

In a sea of work WhatsApp chatter and overcrowded inboxes, a scheduled 121 meeting can be a valuable resource– if you have things to discuss.

Sometimes, though, a 121 is more of a waste of time than a productive use of it. Perhaps it feels more social than useful. Or possibly, this meeting ranks 229th on the list of things you want to get done today, in between cleaning the crumbs out of your keyboard and “miscellaneous thinking time.”

If you think the colleague wants face time for its own sake instead of anything specific, you ‘d be much better off cutting it from your calendar. Here’s how to do it tactfully, without giving the impression that you don’t think they deserve your time.

Ask for more information
It can be irritating when a meeting invite lands unceremoniously in your inbox without any context.
The red flag that a meeting is a time-waster is if the invitee doesn’t give meeting notes in advance. An agenda is all that’s needed to indicate this is a worthwhile meeting to have.

Still, instantly clicking no can make you appear dismissive. You can show tentative interest with straightforward questions like, “Is there an agenda for this?” or, “So I’m prepared, can you let me know what we’ll be covering?” By doing this, if and when you do eventually turn the meeting down, the asker will know you gave some consideration.

If projects are moving along and due dates are being met, in some cases a simple email update will be sufficient. Ask if the meeting can be dealt with online.
Even if there is an agenda, you may be able to resolve everything immediately without subjecting yourself to a sit-down.
However, the main thing you want to avoid when refusing a meeting is to make it look like you don’t care about the needs of the other person. Instead, frame your suggestion as the more efficient alternative for both of you or for the group in general. Addressing things over email or messenger helps to create a paper trail to keep everybody accountable, and the right people can be looped into the task.
When you’re responding, it helps to highlight these advantages with a line like, “It ‘d be great to get some other ideas on this. Can we do this over email so I can keep track?”
Just make sure you follow through on what you’re proposing so down the line you’re able to show the effectiveness of that method, and it might catch on and leave you with more miscellaneous thinking time.

Don’t say yes to a meeting you know will never happen.
If you truly don’t have time for this meeting, be clear about it. Follow up your no with a promise to cover the meeting items on email or messenger, either now or at a later point when you have more time to spare, so it doesn’t look like you’re just shutting down the conversation.
If the person asking for the meeting persists in wanting face time, it might be worth (nicely) passing the person to another colleague who has more time and could serve as an advancement opportunity for a direct report.

You can say something like, “I’m overloaded, however, Colin should have time this week– why don’t you contact him to get something in the calendar?” (Obviously, clear this with Colin first.).
Or just say yes.
Remember that in the work environment, wastes of time are subjective. If you’re the one with the power to cancel the meeting, think about the preciousness of your time versus the potential of the meeting for the other person.

Somebody wants your ideas, your views, and even just a few minutes to get to know you– and if you think of it from this perspective, it’s quite flattering, even if it’s a bit annoying. You’re considered someone worth sitting down with and going through with the meeting is a way to enhance that perception of you. Meetings aren’t always the best use of your time at that moment, but it might pay dividends: What benefits your colleague now may benefit you in the long run.

Triangulation In The Workplace

Few moments define workplace friendship like the very first flirtation with gossip. Your colleague rolls her eyes at you when somebody cracks a particularly dumb joke in a meeting, or sends out a WhatsApp DM reacting to an awkward conversation ina meeting. You’ve taken a brand-new, tasty step in your relationship: you’re colleagues who can discuss other colleagues with each other.
Usually, this gossip-infused camaraderie is long-awaited and electrifying. Research study has revealed that workplace relationship is vital to employee satisfaction, and that moaning to colleagues can boost friendship, contentment, and efficiency.

“In our studies, we find that when individuals can gossip about one another, it can lead to two useful outcomes,” says Matthew Feinberg, a professor of organisational psychology at the University of Toronto. First, gossip helps you understand what to make of the colleague being gossiped about, primarily if you’ve never engaged with them before. “In this way, gossip is how a person’s reputation precedes them, for better or worse,” says Feinberg.
And secondly, gossip can help convey more nuanced workplace standards. “You learn a lot about what others might expect of you when they complain about a third person behaving in certain ways,” claims Feinberg.
Casual gossip is one thing. However, the fact is that gossip is not always accurate or fair. Routine snarking about your colleague can have catastrophic consequences and could damage a person’s workplace credibility for months, even years. When gossiping about your colleague’s tips from “banter” to toxic, it usually an under-discussed type of workplace bullying called triangulation.

What is triangulation?
Triangulation defines a three-pronged, corrosive relationship: I moan to you about somebody I dislike, rather than speaking to that person; subsequently, you begin to hate them having previously liked them or had no impression of them.
“A person’s perceptions of and attitudes toward their work environment are influenced by what they hear others say,” explains Patricia Sias, a teacher of business interaction concentrating on gossip at the College of Arizona. “So talking about Person A with Person B influences Person B’s perception and attitude toward Person A. As this perception of Person A is reinforced through talk and shared with others, it becomes more embedded and harder to change.”.

Triangulation isn’t always done with malicious intent. Often, it happens when we don’t know how to confront other people directly or don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. However, often, triangulation can be a subtle way of bullying by seeking to ruin someone’s reputation or to get them to quit.
Inevitably, the intent matters much less than the effect. Triangulation can have significant cultural ramifications, wearing down the trust and communication that are essential for a positive work environment; especially when the leaders are the ones doing the triangulating. “Triangulation destroys teams and relationships by impeding culture and removing dialogue,” Robley adds. “People feel unsafe because mutual respect and mutual purpose have been violated.”

Exactly how to spot triangulation
When triangulation is passive, it usually manifests as moaning or venting, states Renee Thompson, CEO and owner of the Healthy Workforce Institute. This venting usually takes place in private or in digital chats among small groups of peers. An example, I message you to complain that our colleague spoke down to you in a meeting. You do not know the colleague who’s being talked about well; however, you understand the sabotaging trope of colleagues undermining colleagues to appear relevant, and start to think of them as a manipulative piece-of-work.
When triangulation is more willful, it manifests as clear passive-aggressive interactions intent on making you, the recipient, really dislike the person being gossiped about. This bullying is marked by strong emotions, intense descriptors, and clear boundaries of anger and dislike. As an example, there’s a huge difference between complaining about someone’s actions (e.g. “It’s so annoying that she undermined me”) and degrading somebody’s character (e.g. “She’s terrible at her job and should be fired”).
There’s also a distinction in between asking , “Can you help me see if I’m misreading what just happened?” and asking, “Can you believe what she just did?” The former can help defuse tensions, while the latter forces the listener to agree with your point of view.
“It can be extremely healthy and positive to involve others if your intent is to seek insight, understanding, and a different perspective,” claims Robley, keeping in mind that the conversation should not be an alternative to speaking directly to the person you have a problem with., but instead a chance to check you’re not consumed by your own biases.
However, if you want to share adverse feelings with a 3rd party as a way to validate what you’re telling yourself, you’re headed in a bad direction. “These stories come with strong emotions, and, the stronger the emotions, the harder it is to have honest, productive dialogue,” says Robley. “Thus, psychologically, it is damning to involve a third party because it only serves to keep you in your story — especially if you’re confiding in a colleague you know will see things from your perspective.”

What to do if you’re the third party
Being on the receiving end of triangulation can be awful, especially if you’re afraid that shutting it down may negatively affect your relationships, but there are a couple of easy techniques you can use to diplomatically dispell tension.
First, always remember that there’s more to the tale, states Sheila Heen, a co-leader of Harvard’s Negotiation Task. If you can recognise triangulation as it’s happening, you can take a step back and think critically about the information you’re being given.
Second, urge the person to talk with their peer directly and see if they can reach a mutual understanding. “The complainer might be dismissive– claiming something like, ‘Oh, I’ve tried that,’ or ‘They’ll never listen,’ — but suggesting they should be having the conversation directly signals that you don’t think that simply complaining should be the end of the story,” states Heen.
Third, remember this person may do the same thing to you in the future. “Knowing this, let them know that you expect them to talk with you if there’s ever a problem before you hear it from others,” Heen recommends.
Most significantly, don’t spread gossip. The negative impact of triangulation only spreads when recipients accept one story as fact and share it without questioning underlying motives, exaggerations, and lies.
Open, honest discussion is the bedrock of a healthy workplace. While a little gossip can be harmless, knowing the difference is key. If somebody is genuinely bothering you, the best option is to discuss the problem privately, respectfully, and without dragging others into it.

More helpful reading:
How Bullies Use Triangulation as a Weapon in the Workplace
Overcoming Triangulation: How to Stop that Toxic Backchanneling

Take The Stress Out Of The Event

Events are demanding for attendees. Generally, when we’re discussing the intricacy of events, we’re describing the events professionals experience, and we tend to forget the way attendees experience it.

Being a guest includes a lot of friction and stress-loaded activities. Events are expected to be fun, right? So why do visitors get stressed out at events? There are numerous reasons.

Initially, participating in a conference, workshop, and even a concert implies dealing with a brand-new environment. The unpredictability of what one might expect from the event itself can cause stress and anxiety.

Second, being an attendee likewise implies handling multiple logistics-related jobs, such as signing up for the event, paying the costs, taking a trip to the venue, checking in, discovering the spaces, getting familiar with the event app, networking with others, and so on

Lastly, events compress months of learning and communicating into a short time frame.

So events can be rather intense, specifically if individuals want to get the most out of attending them. To make sure your guests enjoy themselves, you’ll want to decrease the stress to which they are exposed.

The bright side is that it’s in your power to alleviate their stress. Here are some ideas you could consider.

Lower the logistics friction
How much time do your guests need to sign up for the event?
How simple is it to access the event place?
Is the check-in procedure effortless?
The number of times your guests need to use the event app to find the workshop rooms? Will they know where the meeting point is?
All these questions (and numerous others, depending upon your event’s complexity) will help you to understand all the friction points your participants might experience.

The more potential logistic struggles there might be, the more thought and care you should put into preparing everything.

After all, to ensure a close-to-zen experience for your guests, you’ll want to eliminate as much friction as possible.

Decrease the number of choices the participants must make
Picture your participant asking themselves the following questions:
What category should I select from all these thirty alternatives?
Which session should I attend?
What social activity should I pick from this list of ten alternatives?
It’s like gazing at the crisps selection in a US supermarket. Too much choice isn’t always a good thing.

Like it or not, the mere idea of choosing is stressful. Your attendees might second-guess themselves throughout the event, fretting they didn’t select the ideal seminar, group activity, or networking session.

To lessen their tension, decrease the variety of decisions your guests need to make to around 2 or three options, no more.

Use clear and straight-to-the-point messaging
” My guests are smart. They understand everything,” I hear you saying. Indeed, they are more than capable of reading and comprehendingDostoyevsky, but when it concerns events, you’ll want to write your communications as if you were writing them for a 7-year-old.

Not because your attendees aren’t smart, but who wants to waste time attempting to interpret event jargon?

If the language you use lacks clarity, you’ll cause confusion and aggravation, increasing the stress levels of your guests. Prevent this by making easy to read copy.

Incorporate relaxing activities in the day
Explore the idea of increasing your guest’s mindfulness with some relaxing activities, such as yoga, pilates, or meditation, in the morning, before the event, or perhaps during the lunch break. This will refresh your visitors and help them get a much better emotional balance.

Move the meeting outside
If you wish to make your attendees feel happy and calm, sun, fresh air, and natural light are your friends. If possible, move some of your event activities outdoors too. At ISH venues, we have access to a private garden which is stunning and the ideal place for an informal meeting or yoga session.

Plan some breathing workouts for your visitors
Minutes or even seconds before a new session or a keynote speech, chances are your guests will be on their phones or laptops, attempting to address work emails.

This external stress may negatively impact their experience. Have the mediator run a few breathing workouts before the session to help your guests unwind and focus on the event.

Events are stressful for both organizers and attendees, and nothing will change that. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t strive to make your attendees’ experience as relaxing as possible.

Make sure to lower the logistics friction, reduce the number of choices attendees need to make, use clear language, incorporate relaxing activities into the program and move some event sessions outside, All these actions will help your attendees experience a stress-free event that they’ll remember.


Our recently upgraded and largest space

The Theatre is our most versatile room. It can be transformed to accommodate a variety of events and will easily seat 300 people theatre style for lectures, presentations, conferences or product launches. A fantastic versatile space in central London.

  • • A spacious and welcoming room
  • • Its own dedicated entrance lobby with registration desk
  • • Interchangeable black and white side panels to create the perfect atmosphere for your event
  • • Its own dedicated licenced bar (opened on request)
  • • Elevated stage, built in AV equipment and a central lighting rig
  • • Air conditioning
  • • WiFi available

Price: £2,250  to £4,500

Party Bookings

One of our larger rooms, the Portland room benefits from natural light and a spacious atmosphere allowing the room to accommodate a range of styles from 100 Theatre style to a 36 person U shaped meeting arrangement.

The room is large enough to allow for partitioning to create a break out area or a refreshments room.

Price: £695  to £1,600

One Park Crescent is the headquarters building of International Students House

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If you have any questions about an upcoming booking or event in light of the current circumstances regarding COVID-19, please contact the team at opc@ish.org.uk