There are two major events in April only three days apart. One we cheer and celebrate, the other we jeer and commiserate. The first in 2018 is Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID), April 12.

The second is Tax Day, April 15.

Ask yourself this: Would you like your household to pay an additional $879 in taxes? I didn’t think so.

Nonetheless, this amount would be needed to compensate for the absence of meeting sector activity.

So, thank you meeting professionals for saving on our tax bills. This is one of many values of meetings. Values that have real impacts on people, business and communities.

In 2016, a quarter of a billion people attended 1.9 million meetings in the U.S., creating an economic significance of $1.6 million per minute. These statistics prove the size and scope of the industry but don’t address the organizational value of face-to-face meetings.

The real power originates when we come together; relationships are forged, ideas generated, education absorbed and returned to the field, and deals struck that drive positive economic impact for both the businesses involved and the communities that host meetings.

[Related Content: The Flip Side of GMID – Going Beyond Dollars]

Meetings have a positive story to tell and GMID is your day to tell your story and celebrate as one industry, using one voice to communicate the values of meetings.

Meetings that provide real results, with real impact all over the world.

“GMID helps share the meetings industry’s value story, ensuring that the media, elected officials and general public understand the benefits of face-to-face,” said Paul Van Deventer, CEO and president at Meeting Professionals International and co-chair of the Meetings Mean Business Coalition, which created GMID.

“Showcasing the industry’s strength through this global movement allows us to better advocate and generate widespread conversation," he added.

How can you advocate on Global Meetings Industry Day (and also throughout the year)?

  • If you’re reading this on Global Meetings Industry Day and there’s still time: attend a GMID event. Go to meetingsmeanbusiness.com/gmid/events to find an updated list of events.
  • Follow and take part in the conversations surrounding GMID online at @MeetingsMeanBiz on Twitter and by using the hashtags #MMBusiness with #GMID18. Post photos and videos to achieve greater reach. And keep in mind that the hashtags aren’t exclusive to the day itself.
  • Invite an elected official or a representative from their office to attend a GMID event (or an event occurring at any time of the year) so that they are educated about the importance of the meetings industry to their community in terms of both economics and jobs.
  • Write: Letters to your members of congress, governor, state representatives, mayor or other local elected officials. Write an op-ed letter to your local newspaper. In both cases, outline the celebration of GMID and our industry (if relevant), the talking points of the meetings industry and your important role in its success (this is also a good time to discuss other pertinent issues).
  • Simply speak out to everyone and anyone the value of meetings, and that includes the dollars and cents, right alongside all the great philanthropic efforts our industry is a part of.

There is an old saying, “If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re on the menu.”

GMID provides the people of the meetings industry the public opportunity to sit at the table, eat from the value of meetings menu and have a real conversation, about the real results, real impact and real outcomes when we come together face to face. Bon appetit!

Roger Rickard is a recognized advocate in the meetings industry. He and his firm, Voices In Advocacy, work with organizations from all industries that want their followers educated, engaged and actively supporting their cause.

He can be reached via email at Roger@VoicesInAdvocacy.com.