3 Meeting Planning Lessons From “It’s a Wonderful Life”

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Donna Reed and James Stewart starred in the 1946 Frank Capra Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life.

Each holiday season, the 1946 Frank Capra Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” gives us a chance to reflect on how precious life is.

Its main character, George Bailey (played by James Stewart), has always sacrificed himself for his family, his family savings and loan business and community of Bedford Falls. He comes close to taking his life after a single mistake puts the business at risk. It’s then that he finally learns an invaluable lesson about what life would have been like for his family and friends if he had never been born.

Following are 3 lessons meeting planners can take away from “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Your life touches so many others

This bit of wisdom comes from Clarence, George’s guardian angel (in training), who shows George what would have happened to his loved ones had he never been born. It also applies to the role of a meeting planner. You might not think of it this way, but by seeking out inspiring settings, speakers, music and other touches, you have the power to create an event that leaves attendees forever changed. Including CSR activities and making sustainable choices also has a lasting positive impact on the destinations you use.

You can make anything beautiful!

In a touching scene after their honeymoon gets canceled, Mary (George’s wife) sets up an impromptu bridal suite in the drafty, old house she wants to make their new home. She hangs drapes and wallpaper, sets a beautiful dining table and builds a crackling fire in the fireplace—making something out of nothing. Rely on your hotel CSM to help you do the same. Whether that means sharing floral arrangements with another meeting, or finding a way to sponsor special touches such as furniture or props, there are many ways to create something special at little to no cost.

You always have your friends

The meeting industry is all about relationships. It’s essential that you take the time to grow and nurture your network, as well as your team. Attend local chapter events of the meeting planning associations (Site and MPI’s holiday events are happening right now). Develop online friendships through LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, and when you meet in person, it will feel as if you already know each other. Your friends will help you succeed!

On that note, the team at Prevue wishes all of our industry friends and partners a warm and wonderful holiday season!

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.