CIC Prez Debuts First Two Of Seven Apex Standards
The Convention Industry Council last month introduced the first products of its long-running effort to standardize several aspects of the meetings industry: a searchable online glossary of nearly 4,000 industry terms with standard definitions and a standard post-event report template.
The two new products are the culmination of two of the seven topics addressed by CIC's Accepted Practices Exchange Initiative via extensive research and development by volunteer panels and discussion groups that form cross-sections of the 30 industry associations that comprise CIC.
The glossary, available on CIC's Web site at www.conventionindustry.org, includes the definitions of 3,780 commonly used or frequently incorrectly used industry terms, said CIC president Mary Power. "This began in 2001, and we had a lot of input from city discussion groups," she said. "We had words that people had six different definitions for, so a cross-section determined the definition that everyone can live with as an industry standard."
Given the different aspects of the industry the associations that CIC represents, from corporate meeting planners to tradeshow executives to speakers bureaus, there often was significant divergence about the actual definitions of certain words, Power said. The distinctions can seem small, she said, but when creating a contract between buyer and supplier, it's essential that there is no disagreement about the nuances of contractual terminology.
The panels also solicited a review of the glossary by three attorneys, Power said, to ensure all glossary definitions pass legal muster. "We focused on words of universal significance and common usage," she said. "We could have had 7,000 words involved and spent the rest of our lives doing this, but if a particular word was only used in one place or country, we did not include it."
The glossary also highlights misunderstood or misused words, Power said, pointing to the word "podium," which many believe is what a speaker stands behind and rests papers upon. That actually is a lectern—a podium is the raised platform upon which a speaker stands.
The glossary also permits searching through definitions when the proper word is not known, includes other glossary entries related to each entry's definition and will be updated annually, Power said.
The definitions will form the backbone of future Apex efforts, specifically the upcoming standardized contract, which currently is under development
The new post-event report template, also available on CIC's Web site, standardized the specific details and activities involved in a particular meeting. "It's really about the process," Power said. "Most meetings have some sort of report and history, but they don't always cover the same information or provide a clear analysis of the group."
Much of the benefit of standardized post-event reports belongs to suppliers, who will have a better base of meetings history to study when evaluating potential business. "They can now evaluate based on the same criteria," Power said. "Before, they were at the mercy of whatever was covered in the particular meeting history."
The remaining five Apex panels to be standardized —addressing résumés and work orders, requests for proposals, housing and registration, meeting and site profiles and contracts—are all in various stages of development. A proposed RFP may be introduced in early 2004, Power said.
Additionally, CIC has raised $1.3 million of its goal of $1.9 million for the Apex project. Power is confident the remainder will be raised in 2004.
"We're moving steadily in the right direction," she said. "If we get all $1.9 million, we can do all the work and give it all the technology support it needs, like the online glossary. If it is only on paper, it is not as effective."