From ignored to insulted

Strange how meeting planning, a long ignored profession, is now getting noticed by way of get-rich-quick schemes and products like Meeting in a Box, which some planners I've been e-chatting with find completely insulting as it implies that, for just $387, you'll know everything you need to know to plan a meeting successfully. Never mind the years of experience, the burgeoning university programs devoted to meeting planning, the CMP designation, and all that. Nope, just pop the box and out comes a full-fledged meeting planner.

Then again, I think about all the talk I heard at the Pharmaceutical Meeting Planners Forum about how hard it is for the professional planners to wrest meetings—especially small meetings—from admins who really don't know what they're doing. I guess, assuming the box contains some good basic info and some decent checklists (I'm not about to spend the dough to find out), it wouldn't be a bad idea for admins and other occasional planners who just aren't going to put in the time and effort to learn enough to be a professional. I'd rather see them hand at least the important parts of their meetings over to someone who knows what they're doing, but since that's just not going to happen in all too many cases, some information is better than none. But $387? Don't they know there are lots of magazines out there with terrific info for free (including ours, ahem), not to mention Web sites? If not, would you please tell them? Thank you.

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