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John Fisher started his career in direct marketing after a languages degree at Oxford. He met Tony Moy and formed P&MM in 1989. Since then he has run four other events/incentives companies, written seven business books, sold out twice and produced three children. He currently runs FMI Group which specialises in brand engagement and digital communications for corporate clients.
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Planners – be architects!!

Learning, networking and motivation are your materials, says John Fisher
Have you ever come across the term ‘meeting architecture’? Experienced conference producers will say they have been doing it for years - constructing the content of meetings in such a way as to get the best audience impact.


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US judges’ decision will prolong the agony

Dire results for the US MICE sector

Trump"s latest bull-in-a-china shop approach to 'fixing things' demonstrates perfectly the law of unintended consequences. Restricting access into the USA of all non-visa’d nationals from specific countries is a bit daft to say the least. All Scotsmen do not eat porridge. All Italian men do not send their washing home to Mama. All Muslims are not terrorists.

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New Year resolutions for event managers

John Fisher shows how to save money and keep your cool

It’s the time of year when hope springs eternal and everyone vows to do things better, quicker and more interestingly than in previous years. So here are my New Year’s event resolutions for 2017.

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Where ignorance is not bliss

Poor planning makes perfect events unachievable

Professional organisers like to get all their ducks in a row before they commit themselves to any event. There is nothing worse in event-planning than organising as you go along and hoping for the best. Unfortunately, the perception by internal non-specialists that ‘events are easy’ does not promote clear thinking and good planning.

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Venue search is more than the venue

‘Experts’ may not be so expert, after all, says John Fisher

The rapid rise of venue search suppliers comes as no surprise to observers of the Internet. The voracious need for timely information delivered instantly is the basis for all digital businesses around the world - from comparison websites to GPS app users.
Venue search agencies have not been slow to exploit the needs of public and private organisations who require a suitable venue for their next event at the right price…as quickly as possible. It all takes time to do that for yourself and, as we all know, if you have no venue, you have no event.


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The gender issue in meetings management

Why is the event sector different?

Women in positions of power seem to be making the news these days. UK Prime Minister May, Bundeskanzlerin Merkel, Scottish First Minister Sturgeon, US presidential candidate Clinton, MD of the IMF Lagarde…and so it goes on.
But in the events industry, even though there are many more women running events than men, there are not many females running event companies. Why should this be so?


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EU Referendum – what’s best for MICE?

Exit would bring us more, not less, bureaucracy

UK event managers, in or out of Europe?
If you have been in the UK for the past few months or work there permanently you will be aware that the UK is about to vote in a national referendum. The question being asked is a simple one: Should the United Kingdom remain a member or leave the European Union?


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Hotels should be honest about re-bookings . .

. . . otherwise they have to host cardboard boxes!

I’m a great admirer of the way hotels run their businesses. On the surface everyone you meet is as nice as pie and always enthusiastic to show you their latest improvement or upgrade. When it comes to the size of rooms and their current availability, they can be charmingly vague and relaxed. But don’t let this fool you.

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How does terrorism affect destination decisions?

John Fisher reviews the factors to take into account
Terrorist attacks in Paris, Brussels, Istanbul and elsewhere have prompted lots of media comment about ‘safe places’ to take corporate meetings and conference delegates. It makes interesting editorial copy, but it’s closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.


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How to make events less stressful

John Fisher provides a checklist of 7 essentials

A recent survey by Q Hotels in the UK highlighted the fact that more than 70% of event organisers lose at least two hours sleep the night before organising an important event.
More than a quarter reported that they feel anxious before an event. 98% say that they need time for their body to recover after an event due to all the pressures exerted by the constant do-it-now demands of professional event management.
Being concerned that all the planning goes right on the big day is not exclusive to event organisers, of course.


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Allow enough time to prepare . .

. . to ensure a happy audience

It’s easy to criticise an event for spelling mistakes on the screen or for an inaccurate delegate badge, but when your event is under way no-one stops to think about all the trials and tribulations endured to avoid those errors.
Sometimes the professional organiser gets a bigger kick out of rescuing an event from disaster than from the perfect execution of a well-trodden, regular event with no surprises. But how long should you spend putting an event together and is there such a thing as having too much or too little event preparation time?


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Give your event a theme

John Fisher shows how to attract more delegates

Imagine a world where people have no names. It would be very confusing for everyone. It also suggests that individuals are not very important. But as we know, individuals do have their own personality with a unique contribution to make. Being different can change groups of people and even nations by the sheer force of that difference. Personal charisma can even change history.

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Event management is a team game

Low-cost procurement might be dangerous

When we ask for advice we are usually looking for an accomplice. In other words, if we are putting together a complex event we often have a number of go-to suppliers who we know can do the job and also deliver it the way we want it. They may not be the cheapest or the most fashionable or have beautiful offices but we have been working together for a long time and we understand each other…mostly.

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Don’t spend incentive funds on the wrong people

Apply these basic rules

By definition, incentive travel means going somewhere as a result of an incentive campaign. Otherwise it’s just group travel.
But how many organisers are aware of what participants have had to do to qualify for such events and does it make any difference to the delivery of the travel experience on the ground, even if some have not actually qualified?


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Keeping track of delegates

John Fisher chips in with a suggestion

Pet owners may well be familiar with microchips that carry information in a small, plastic RFID, usually inserted into the back of an animal’s neck. In the UK some 7m pets are ‘chipped’ in this way, so that, if lost, they can easily be returned to their anxious owners.
It was Dr Mark Gasson who first pioneered the idea of data-carrying chips for humans in 2009 in the UK. The chip would carry vital health information in the event of accident or an incapacitating illness, so that medical professionals could diagnose problems more quickly and restore the patient to health again.


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State your budget and save time

.. and events will benefit, says John Fisher, Director, FMI Group

When you walk into a shop, with the intention of buying something, you generally have a pretty good idea of how much cash you have in your pocket or what you might expect to pay for the item you are seeking. The only decision then is whether to pay slightly more for slightly better quality. It’s called consumer choice.
So, why is it that when you buy corporate services such as events and travel the buyer almost always says the budget is secret?


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Are hosted buyers the answer?

Do compulsory appointments spoil the show?

So, you’ve got your hosted buyer status sorted, flights organised, dinner with a prestigious hotel group and promises of champagne receptions for several hours on the trot. Then comes the tricky bit…what to do about those troublesome timed appointments?
If you’ve ever been speed-dating, you will soon get the idea. The deal is that you have to see everyone, even the ones you think you would never in a million years be interested in.


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Is hospitality worth the trouble?

John Fisher, Director, FMI Group, asks incisive questions

After a recent seminar I conducted for event organisers about the UK Bribery Act…emphasising the point that hospitality was not illegal and that the Ministry of Justice was really not interested in who you may take to Wimbledon this year… one delegate from the pharmaceutical industry asked if it was okay, then, to still put chocolates on the pillows of cardiac specialists as a gift from the organisers. My reply was that if a heart surgeon was really going to be ‘unduly influenced’ by chocolates on his pillow, it’s probably time to look for another medic.

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When no show is a good show

Expensive extras can dilute the message

Once the venue is sorted, many conference organisers plunge headlong into ‘The Show’. But we know that deciding what to say can be problematic.
If the delegates are employees, there are sensitivities regarding who is delivering the message, how it should be said and what baggage they carry as internal speakers.
Add in that most finance or IT directors are not specifically employed for their sparkling charisma or ability to project a message and you begin to appreciate the complexities of mass human communication.


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