Downward Dogma: Meeting Planning Mistakes That Promote Divisiveness

A few weeks ago, a doe-eyed workshop volunteer stopped me at the entrance to the crowded meditation room.

“Has anyone talked to you about our dress code?” she asked. “You see, we require you to wear white 2015-10-27-1445953856-4700475-25465605_sclothing from head to toe. Our teacher said that if you don’t have anything light to wear, you will have to sit out the next session and go home to change clothes. Another option is that you can buy some of our clothing in our upstairs room.”

Truthfully, I had no idea about any dress code. I scoured my email inbox and could not locate a message from the event organizers.

I walked away to confer directly with the instructor. Little did I know my alleged wardrobe infraction would cause a stir among the 160 white-clad crowd. Throughout the morning, several devoted yoginis approached me and espoused the vibrational and psychic benefits of white clothing. Within that short time, I no longer felt like I belonged here.

This meditation group delivered quite a learning experience—just not the kind I intended.

How effective is your organization at creating safe, trusting environments for internal or external audiences? What do you do to ensure you succeed at delivering a memorable experience for everyone?

I have hosted more than 28 exclusive CMO events in the past four years (including CLIC ’15). Whenever I ask participants what they liked the most about these sessions, they unanimously say “It was a safe haven to share my challenges and connect at a deeper level with my peers.”

This avoidable workshop experience created unnecessary angst for me and my fellow participants. In my latest HuffingtonPost article, I share the four meeting planning mistakes that caused this avoidable mishap. They include:

  1. Initially offering customers the most costly and inconvenient remedy.
  2. Assuming everyone knows the rules.
  3. Applying the rules inconsistently.
  4. Choosing corrective action over preventive action.

Check out the complete article on my HuffingtonPost blog.

If you ignore the power of preventive actions, your profits and repute are in peril. Customers just might bow to comedy guru Groucho Marx, who once said “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.”

How would you have handled this situation? Share your thoughts in the comments section here.

Other posts you will enjoy:

Copyright 2015, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.

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