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With a plethora of MICE undertakings in the second half of any given year the nation rapidly coasts downhill towards the end-of-year recess. Mentally we are already in planning mode for the great shut-down following a hard year. With so much to do and so little time organisers should be reflecting on the reasons delegates are not necessarily flocking to register.

Was it the programme content? Was it the timing? Was it confusion with a similar MICE gathering? Was it the array of same old presenters? Was it the fee structure? Was it the venue and its questionable location? Its all too easy to blame the economy. So the answers are sought from every conceivable angle.

Regrettably there are no immediate solutions. There are hard and fast practical rules that govern effective MICE organising.

1.The objectives must be set, placed in writing and agreed by all stakeholders. Paramount atthe outset is not to go off on a tangent and manipulate the agreed objectives along the way.The message is to have the courage of the convictions as laid down.

2.In tandem must be the method, meaning the achieving of the objectives are to beevaluated on immediate completion of the MICE gathering;

Be prepared to realise that the outcome may not be as successful as planned.

The prime rule: no MICE gathering is ever an end in itself. Each MICE gathering must signal a new beginning. This is regarded as true ROO (Return on Objectives) with outcomes based results.

With the realisation of low numbers looming, now is the time to plan for a thorough evaluation direct to the potential future delegates, the day after the current MICE undertaking, that were not bowled over by egos and arrogance to rush through their completed registration forms. With hand-on-heart by getting to grips with an authentic evaluation organisers may discover that the majority of the potential delegates remained potential because their real needs were not understood, let alone a part of the MICE undertaking.

Unless the potential delegate can be persuaded by the organisers that the time and effort is well-spent, with a trigger message that signals must attend no matter what, the mouse-trap will need to be re-invented.

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