"Don't Blame the Business Meeting," Ben Stein Says

"At the gatherings I attend, men and women fly coach, stay in immense, boxy hotels, start their meeting days at breakfast at 7 a.m. and work through the day until far later than seems reasonable to me. Then they do it again the next day and the day after that, finally enduring the torture of waiting at the airport, next to screaming children, in order to get home. "

Amidst all the harsh public criticism against meetings and events, it's nice to get a perspective like the above from Ben Stein. Though words like "lavish" and "extravagant" are swirling around the meetings industry these days, really, when was the last time you attended a business meeting or event only to spend three days on a golf course, enjoy night after night of five-course dinners, or put away the laptop/Blackberry so you could enjoy a day of spa treatments? Despite what the media puts out there, that's really not the case for the majority of business people.

"These meetings, while burdensome, are helpful to the businesses involved," Stein continues in an op-ed in The New York Times. "They cannot be entirely replaced with teleconferencing or mass e-mailing. The personal touch, the sharing of facts and secrets face to face, are important."

Right now the lines between true business meetings/travel and abusing government bailout funds are blurred. What do you think is the answer for turning around this perception?

Read the full op-ed at The New York Times
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