Where better than the home of the five-time NFL Champion Dallas Cowboys—AT&T Stadium—to meet for an intense day of education, inspiration and fun? Smart Meetings one-day Regional Experience took the personalized meetings to Arlington, Texas, for VIP access to a venue full of special spaces.

From a huddle on the field with the original No. 88, Drew Pearson, to a reception in the owner’s Optum Club with Cowboys Cheerleaders and a tour of the locker room, the day was filled with memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.

How to Fix a Failure to Communicate

A man and a woman are talking to each other at a round table in a conference center.

Also on the Texas-event agenda, a communications boot camp with two in-demand speakers. Sandra Shelton, CEO of StrengthBank, explained that there is no “new normal,” there is only “new” and stellar communication is still the cornerstone for working together productively across generations. “Relationships form the backdrop of success not only for each person, but for the entirety of organizations,” she said.

Each individual brings a unique “bank of strengths” that when called upon appropriately, can allow the group to function at its highest level. Meeting professionals are ideally positioned to call on their communication and storytelling skills to bring out the best in each member of the team.

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“People are the real bottom line because every business decision is ultimately made by one person; and, inevitably, every success begins with one conversation. That is why simplicity and clarity are vital and we must weave relationships rather than amassing information,” she concluded. “There is a difference between talking and communicating and it starts with having a heart for looking at the other person.”

Culture Shock

Author Daren Martin, PhD, speaks onstage. He has a stubbled gray beard and a blue suit jacket.
Daren Martin

Daren Martin, PhD, author of “Whiteboard: Business Models that Inspire Action,” was also on hand to pump up attendee effectiveness in their careers and personal lives. Martin is known as the Culture Architect for his work consulting companies—including hospitality companies—on strategic steps to empower change.

First, he delivered some tough news. “Low employee engagement is the largest tax on a company. We have too many somber employees,” he said. But then he reassured the group that the answer is in their grasp. “The solution to kick *ss meetings and hiring top employees is culture,” he said. And that starts with putting the nebulous concept of culture into words—three actionable ones to be exact.

Using The Ritz-Carlton’s motto: “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen” as an example, everyone in the room came up with a short mantra for how they would like to interact with the world.

His parting words from his newest book, “A Company of Owners: Maximizing Company Engagement,” empowered everyone to take ownership of their careers and events by looking beyond the checklist. “Having fun at work is good business,” he said.