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Have Meeting Planners Lost Sight of Their True Purpose?

As meeting professionals we have traditionally seen our roles either focused on logistics -- finding the right space, the appropriate set-up for a presentation, the food to be served.  At times we've had our "seat at the table" when we've been able to advocate for meetings as one of several strategic means of communication.

Unfortunately the "seat at the table" often translates into a need to produce revenue, especially for associations who so desperately depend on their annual conferences and tradeshows to support endeavours in other areas.

But in my experience, rarely have meeting planners seen themselves as the facilitators of human connections.  In the end, isn't that what we are truly being: facilitators, connectors, mediators of human relationships?

Because does the colour of the tablecloths, the taste of the food or the quality the AV presentation even matter if the people at the meeting didn't really connect -- to the material, to the presenter, to the sponsor, to each other?

I suppose the meetings industry is no different than many others in that it's easy to lose sight of our overall purpose... In the housing industry architects, contractors and real estate agents either can think of themselves as designing, building and selling housing units, or they can choose to be in the business of creating, building and finding the right home for a family to be safe, healthy and happy.

In this crazy-busy, hyper-connected and fragmented world, it's just too easy to lose sight of our true purpose.   And if the meetings industry doesn't see itself as bringing people together for the betterment of mankind, what else are we doing?