Top Trends: In Serious Denial

I recently wrote a feature for Successful Meetings magazine, Top 9 Meetings Trends of 2017, of which the “Trump Effect” is part.

Everyone knows there’s a divide. While some people can’t get enough of the 45th POTUS, it seems other people CAN get enough of him. Here are just a few of the lengths to which people will go to deny him:

Make America Kittens Again #MAKA: This Chrome extension turns any photo it recognizes as Donald Trump into a picture of kittens. For example, if I have a #MAKA extension on and I look for images of Trump on Google, this is what I see:


According to MAKA creator Tom Royal, “I made it back in February [2015] when Trump was merely an annoyance . . . .” Royal admits that the extension is limited (does not work on Facebook or Twitter); however, he recently enlarged its scope to kittenize Mike Pence, Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen, and Geert Wilders.

Trump Blocker: For a seriously Trump-free desktop, this extension by NetLingo “removes Donald Trump from web pages and filters/removes Donald Trump from Facebook and Youtube” like a Magic Eraser. I would like to show you how well it works, but I’m afraid it would scrub this post before I’m through writing it. (NetLingo, which worryingly does not have a Web profile, also features a Hillary Blocker.)

For those who don’t wish to go the whole head-in-the-sand route but still need help coping with the recent turn of events, a new cottage industry in “Surviving Trump” is developing. Personally, I like that my SoCal neighbor, Palm Springs-based internal medicine physician and public speaker Kiran Dintyala (a.k.a. Dr. Calm), has coined the syndrome “Trumpertension,” which he characterizes as “a substantial increase in blood pressure unrelated to diet, sodium intake or exercise that is solely attributable to worries over what a Trump presidency may mean for your future and America’s.”

For more insights, read what Successful Meetings’ 25 Most Influential People of 2016 have to say about the Trump Presidency.

Learn these lessons from everyday meetings: Part One, Special Interests

While cleaning up the New Year’s Day detritus of dirty plates, glasses, and stomped-on confetti, most people ask themselves what they can do to better themselves (and, sometimes, the world). From losing weight and smashing the state, many feel an urgent need to make the incoming year mean something.

In meetings’ parlance, “special interest” meetings form because a single common cause gathers a group of people around it. And if there’s one single denominator of these meetings, it’s open dissatisfaction.

So if they haven’t already, fledgling planners should try to sit in on these meetings to learn how rules, agendas, and common courtesy can craft a positive outlook and, in some cases, forestall and curb disaster.

Most meetings fall into the following three categories:

Self-help. Lose weight, stop smoking/drinking, get in shape – These intentions are not only popular at the beginning of the year, they are highly lucrative. Many self-help groups are run by professional organizations like Weight Watchers and non-profits like hospitals and medical centers; others, like Alcoholics Anonymous, are self-governed.

Community. Community halls, school meetings, and prayer groups are the means by which issues involving neighborhoods’ care projects are set in motion and maintained. While there’s self-governance involved, there’s also a tendency to invoke external controls like “Robert’s Rules of Order” if things get a little off-track.

“Injustice.” Perceived wrongdoing, especially around events like elections, motivates people to want to “do something.” This year, for example, the presidential inauguration has galvanized a number of organized and grassroots meetings.

If you’re planning a meeting, here are some simple questions to ask:

  1. How should I react when my attendees start
    1. crying
    2. yelling
    3. cross-talking
  2. How can I keep my attendees
    1. courteous
    2. respectful
    3. safe

Wait, you ask: Did you say safe?

Yes, yes I did. While most meetings are just considered stultifying, a very few end in acrimony, violence, and death – as the recent conviction of Dylann Roof reminds us.

So how do we work to make those meetings very few to NONE?

This series will examine everyday meetings and see what makes them so extraordinary. Stay tuned.





Rinse repeat

You know how when you’ve just eaten an uncomfortably large meal, and then someone says, “Leave room for dessert?” That’s how I feel about 2016 and 2017: Way too much, and more to come.

In fact, I hesitate to call 2016 anno horribilis, because then what will I call 2017? (Like the person said, “Leave room.”)

Speaking of full, for months my Facebook feed had been filling with people either swearing that they would never talk to their family again, or that they themselves were being shunned by kinfolk. On a hunch, I reached out to Los Angeles’ Museum of Broken Relationships – which opened in June 2016 – to see if there’d been any anomalies in the submissions this past year. There had been: According to John B. Quinn, Esq., founder of the L.A. branch of the Zagreb phenom, “The areas [in which] we noticed a difference was in relationships that aren’t necessarily romantic. Relationships between family members, friends, and even business relationships have been submitted with more regularity.”

So there you have it. Last year was more than a bigly bad breakup – 2016 tore at the basic fabric of community. When family and friends fall out, where’s your lifeline? I hope this hasn’t happened to you, dear reader. It hasn’t happened to me personally, and the holidays were peacefully spent with my loved ones.

Sigh. But it’s a new year, and we begin again. And what better way to start than with some New Year’s resolutions? Here’s one I’ll share with you: To get this website under control! I’ve moved the platform from Wix to WordPress, since I was never happy with the templates on Wix. So with any luck, I’ll struggle less with design, which will leave more time for struggling with content.