Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

October 08 2012

Go Behind the Planning Process with the Annual Meeting Program Committee

David McMillin

October 08, 2012

The Convening Leaders 2013 schedule is packed with more than 125 sessions that dig in to today's biggest trends and issues. With such a wide range of material, Claire Smith, chair of the Annual Meeting Program Committee and vice president of sales and marketing at the Vancouver Convention Centre, says that the conference team focused on the convenience of customization for attendees. 

"We understand that delegates want to be able to prepare a program that meets their individual needs, and this year's schedule builds in that ease of customization," Smith says.

As you browse this year's offerings to determine which topics are most relevant to your organization, here's a look at the behind-the-scenes thinking that went into developing the program.

What's In It For YOU?
Smith says that the committee approached the program with a personal perspective.

"When we make a decision to go to a conference, we really evaluate our own ROI before we actually make that commitment," Smith says. "We kept that in mind as we laid out the schedule. When you see the program, we want you to easily understand what you'll take home from Convening Leaders 2013."

Ultimately, Smith says that attendees will return to their desks with knowledge that fills in their crucial educational gaps.

"We had a great group of Task Force leaders who went back to their communities to ask a very key question: what don't know we know yet?" Smith says. "As we developed content, we strove to identify those missing links to deliver three days that will help all of us be more successful."

Thinking Outside the Lines
Being successful may begin with the ability to apply knowledge outside the meeting industry.

"Attendees will have the ability to look beyond their own basic needs," Smith says. "As they choose sessions, they'll be able to explore how lessons from other professions can create new opportunities."

The outer realm of education includes everything from the risk-taking power of improv theater to how science can help your negotiation skills. 

"This year's program gives attendees opportunities to stretch their own skill sets," Smith says. "They can enroll in the new PCMA Business School to tap into their entrepreneurial side, or they can choose from a number of Personal Development sessions to identify ways to become even better leaders."

International Insights
The evolving global economy is on everyone's minds, and this year, Smith says it stands front and center in the Convening Leaders schedule. From addressing critical legal issues in the Middle East and Asia to understanding how trade growth impacts your future, this year's programming takes the international element to a higher level. 

"Rather than revisiting the basics of planning meetings around the world , the Global Task Force honed in on the specific skills and knowledge that will help our members be more successful when they're looking at new international locations," Smith says. "How do you plan a meeting in Brazil? How do you negotiate in India? This year's schedule answers the planning community's biggest questions."

Everywhere You Look: Engagement
With non-traditional furniture and room sets in the new Corporate HQ and a newly created PCMA meeting game, Smith says that learning will come to life throughout the entire setting. 

"The conference team keeps engagement at the forefront of every piece of the planning process," Smith says. "This is a real 'show, tell and experience' environment. I think just being there will ignite excitement and new thinking."

The Work Continues
While the program is set and the PCMA community is buzzing with anticipation, the conference planning team and committee members are still hard at work. 

"The job isn't done yet," Smith says.

The team continues to have calls with this year's speakers to ensure that the vision for Convening Leaders 2013 translates into the actual on-site experience. 

To preview that vision and register for this year's meeting, visit the official Convening Leaders website

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