Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

February 2014

3 Top Takeaways From the World's Largest Medical Meeting

By Molly Brennan, Contributing Editor

I can drape off a space where those two segments can find each other. Seeing it done on a big scale with all the bells and whistles made me realize, ‘I can do that.’”

Growing international attendance is also a common goal among meeting professionals, and with international participants representing 38 percent of total attendees at RSNA 2013, the organization took a number of steps to ensure they had a positive experience — from making signage more language-neutral and international-friendly to hosting “Navigating RSNA 2013 Schedule” sessions in seven different languages in the Global Connection Zone within the Member Services Area.

Also in the Member Services Area, an interactive Google Maps station allowed attendees to see who was at RSNA 2013 from their home country, and to add their own contact information to a directory for meeting requests. They could also view the geographic makeup of attendees via a large world map dotted with magnetic pushpins. Though simpler in execution than the Google Maps station, the map garnered significant interest from both attendees and the planners on the tour. “I definitely want to do the world map of who's coming from where,” Paschall said. “We have international attendees, and though it's not a large percentage, it's fascinating for them to find out where others are coming from. Anybody could pull that off. It could be as simple as a $5 map from Staples and thumbtacks. You could do it for $10.”

That type of customization could be applied to many of the big-show features that RSNA employs, Sparks said. In fact, adapting lessons learned to a meeting's unique personality and parameters is the only way to adopt them successfully. “I hope no one walked away from RSNA saying, ‘I need to do this or exactly that,’ because an organization that wants to implement change must custom-fit solutions for their particular audience and goals,” Sparks said. “It's not about copying the latest or greatest trend, but looking at innovative ways to deliver content and interact with your attendees, and then studying the specific needs and learning styles of your attendees so you can apply those strategies to your audience.”

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