Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

June 12 2013

GMC PCMA June Chapter Event: Meeting Architecture and Your Stakeholders

GMC Program Committee

More than 150 live attendees and 35 virtual locations joined the GMC PCMA Chapter Event on June 5th at the Crowne Plaza O’Hare. As attendees arrived in the ballroom, their senses were stimulated by color, greenery, and lighting. They were greeted with a room divided by lime green, turquoise and vibrant orange colors and a set-up that made them think twice about where they wanted to sit. They could choose to sit at a cocktail round with two other attendees, a larger conference table with six friends, or in one of the chairs set theater style. Many attendees commented that overall décor and ambiance of the room made them think about the environment and invigorated them.

The June Education Program allowed all attendees, including our virtual audience, the opportunity to hear from a powerful panel on a relevant topic that many organizations are facing Meeting Architecture: Does your organization’s meeting have the infrastructure to meet the needs of your stakeholders? Throughout the session, the panelists focused on the strategy and tactics behind making changes. Sue Hohenhaus, Executive Director of the Emergency Nurses Association, reminded participants that culture change takes three years. That being said, Sue gave a glimpse into the research, strategy, and tactics that drove the changes that ENA made to merge two meetings into one.

As organizations consider changes to their events, it is imperative that research and analysis are done to make relevant decisions. John Folks, Founder and President, Minding Your Business, emphasized the importance of conducting surveys and focus groups.  He stressed that organizations should use the data to facilitate change, rather than just shelving the results. Our moderator, Teri Jordan, Vice President of Member Programs at the Association Forum of Chicagoland, also suggested that after each meeting, every meeting planner and organization should be able to name the top three satisfiers and dis-satisfiers.

The session was not just focused on planners. It was suggested that suppliers be prepared to share with their clients the “coolest thing” they have ever seen done in their hotel, city, or by their companies. Gary Vlk, Executive Vice President and Principal, One Smooth Stone, put it simply: “Steal the idea” and “make it work for your organization.” Gary also advised that planners and suppliers alike must become comfortable with ambiguity in order to survive and stay relevant in today’s industry.

The next Quarterly Education Program will take place on Tuesday, September 24th in downtown Chicago. Check future issues of the Newsletter and the Chapter Website for program details and registration.

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