Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

January 11 2015

3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Convening Leaders Kicks Off

By David McMillin

The four most valuable days in the meetings industry have officially arrived. As 4,000 suppliers and meeting professionals begin their educational journeys in Chicago, here are three questions to make sure PCMA’s big plans pay big dividends.

1) How can you dig deeper?

It’s no secret that a 60-minute educational session can put some limitations on the length of a conversation. However, this year’s program includes some powerful opportunities to continue digging even deeper into the subject matter. From post-session Q&A forums with thought leaders to breakfast roundtable discussions that extend the life of the prior day’s afternoon sessions, you can shatter the boundaries of a typical session time frame. Outside of structured scheduling, be sure to use networking events and 15-minute breaks as opportunities to discuss pressing issues and trends with your fellow attendees.

2) How can you make it personal?

You’ll see plenty of big-picture ideas at Convening Leaders. While those big ideas may not directly apply to your organization and your responsibilities, the trick is figuring out how to use the session takeaways, the stage set-ups and the new technologies for your own good. When Andrew Zolli discusses the age of volatility on Monday morning, think about what feels unstable within your own organization. When you hear another meeting planner talk about developing a mobile app for a meeting of 6,000 attendees, consider what your group would need in that same app. When you visit TechCentral, think about which new tools might be able to revolutionize your own professional life. No matter where you turn or what you see, always think about how you can refine new ideas to meet your own specific needs.

3) How can you make the learning actually last?

It’s a challenge that faces every conference-goer: how do I remember hours and hours of insights, ideas and conversations.

“Your first Convening Leaders kind of feels like a first trip to Vegas,” Rocco LaForgia, CASE, Director of Sales, Worldwide Accounts, Hilton Worldwide, says. “There is so much stimulation.”

To avoid letting the bright lights of big plans cloud your brain, LaForgia says he aims to remember at least one key takeaway from each session he attends. Still, just remembering may not be enough. LaForgia puts reminders in his calendar about some of the ideas he wants to share with clients and colleagues.

Not able to come to Chicago? Click here to register for the hybrid meeting for the friendly price of zero dollars.

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