My annual trek to Meeting Professionals International’s World Education Conference this year got a bonus. Minnesota is my “home” so I was able to sneak in a pre-conference visit to my parents and family. I enjoyed seeing fireflies, eating home-cooked meals and getting some much needed R&R in weather that wasn’t a sweltering humid mess. Driving back from “small town middle-of-no-where” through the miles and miles of cornfields and soybeans, it was nice to see the contemporary style of the Minneapolis skyline.
Here is a list of some of my favorite highlights at the MPI WEC 2014:
1. Educational Sessions
This year I thought the educational content was top rate, from sessions on “How to Hack Into LinkedIn” to “Demonstrating the Value of Meetings.” I’ll admit that I’ve been feeling a bit jaded when it comes to conferences, but for the first time in years I left WEC feeling like I actually learned new content. I also enjoyed that the Flashpoint Speakers had the opportunity to do follow-up breakout sessions to dig deeper into their topics.
2. Opening Night
I thought the “From | To” presentation of Minneapolis was very nicely executed.
3. Opening General Session Skit
Actually being “Minnesotan” I thought the opening skit performed by the comedy club was hilarious. When they opened with the ice fishing bit I thought, “OH NO!” but they nailed the transition. I loved the Brave New Workshop Comedy Theater.
4. CSR Central
Although it felt a little out of the way from the rest of the event, I think the showcase of the many different types of ways to participate in a CSR event was clever.
5. Visit Orlando Breakfast
Great way to start a day by laughing along with John Di Domenico aka “Richard Simmons!”
6. Saving $100
If you registered for WEC 2015 by the end of the conference you saved $100!!!
7. “Repeating Sessions”
I especially loved that they had many sessions offered more than once and it was clearly marketed.
8. Live Streaming
The live streaming and recorded sessions online were easy to get to. I wanted to take two different classes at the same time, so it was refreshing that I knew I could easily watch one of them later online. I also got to re-watch the really funny opening skit!!!!
9. Dance Band at Rendezvous
Bella Diva – Electrifying performance…they rocked it!!!
10. Baton Toss to Kevin Kirby
I liked how MPI delivered their message about their focus and direction in the opening session. Is it just me or was it so cute that he brought his family and gave them a shout out?
Bonus: Steve Wozniak aka “The Woz” – His real, down-to-earth style during the Rise Awards Lunch and his peek into how brilliant people think was a real treat.
Room for Improvement:
1.App-Only Program – Ok, I know it’s because I have a “new” Windows phone (less than 5% market share) and nobody is making apps for this new platform operating system yet, so I had to navigate the old fashioned way: by the onsite newspaper, signage and just asking around. Hopefully by next year a few more people will buy the Windows phone so we can get some real apps.
2.Final Night – Of course it’s hard to follow Vegas, but I felt the final night event was measurably less than previous years and cities (ok, maybe I was hoping for a private Prince concert…a girl can dream can’t she?) However, it made me ponder whether next year I should just hop on the plane after the closing session like many of my peers did…but it’s San Francisco, so I am sure I’ll stick around until the very end and then go kicking and screaming back to the plane.
3.Hosted Buyer Timeframe – Although I didn’t participate in Hosted Buyer this year, many of my planner friends felt like they missed out on some great education and were completely overwhelmed or brain-dead by having to do them for so many hours in a row. A better solution might be to split it into two half days.
Did you attend MPI WEC 2014? How was your experience?
See you next year!