Attending industry events, conferences and expos is one of the best ways to improve your meeting planner chops. They give you the chance to learn about emerging trends and meet other planners who understand your challenges.
Whether you work for a corporation, an association, a nonprofit or freelance, investing in yourself will infuse new life into your meeting planner mojo.
PCMA Convening Leaders
Jan. 12-15, 2014
The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) holds their annual Convening Leaders conference for everyone in the meeting industry: planners, suppliers, faculty and even students. Sessions incorporate subjects from technology to strategy to leadership. To top it off, there are 15 top-tier featured speakers including Tina Brown, renowned journalist and author of The Relevant Revolution – From the Page to Face-to-Face.
MPI World Education Congress
Aug. 2-5, 2014
Every year, about 3,000 meeting and event planners gather for this meeting. They come for a fully-rounded experience with topics from both inside and outside the industry, and sessions that range from lectures to interactive experiences to peer-to-peer discussions. The dozens of sessions teach about every iota of meeting planning including creating a great meeting website, obtaining the best speakers, increasing attendee satisfaction and more.
ASAE Annual Meeting and Exposition
Aug. 9-12, 2014
Where some meetings may focus specifically on planning, this one provides perspectives from those who market and oversee meetings for associations. The 120+ learning sessions focus on giving an entirely rounded perspective on how meetings work. And every type of learning style is accommodated too. Sessions range from 5-minute Ignite talks to in-depth half-day workshops.
Las Vegas, NV
Oct. 14-16, 2014
This is the largest meetings industry trade show in the U.S., attracting thousands of buyers and exhibitors each year. Want to attend? It’s free. There are over 100 education sessions, many of which qualify for CMP credits. In addition, there is plenty of networking, meeting vendors, and fun. It is in Las Vegas after all.
IAEE Expo! Expo!
Dec. 9-11, 2014
The International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) hosts their annual conference and exhibition to help meeting planners network, share their expertise, and learn the latest industry essentials. This year, they’re boasting an 80+-course program and CEM Designation Program led by industry experts. In addition, hundreds of exhibitors will be on hand showing the latest in meeting planning products, services and solutions.
Site Global Conference
Dec. 2014 (Date not yet released)
Celebrating its 41st year of educating meeting planners about motivational experiences, this conference is one of the most trusted names in the industry. Whether you want to learn and network with a global event professional crowd or pick up some more CMP credits, this conference will not waste your time.
Events like these keep your skills current and your creativity fresh. If you can’t make any this year, keep your eyes open for local events. Many of these organizations have regional chapters that hold smaller meetings where you can hone your talent. But as meeting planners know, there’s really nothing like going to a big conference to refresh the professional spirit.