It’s Day Two of Meeting Professionals International’s (MPI) World Education Congress in St. Louis. The event is off to a great start with an amazing Opening Party at Busch Stadium. The energy is intense and I am looking forward to the rest of the conference.
Yesterday, Midori and I had the honor of facilitating WEC For Me, a session designed to help conference attendees get acquainted with all of the activity happening over the week. This is a complex event with educational content, an interactive marketplace and LOTS of special events. With busy schedules prior to the conference, many people never get a chance to plan their agendas and often miss out on the activities that they would enjoy if they knew about them. This session allowed people the time to understand and plan their time so that they would get the most out of WEC.
We opened the session by asking attendees to write their story about why they were attending WEC and what they hoped to accomplish during their time here. We know that many employers want justification regarding the benefit of attending, and this exercise promoted strategic thinking.
Next we played a game to help people find a buddy during the conference. I know what it is like to be at an event without knowing anyone and how lonely it can be. Our game, Logo Lookout used sponsor names and logos on flashcards to create pairings. Once a two people were matched, they were encouraged to exchange contact information and make plans to connect again at some point during the conference.
If you ever read a choose your own adventure book, you will appreciate the next part of the program. Attendees were able to choose how they spent their time by either working through what educational sessions they wanted to attend; taking one of three tours that showed them where to find things like session rooms, technology and all of the “extras; or simply networking with people in the room. The tours were more than just a guided conversation, participants played a mobile game through an application called Goose Chase that was developed by GeoTeaming and sponsored by San Francisco. With missions (including taking a photo with your favorite speaker), this game added a whole new dynamic to the tours.
We ended the program by asking everyone to commit to doing something (anything they wanted) by October. They wrote their commitments on self-addressed postcards and we will mail them back to them in three months.
We had a great time facilitating and we think everyone else did too. By having a dedicated time to identify conference goals, plan an agenda and understand all of the options available, WEC For Me was definitely NOT your mama’s orientation.
If you are planning an event and would like more information on creating an orientation like no other, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We checked WEC for Me off of our to do list! Thanks Randy Crabtree for being a great model!