In the spirit of the theme of Meeting Professionals International’s World Education Conference 2019 in Toronto, the Smart Meetings team gathered lessons from the main stage and The Village floor to share with event professionals who couldn’t attend.
Marry the Head and the Heart
Use motivational hot buttons to help attendees reach their full potential, suggested Janet Traphagen, president of Creative Group. That includes the drive to innovate and create, acquire new skills and bond. By tapping into these internal motivators, we can more effectively deliver our messages and changing behavior. She added that in addition to using planning skills we have learned over the years, we also need to use our heart. By approaching people authentically, we connect deeper.
Or, as Carina Bower, CEO of IMEX, explained in her opening remarks from the main stage, “When we share emotional experiences, it changes the dynamics of the group.”
Look to the Future
Just outside the trade show floor, IACC turned its recent research on what people want to see in meetings in the coming decade into a colorful, flexible space with lots of fun conversation areas. Taking more tips from the pages of IACC’s new Meeting Rooms of the Future 2019 report, the team provided food and beverage options that appeal to all the senses, are sustainable and will keep people alert and happy. Mark Cooper, CEO of IACC, spent the day sharing findings on everything from cybersecurity to pleasing millennials in a series of “practice explorations” that attendees could bring back to their suppliers to discuss.
Lead with Stories
Regardless of your title, you can make a difference in people’s lives by connecting with them on a human level. Michael Dominguez, senior vice president and chief sales officer for MGM Resorts International, explained this with examples from his beloved San Antonio Spurs.
“Leadership is hard, and we don’t talk about it enough, but as change is coming faster every day, it is even more important,” he said. He explained that like a coach who is thinking of what is best for the team while caring about each individual, leading requires humility and trust. “Fear of insignificance is the biggest fear people have. Make them feel appreciated,” he said. “Say, ‘thank you.’”
That message of connecting with genuine stories was echoed from the main stage as Robert Fogarty, founder of Dear World, explained the power of storytelling. He also led attendees in an exercise to share their pivotal experiences and boil them down to a word or phrase they could write on their body. “Everyone has a story,” he said.