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The Art of Meetings, Indeed March 2014

This month KBC Member Molly Marsh shares some  information about her experience at the recent 2014 MPI MidAmerica Education Conference.    

The 2014 MPI MidAmerica Conference was an amazing illustration of just how apt an event theme can be.  As meeting professionals from all sides of the industry - planners, vendors, suppliers, speakers, and destination representatives - converged on (cold, but lovely) Columbus, Ohio it became very obvious that successful meetings and events are an art, not a science.  In the midst of issues caused by Mother Nature, the creativity and flexibility of all of MAC's leaders ensured that the event was a true experience for all involved.  The event was "positively inspiring," with the arts as a lens through which meeting professionals can create event experiences with lasting impact.

Music - Great events have a buzz and energy that provides a soundtrack to the experience. Thanks in great part to the contributions of DJ Toad, MAC 2014's soundtrack was lively, upbeat and positive.  Incorporating music in each session and throughout the conference tied the participant community together beautifully and created an environment of connection and collaboration.  Attendees were also encouraged to reflect on their "entrance song," noting the power of music to inspire positive attitude and impact on community.

Visual Art - Whether it was a photo from Pinterest, a Chihuly sculpture, innovative AV, or a chalk painting done before attendees' eyes, MAC 2014 gave a multitude of opportunities for visual inspiration.  The Columbus Museum of Art played host to an amazing reception, bringing to the forefront how a unique space can spark creativity in attendees.  Building a dynamic and visually engaging event space can have a significant impact on participant experience, but doing so requires proactive collaboration among all meeting professionals involved.  Through both session content and the execution of the event itself, MAC highlighted the value an event can provide when planners and suppliers come together to create a beautiful and stimulating environment.

Theatre - MAC 2014 was quite the production!  Improvisation techniques demonstrated the need for flexibility and quick-thinking to be effective in the course of an event.  MAC participants heard about levity as an opportunity to show personality and make connections - a point certainly not lost on the Hyatt Columbus when the host venue staff took the floor for their flash mob!  Meeting professionals play many roles in the production (sometimes all at once), so planning, communication and collaboration is key.  The ultimate curtain call is hearing great feedback from participants; if the chatter among attendees as the conference concluded is any indication, the MAC 2014 planning team is sure to receive a standing ovation.

Meetings, like art, really are intensely personal experiences.  As meeting professionals, the goal is always to design an experience that will be memorable and valuable.  All of the elements - from the soundtrack to the visual environment, to the live production - are important but really only bring value to the event if they bring attendees together for a shared experience.  Ultimately, MAC 2014 helped remind us all of the true art behind any meeting: the people.  

Click here to go to the KBC Facebook page to see some photos of this year's conference!

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