PCMA Shows the Way!

Here are some thoughts after attending PCMA’s recent Convening Leaders conference.

In short, I thought that purely from an education session point of view it was a resounding success. My eyes were particularly open in the Learning Lounge, which was a giant portion of the San Diego Convention Center that was used for the Virtual Edge Summit—you’ve got to love the feel of live broadcasting going on all around you—and other educational sessions.

First off, attendees had to enter the General Session space through the Learning Lounge—not to nitpick, but it was a little cavernous to be called a lounge!...but I digress.

On the left side right after the entrance was a seating area with comfy chairs and couches, which was good for resting the feet, making calls on your cell phone or for impromptu meetings—good stuff.

At the very back were two “open-air” sessions on a large platform. One found attendees clustered around a table at one, pecking away at their tablets and looking at a presenter work a big screen—very “hands-on.” The other session featured one of my favorite folks in the meetings industry, Corbin Ball, who was presenting on mobile applications.

It all had a very informal, interactive feel to it. I just stood at the back with a couple of my industry friends and took it all in—and didn’t feel like I was “lurking” or interfering at all. Since I was mainly there to observe, I wandered away after I got a good feel for the presentation, and it didn’t bother anyone. Don’t you hate that feeling when you’re in a conference room and you walk out—everyone’s watching you leave, or maybe you’re offending the presenter?

Down on the main floor, another thing struck me—no, not the buffet or coffee station, either.

It was a group of six or seven attendees sitting in front of a video screen, interacting with a presenter (or maybe it was another planner). That was really cool.

All in all, it seemed like an education environment that was more in tune with the learners than a cookie-cutter format where folks were just squeezed into a windowless conference room to see a PowerPoint. (Okay, there were a bunch of those, too, but those will probably never go away—I did like the “overflow” area where people were seated in chairs watching a video screen and audio of a full session).

All in all, it just seemed like there was an energy to the conference, and I think what PCMA President and CEO said about the association “taking risks” with content presentation was right on the mark, in more ways than one.

For two of my recent reports, access the following links on MeetingsToday.com:

It’s Official: PCMA Sets Records

PCMA Convening Leaders May Set Record 

 

And a video interview with PCMA leader Deborah Sexton 

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