The IMEX team was on the road again in March with eight staff making the journey to the wonderful Spanish city of Granada for MPI’s European Meetings and Events Conference (EMEC).
Granada welcomed us with open arms and we enjoyed our conference experience thanks to the hard of work of the MPI Spain host committee, as well as countless MPI staff and volunteers.
For this IMEX on the Road blog post we asked the team to share three angles on their EMEC experience: Highlights. Takeaways. Connections.
The social events were very popular and it’s worth highlighting how they wove local flavours and culture into the conference.
“I particularly liked the use of the castanets in the opening ceremony when everyone in the audience was given a pair and asked to join in with the flamenco artists on stage. This was a great way to engage the audience while providing a touch of local inspiration” - Miguel Neves, Digital Content and Community Manager.
“The Tapas Tour was perfect for being able to have a less formal conversation and get to know the other participants” - Olivia O’Connor, Marketing Executive.
“The tour of the Alhambra and the Scavenger Hunt was a wonderful way to get out and about, learning about the city and networking in a relaxed way” - Lisa Townsend, Account Manager.
Finally, Milda Salciute’s (Knowledge and Events Executive) highlight was taking part in the IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum: “It was the first time I had a chance to tell my career story and get to know the students. They are amazing! Really creative, ambitious, with concrete career goals.”
The team’s takeaways range from small details to future-thinking concepts.
In the closing general session, we learnt about Live Action Role Plays (LARPs) from Dziobak Larp Studios. The crossover with the meetings and events industry took centre stage, yet it was the small detail of a small box of chocolates hidden under each audience member’s seat that won the audience (and the IMEX team) over.
Pitch Coach David Beckett of Best3Minutes’s General Session was widely acclaimed and many of the IMEX team also took part in the follow-up master class. And the main takeaway? Anyone can develop pitching skills. They apply to almost any role in our industry.
Sean McKenna (IMEX Business Services Executive) was impressed: “I learnt to engage audiences with a strong opening and how to use slideshows as an aide. I now know the focus needs to be on my words (not my slides) and how to use the ‘power of three’”.
In other EMEC sessions we learnt from social entrepreneurs who are changing our cities and about new types of technology events that are reinforcing the value of meeting face to face, rather than leading to any mass online migration. We also saw how immersive projection technology can transform the atmosphere in any space or setting, and witnessed new technologies - bots powered by artificial intelligence, machine learning, simultaneous translation devices and even viewer-responsive billboard adverts.
For a company whose new tagline is ‘We Are All Connected’ the IMEX team were never going to be slow in meeting new people or making new friends.
CEO, Carina Bauer’s networking efforts allowed her to gain a first-person perspective on how planners perceive IMEX and why they choose to attend. Meanwhile Lisa Townsend’s meeting with several Polish planners gave her a deeper understanding of this fast-developing market.
Richard Allchild, IMEX Sales Manager and VP Membership for MPI UK & Ireland, got to know the enthusiastic and welcoming Raúl de Gregorio Ménendez, his counterpart at MPI Spain Chapter (who also features in our IMEX 2017 promotional video). Elsewhere Miguel was warmly welcomed by Rocío Gómez, a new MPI member and the winner of our recent #IMEXsweepstakes competition.
Olivia met Deanna Roberts from D.R. Roberts Event Management and both became very animated and passionate about how to encourage more African American planners to industry events like EMEC or IMEX. (Watch this space…).
Sean was given some great networking tips by industry expert Peter Antoni from C&T Events, while Milda was delighted to meet Cellie Morales, Education Manager, SITE. “Cellie and I have been working on education plans for IMEX & IMEX America for the last three years but this was the very first time we’d had the chance to meet face-to-face!
After an exhausting but very rewarding few days at EMEC we returned to the office to share our learning, put our new ideas into action and invite new friends to join us at IMEX in Frankfurt and IMEX America. EMEC was a surefire hit. A valuable experience for each and every one of us - and you can be certain we’ll be there again next year for the newly announced SITE + MPI Global Forum in Rome, Italy.
Meanwhile we look forward to seeing you in Frankfurt in May. ’We are all connected’, after all!