Geraldine Gatehouse, from our Marcoms Team, talks to Sylvia Taylor and Milda Salciute in our Knowledge and Events Team about how they create our ever expanding IMEX education programme.
Education is a big part of the IMEX experience. Whether it’s a keynote, one of the hundred plus sessions on the Inspiration Hub or our immersive pre-show education day - EduMonday at IMEX in Frankfurt and Smart Monday at IMEX America – the focus on learning is paramount. And that means a large number of speakers – qualified individuals who provide those gold nuggets of knowledge that help all attendees up their educational ante. It’s a hefty job, and my colleagues in our Knowledge Team are the people who work through the large number of speaker submissions to choose the very best. And that procedure is an art in itself.
Audience feedback is the first step
Where to start? Well, post-session survey feedback is very important; the team reviews all comments thoroughly to see what insights they can glean from the previous year and that helps focus direction. Based on feedback received this year we’re on the lookout for speakers to talk about artificial intelligence, security, communication and successful supplier/planner relationships within our 10 tracks of learning. How about spotting new trends, I asked? Turns out that my Knowledge colleagues read submissions with just that thought in mind. We also look to expand our existing horizons and broaden the scope of educational offerings. Our new approaches to current subjects are important to keep the programmes fresh, and the content relevant.
Blind reviewing is the key
Ours is such a social and connected industry that it occurred to me it might be awkward to grade a submission if one of the team already knew the speaker. So, what process does our Knowledge Team employ? All submissions are ‘blind reviewed’, which means the team have no idea who the speaker or the company behind that submission actually is.
Each member of our five-woman Knowledge Team (plus some members of our Marcoms and Event Tech Teams) reviews the 200 or more submissions anonymously, individually rating the sessions, which means they are chosen objectively based on the whole team’s ratings. Once the results are known, the team comes together to look at the highest rated sessions, as well as the ratio and balance of topics. We also take into consideration the most appropriate format – would a session be better as a seminar or more suitable as a small campfire session, or hot topic table for instance - and if the speaker would be comfortable with this delivery method.
Providing high value through content
Many changes have occurred since our early shows; the scale of educational content and number of sessions has increased considerably; 30 sessions in 2003 have become over 200 today. The scope is broader and of much higher quality. Our Knowledge Team have also introduced the use of an audience response/interaction tool and a great relationship with Sli.do has flourished, focused on quality and ease of use. Using Sli.do’s audience response system increases attendee engagement and encourages speakers to get immediate feedback during their session, and possibly refocus their topic based on areas of interest.
Our expanded Inspiration Hub handles all sessions taking place on the show floor. On the speaker side, we help presenters prepare well in advance with personal calls, webinars and content preparation, so they know what to expect and can use that insight to maximise their speaking opportunities.
We continuously strive for maximum planner ROI. In addition to the exposure to the global marketplace that the shows provides our attendees, it’s important that planners can go back to their offices armed with new, relevant knowledge to use both in their work and to share with their teams. Our IMEX in Frankfurt 2017 feedback survey results are impressive. 85% of respondents said they would be likely to use the information in their current job role; 89% of respondents rated the presentation content as good or very good, and 89% rated the presenter, as good or very good.
Exhibitor education is not forgotten either! We're proud to shape our exhibitions around our clients’ needs. There are a number of sessions dedicated to exhibitors and scheduled at the best time for them, on Monday or Thursday afternoon.
It’s true! Free education is yours for the taking
It’s said that “the best things in life are free”. And this is certainly true at IMEX. It bears repeating here that all the education, apart from a few certification classes, is free to all registered attendees. This applies to everyone – planners, suppliers, exhibitors, students – everyone. Registration to the show is also free to all qualified industry professionals. And, drum roll, please for this important fact! Approximately 80% of eligible sessions are accredited with CEUs for CMP Certification.
Our Knowledge Team is committed to providing the best quality educational programme in terms of content, delivery, format, speakers and relevance. With us, it’s personal. We're excited that we can provide this level of education to our show audience.
We’re the family you never knew you had
We believe in quality, which underpins everything we do; in inspiration, with the power of bringing people together to share ideas, discover new tools, learn new skills and inspire innovation; and in collaboration. We consider everyone in our industry to be part of our extended family; strong personal relationships are at the heart of IMEX.
Interested in learning more or speaking at IMEX America? Speaker submissions are now open until 2 July 2018. Apply here. We look forward to seeing you at IMEX America, October 16-18, 2018.