Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Guide Was Missing #WEC11 (Updated 8-6-11)

Cleaning up always solves problems.  I am here cleaning my desk at 4AM on a Sunday morning.  I just came across my conference guide for Meet Different.  Aha!  That is what the World Education Congress was missing.  Yes, we had an App for that, but it was not as good as the Meet Different Conference Guide.

First it lays out the theme.  Where BOLD Meets Business.  Word for word, not the best slogan but it looks pretty cool so that gets you jazzed.  Open it up and you have conference at a glance.  Much better on 8.5 by 11 pages than a cellular phone.

I know it is not particularly green to be asking for a carbon rich glossy conference guide but we have to find a happy medium.  I turn a couple more pages and I see the conference map of Moon Palace (Which was huge).  Guess what else was huge.  Orlando Conference Center and the partner sites around the hotel. Attendees could have used a really nice map in their hands where anyone and everyone could reference it.

The daily schedules are much easier to interact with when laid out on paper as well.  What is the solution?

How do we get rid of the need for the conference guide but still provide that quality experience?

Print the conference guide online in PDF Format.  Develop it but never print it.  That way attendees have access through laptop, business center or mobile devices to see the full scale docs.

In addition to that also invest (let me say that twice).  INVEST, in a fully operational and truly awesome app.  Do not use something that is even just a step above cookie cutter.  If you have a huge conference spend the money, focus the sponsorships on that killer app.  Your attendees and your sponsors will thank  you because it will become a part of the positive story.

I enjoyed the app but it had so many limitations and bugs that you complained about it more than you thought it was cool.

Any thoughts on Conference Apps vs. Conference Guides?  Please post below.  Thank you!

Here are a few photos of the Z-Cards and the MeetDifferent Conference Guide.
Meet Different Conference Guide Map of Resort and Conference Sites

Meet Different Conference Guide

Meet Different Conference Guide Map of Resort and Conference Sites

Meet Different Conference Guide

Meet Different Conference Guide

Meet Different Conference Guide
WEC Z-Card Program Descriptions

There were four separate cards "Friday-Sunday", "Monday", "Tuesday", "Maps/General Info" -- One thing you lack up front is a table of contents.  Looking for a particular program where do you look.  The WEC App was a potential solution. 

WEC Z-Card

WEC Z-Card (I did not look at this map until conference was over.  oops.)

WEC Z-Card Map

WEC Z-Card - More fold out Program descriptions.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Networking: 5 Lessons from MPI's World Education Congress 2011 #WEC11

Meeting Professionals International Annual Conference took place on July 23-26, 2011.  Planners and suppliers converged on Orlando's conference center to educate themselves, promote business interests and have a generally good time.  The conference offers some great speakers, many business opportunities and some great parties.

Networking is such a large word.  It is used to describe many things.  But it is a huge skill that is needed for successfully gaining Return On Investment (ROI) for a meeting that can easily cost an individual or business upwards of $2000.00 per person to attend.  

One of the ways that MPI continues to support its members is by providing education that allows its members to communicate and subsequently network with their peers, clients, and potential clients better.

A few of my lessons:

#1. Asking questions

It is usually very difficult to start a conversation.  But there are simple truths in this world like the fact most people like showing that they are knowledgeable.  From "what sessions have you been in today?" to "what vendor have you used that you really enjoyed working with?" the answers tell you something about the person you are speaking with.  Your super power is defined in how well you can listen and find the points of interest that can extend your conversation.

Conversation Keys: 

A. People enjoy talking about themselves.  They also enjoy hearing their own name so be sure to say "Karen, please tell me more about your involvement with that great event."  This also helps you to remember people's name so submit your dialogue partner's name into the conversation as often as possible.

B. People enjoy someone who listens.  So if you can't focus, find your focus before continuing a conversation otherwise the people you are speaking with will be really turned off.

#2. Take Action

How do you find the right people to connect with?  Ask the right questions!  Take action and openly pursue your goals with honesty and integrity.  Be honest with people about who you are looking to connect with and listen as the suggestions flow.  Listen and then take action!

#3. Think You Can

It is so easy to psyche  yourself out.  We create our destiny.  If we believe we can't, we are right!  If we believe we can, we are right!  Tell yourself you can talk with people.  You can record their information and you can pursue your business goals.

#4.  Love People

This is really tip #1 but this is probably the hardest suggestion at least at times for people to follow.  You know who is influential in your market.  You may not like, love or even have an opinion one way or another about the person you need to speak to but I would argue that you need to love them anyway.

Speaker Sue Hershowitz-Coore who is a regular presenter/educator at MPI International meetings talks about loving the room as a presenter and loving the person you are speaking with for sales and personal connection.  Simply by "caring" (possibly a good substitute for the word love if love is too strong for you) about the person or people you are speaking with they will perceive you differently.  When you make the extra effort to care and love the person you are speaking with people take notice and appreciate your attention to detail and you caring attitude.

#5. Keep Moving

For a large convention like MPI's WEC there are over 2200 people at the conference.  You will not meet everyone.  But one way you can meet more people is to make sure you do not sit with the same people all the time.  Make a conscientious effort to sit with someone you have just met and all of their friends.  They will help to introduce you around.  If they do not, it is definitely not time to be shy - Introduce yourself!  

I have often felt that once I made a few friends maybe I was obligated to stick around.  My feeling on this is ask people what they are doing next.  Discuss your goals together.  If you have matching priorities than continue on down the hall or reception line with them.  But, if you have differing agendas then you have just got your permission to leave and no one feels disrespected or guilty.

Networking is an art.  It is definitely not something I have perfected and your ideas would really be appreciated.  I desire to be an ever more effective networker.  

BONUS TIP # 6 is to introduce people to other people you know.  This generates good will towards yourself and is generally a very nice thing to do.

Please leave your comments below and I hope to see you at a meeting soon!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Google Goggles: Augmented Reality (Updated 8-6-11)

When will be able to effectively google the world?  Do you know what Google Goggles are?  Here is a link to the site:

I was never forced into taking a Botany course throughout my public school experience in NYC.  As a matter of fact I don't think I even had the option in school.  I perhaps, could have sought opportunities as a high school student with the parks department but the urge never struck me.

Now as I live in Valhalla, NY in Westchester County I live in a watershed green environment.  The Kensico Dam is within walking distance I have a huge yard in the back of my house and a healthy lawn in front as well.

With absolutely no Botany experience I have no idea what plants names are and very little clue to what type of care would be best to grow what I like and weed out what I do not.

For example, the tree in my front yard is blooming but I have no idea what is called.  Here is a picture can you tell me what it is?  I have included a close up of the flowers which are now in bloom.
Tree in front of my house.  What type of tree is it?
Flowers from the same tree.  What are the flowers called?

Here are some more pictures from our family walk this morning.
#1 Unidentified Tree

Tiger Lily (Identified by a blog reader - Augmented Reality)
Hydrangeas (Identified by Association Headquarters)
My Kids!  At least I know their names! :-)

Black-Eyed Susans (Identified by Association Headquarters)

I am anticipating that we will have an app like google goggles that will one day be able to identify a rose and the difference between harmless ivy and poison-ivy.  Right now Goggles works on things like books and, as Lindsey Rosenthal has proven, wine labels.  Goggles also is very interesting to use with business card as it can save the business card to your contact as well as google the person on the spot.  The latter feature is probably the more useful as I prefer CamCard on Android to capture my business cards in my contacts.

Who will provide "photo plant search" first?  It is certainly an app that I would buy, as I am very curious about what is growing around me.

Here is a great article on how Augmented Reality may soon be making QR codes irrelevant.
"Augmented Reality Kills The QR Code Star" |