Tuesday, July 7, 2015

5 lessons from PCMA Educon

Day 4 - 7, PCMA Educon
Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina
Wellness rating: Wellness rating: 4.6/5. Good variety of food items at all meals and special meal requests on plated lunches met by the facility.  Great natural light in both hotel and convention center open areas and active outdoor open air networking in the evenings.  Limited fitness centre but opportunity to walk between venues. Good balance of time in the program. Points lost on last evening with lack of options for food and beverage, although a stunning location.  I am adding a wellness rating to these meetings because when you are spending 34 days on the road, every day counts.

The road to learning is this way... a short walk between the hotel and the Broward convention center was marked with these making it easy to find (or an air conditioned shuttle was available) and a highlight on the return journey each day was first a lemonade stand, and as we neared the hotel, a cool towel with a laundry basket 50 steps later! It is these small details that make PCMA stand out, and make Educon a particular favorite for many meeting professionals to attend.  While my first Educon, it was one which had been recommended as a "must attend" for a number of years and I am happy I was able to experience PCMA learning in action.

So what does PCMA do that makes this meeting stand out?
  1. They experiment.  They take risks with the format, and they openly talk about what worked and why, and what didn't work, and why. After it is all over, they adjust and consider what to try next.  The picture above is but one example of some excellent seating options they showcased, in this case combined with what the venue offered. Each environment offered a different feeling which was interesting to see how people responded - generally very positively! 
  2. They think deeply about the flow of the event and made choices that made sense for the participants, fit the venue, and showcased the sponsors on an ongoing basis with the timing and location of meals and breaks. It cannot be overstated how important this balance is, and how delicate. 
  3. They use mobile smartly. I am fortunate to work with their mobile partner QuickMobile and I know the thought and work that goes into the various integrations and use cases that are considered to build it into their overall meeting design and I LOVE WHEN MOBILE IS USED WELL! 
  4. A good host / facilitator, this time Adrian Segar, is crucial to weaving a story through your meeting and this was done well - the right information at the right time. Each meeting will have its own unique needs, and for this one Adrian was the choice that made sense.
  5. Everyone arrives at your meeting with a brain and having John Medina who really explains how our brain works at a meeting and in life - and is completely fun to listen to, was an absolute highlight of the meeting, as a great keynote should be!  This is certainly a meeting I would return to, thank you PCMA! 

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