The October 15 to 17 Motivation Show-which is made up of the 24th Incentive Travel & Meeting Executives Show (IT&ME) and the 63rd National Premium/Incentive Show-takes over McCormick Place North in Chicago again this fall. For information, call Hall-Erickson at (800) 752-6312.

For the first time this year, the Society of Incentive & Travel Executives (SITE) will host an intra-industry event to unofficially open the show Monday night. Call SITE at (212) 575-0910.

IT&ME's biggest bash happens, as usual, Wednesday night-the Pizza-Thon at the Hangge-Uppe bar. Destination management company Safaris Inc. and its new owner PGI are the co-sponsors of this year's party, now in its 19th year

Meet the meeting trend of the mid-1990s-the cigar. Stogies are burning up the after-dinner circuit these days with a new twist. More and more women are puffing their way onto the smoky patios of America's meeting places, joining the men with their Macanudos and Upmanns. Our take on the trend: Bring back the Electric Slide.

Meeting Professionals International and the National Speakers Association recently conducted a survey of meeting planners about their speaker choices.

The three top considerations (excluding price) when choosing a speaker: topic expertise, willingness to customize the presentation, and industry authority.

Those characteristics listed as "not important": that the speaker is an author of books, that the planner knows the speaker personally, and that the speaker has an advanced degree.

* October 28 to 30, Life Insurance Marketing Research Association (LIMRA) International Annual Meeting, Washington, DC. Call (860) 298-3959.

* November 4 to 8, Insurance Conference Planners Association, El Conquistador Resort & Country Club, Puerto Rico. Call (604) 988-2054.