Speakers set a more subdued tone than in past years at the opening general session of Meeting Professionals International's World Education Conference. MPI officials and keynoters alike took the stage at Salt Lake City's Salt Palace Convention Center in July with the message that meeting planners need to “speak the language of business.”
Acknowledging that times are tough — and addressing an audience that had roughly 2,000 fewer people than last year's WEC in Las Vegas (which achieved a record attendance of 4,400) — speakers urged listeners to learn from the devastating economic climate, which has resulted in hundreds of meeting cancellations.
During the show, MPI announced the opening of MPI Global Training Centers at San Diego State University, CERAM Business School on the French Riviera, and Qatar Mice Development Institute in Qatar. They are the first of an expected 14 training centers for meetings and business events that will open over the next two years.
In conjunction with the new centers, MPI has an aggressive educational agenda, or Global Knowledge Plan, which includes five new programs in the next year and a half, as well as upgrades to some existing programs. MPI will collaborate with theand professional education community at the three schools, which are known for their meeting or event management courses and have a strong business focus, according to Bruce MacMillan, MPI's president and CEO.
MPI's courses will differentiate between meeting planning and meeting management, and also emphasize the global aspect of meetings and events.
The programs are:
Online skills assessment. Available at mpiweb.org now. Upgrading by July 2010.
Introduction to the meeting and event industry. Teaches basic skills at an MPI boot camp, offering insight into career paths. Launching January 2011.
Global certificate in meetings operations. For those with zero to three years of industry experience. Launched in November 2008.
Global certificate in meeting planning. Logistics-oriented and aimed at helping to prepare for Certified Meeting Professional certification (offered by the Convention Industry Council). Launching October 2009.
Certified Meeting Professional certification online support. Available now.
Global certificate in meeting management. Focused on the business of meetings rather than logistics. Launching October 2009.
Certification in meetings management (CMM). In-person program, looking at the business of meetings as well as business management modules related to meetings. Launched in 1995.
Executive leadership program. MPI is developing an MBA-level program aimed at the most senior meeting professionals. Launching October 2010.
Sure, we're supposed to learn from our mistakes, but what if you could skip the first step and just learn from someone else's? That's the premise behind Judy Allen's latest book, Confessions of an Event Planner: Case Studies from the Real World of Events — How to Handle the Unexpected and How to be a Master of Discretion. The book follows a fictional event-planning company through the challenges its planners face working with clients around the world. Allen entertains while presenting real-world problems and offering advice on how to defuse tough situations creatively. Each chapter provides a list of questions to spark discussion.