Favorite of: Dave Kovaleski, senior writer, MeetingsNet
Seen at: Religious Conference Management Association’s Emerge conference in Minneapolis, January 2013
Suckow delivered an engaging, interactive, humorous, and informational keynote at the Emerge conference. Based on her own research, she outlined the three things that drive both planners and suppliers crazy about each other. She also polled the planners and suppliers in the live audience about their pet peeves.
Even better was the workshop she held later in the conference for suppliers where she spoke about how they can overcome those planner pet peeves so that they can become better partners. The honest and frank feedback provided them with invaluable takeaways.
Favorite of: Alison Hall, writer and editor, MeetingsNet
Seen at: Financial & Insurance Conference Planners Education Forum; Park City, Utah; June 2013
Wonder where your time to just stop and think has gone? Juliet Funt knows. We’re mimics, she says. We see people responding instantly to e-mail, sending messages late at night, and bringing work home, so we do it too. It becomes the norm, the expected. In her presentations about “white space”—that time where you are doing nothing but allowing your mind to freely work on things—Funt uses humor and personal experience to convince you that you can find that time again. And that you must. “It’s not even a tool,” she says. “It’s an element, like oxygen.”
Seen at: Professional Convention Management Association Convening Leaders, Orlando, 2013
Thomas Friedman started his keynote address at PCMA’s Convening Leaders conference, talking about his recent tour of a spectacular new convention center in China. The 2.5-million-square-foot state-of-the-art facility went up in nine months, while back home in Maryland an escalator at his local subway station has been broken for six months.
This was, in fact, the lead example from his latest book, That Used to Be Us, which posits a slowly declining America stemming from a dysfunctional political system. We’ve seen that political dysfunction affect the meetings industry and we’ve seen the increasing globalization as illustrated by the rapid construction of convention centers throughout China. To get that macro perspective from one of the world’s brightest minds in foreign affairs gave meeting professionals rare insight into the future challenges and opportunities they face.
Favorite Of: Amanda Lucci, associate editor, MeetingsNet, Special Events
Seen at: Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau familiarization trip, June 2013
Beth Ziesenis calls herself “your nerdy best friend,” but really, she’s pretty cool. Her presentation to a group of planners and journalists highlighted a variety of tech tools to make the ever-increasing time we all spend in front of screens more productive. From apps that help manage everyday tasks to an online service that builds beautiful animated presentations, Ziesenis are some of the Internet’s best-kept secrets in a funny and helpful way. Even better, many of them are free!
Favorite of: Lisa Hurley, editor, Special Events
Seen at: The Special Event, Chicago, January 2013
Andrea Michaels has conducted her "speed pitching" seminar at The Special Event for several years. The presentation is so popular that she has been invited to present internationally, from Canada to Mexico to China. Although the premise of the presentation is helping event professionals create a pitch to win business, the overall message is much broader.
For one, attendees learn the importance of focusing on client needs and understanding an RFP. They also learn the fundamental value of practice—the more you pitch, the better you get at pitching. The seminar also brings home the point that life offers plenty of opportunities, but we don't always have time to prepare for them. We often don't have the luxury of dress rehearsals; we must be ready to perform at our best whenever the occasion calls for it.
Favorite of: Barbara Scofidio, editor, MeetingsNet/corporate&incentive
Seen at: The Incentive Research Foundation Annual Invitational, Cancun, May 2013
Simon T. Bailey is absolutely hilarious as he tells the story of how, while working as sales director for the renowned Disney Institute, he was interviewed by a reporter who asked him where he would like to see himself in 10 to 15 years. He replied, with all honesty, “As the president and CEO of the Walt Disney World Resort and eventually the Chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company,” never thinking it would end up in print… It did, and not long after, he found himself in the midst of a “re-creation.”
Which is what his keynote is about: Getting rid of your long-worn patterns and once again believing in your own brilliance. It’s about taking an idea and turning it into a success, embracing rejection instead of agonizing over it, rewiring the way you think and act. Within no time, the charismatic Bailey had the audience chanting “O Brilliant One” and connecting with their neighbors about how they can chase their dreams.
Favorite of: Sue Pelletier, editor, MeetingsNet/medical, Religious Conference Manager
Seen at: Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions, San Francisco, January 2013
“Wit” follows one woman’s cancer journey through the healthcare system. As she did with the play she wrote, Edson brought an incredible energy, intelligence, and sense of connection to her presentation on the issue of how healthcare providers can embrace patients and caregivers to heal wounds that clinical treatment can’t touch. But her message delved much further than that: It cut to the core of who we are as human beings, and how we connect to each other. She was brilliant, funny, erudite, down-to-earth, and incredibly thought-provoking.
Favorite of: Betsy Bair, director of content and media integration, MeetingsNet
Seen at: AIBTM, Chicago, June 2013
You have probably heard speakers on the topic of generational differences in the workplace, but Seth Mattison, a featured speaker with BridgeWorks, LLC, and himself a millennial, is by far the best. His presentation “Rocking the Workplace: Managing and Leading the Four Generations” skips over all the negative and annoying stereotypes (“millennials have no loyalty, no work ethic”) and gets the audience fired up about the idea of getting along with four—soon to be five—generations at once.
His presentation is fun and funny, energetic, and totally relatable. He manages to engage every member of the audience, which in most cases will span every generation, in an affectionate and endearing way. “This generation wants to make a dent, the older generation wants to hoard knowledge, so make mentoring moments happen every day!” We can all take a lesson from that playbook.
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