4 Observations from WEC 2014

By Matt Swenson, August 11, 2014

MPI’s 2014 World Education Congress in Minneapolis is now in the books, and by all accounts, it was a success for the association and city. About 1,900 attendees made their way to the Twin Cities, where they were treated to sessions from experts from both inside and outside the meetings industry. Here are four observations from WEC.

  1. Wellness is in. While there has always been a science to keeping attendees’ minds fresh at conferences, now there is real science behind the movement. In his lauded keynote address on WEC’s opening night, Dr. Deepak Chopra announced a cutting edge program launches by Delos with MGM Resorts International to make meeting spaces more conducive to learning. Delos worked with top scientific minds, including at Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Health Clinic, to develop a more natural environment indoors through myriad elements, including air purification and circadian lighting. Watch for much more on this subject in the coming months.
  2. Consider the bore busted. By using iPads for real-time quizzes and hand-held sensors for audience members to manipulate a car in a type of video game, SwarmWorks Inc.’s Heiner Koppermann delivered one of WEC’s most memorable sessions. Dubbed “The Business of Bore Busting in Meetings and Events: Using Neuroscience and Technology for Breakthroughs in Live Communication,” the session demonstrated effective methods to keep attendees’ interest peaked over a 90-minute period and also provided insight into how social media can be used to change behavioral patterns. If that wasn’t enough to make the show lively, Koppermann also danced like a bee.
  3. Every city needs a Steve Wozniak. It seems almost unfair that San Francisco was able to trot out Apple’s co-founder at a luncheon promoting next year’s WEC in the Bay area. Wozniak’s combination of creativity and charisma was obvious in a conversation with Warren Berger, author of “A More Beautiful Question.” It was a great kick off for San Francisco’s push to build off this year’s event.
  4. The Web is a somewhat untapped resource—still. “Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling” author and motivational speaker Sam Richter turned heads by demonstrating his ability to pull up the First Lady’s student loan records using Google. In doing so during a general session, Richter demonstrated the power of learning to maximize online research—a skill meeting planners can use before important meetings with new connections. Richter blurred Obama’s social security number in his presentation to avoid liability issues, but now there’s a whole room of meeting planners and suppliers who understand a little more about the power of Internet research.

    Photo credit: Gene X. Hwang/Orange Photography

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