With its largest-ever attedance, PCMA’s Convening Leaders converged on Nashville with a Guinness Book of World Records attempt, a keynote on leadership by General Stan McChrystal and an unrivaled display of industry innovation at its Future of Face2Face spinoff.
To view PCMA as just another meeting industry conference would be to miss the point. The association has always been the go-to for leading-edge ideas, a melting pot of meeting-related experiments—some that work, some that don’t.
Here are 5 lessons we learned from this week’s convention at the fabulous Music City Center.
Bigger is Better
If you have tens of thousands of people in one place, make the most of it. PCMA’s official Guinness Book of World Records attempt to build the world’s largest musical instrument made of people is a great example. The participants will never forget that crazy morning when they piled into Walk of Fame Park, all donning red t-shirts, dancing to ’80s favorites as the Guinness Book officials monitored the head count. In the end, they didn’t make the record, which was set by 1,660 people creating a saxophone in the Promenade du Paillon in Nice, France, in 2014—but no one seemed to mind.
The Future of Face2Face was set up in a ballroom with dozens of booths displaying the latest tech and thought leadership. You could move from a session on how to use audiovisual technology to activate the physiological triggers of emotion to a tech bar where the experts at Dahlia+ were ready to help with your LinkedIn profile to a comfy sofa to watch sessions being held in other parts of the convention on huge HD screen.
Reimagine Meeting Space
A highlight of the Future of Face2Face was a center stage where ongoing presentations took place in the middle of all the action in the room as listeners donned headsets. Just think: You could create four sessions at the same time in the same ballroom with this concept. For first-timers, it caught them off guard for just a minute, but they immediately got into the groove.
Honor Your Volunteers
PCMA is expert at thanking its volunteers, who are the heart of every association. Janet Tan-Collins, president of the Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers, received the 2017 Chairman’s Award. An impressive slate of nominees were named for the 2018 Visionary Awards, which will take place in May.
It All Starts at the Top
PCMA has been transformed under the leadership of Debra Sexton, who is retiring after Convening Leders. She will be replaced by COO Sherrif Karamat. In 12 years at the helm, she more than doubled the association’s membership and revenues. We wish her all the best.