Are you debating whether or not to attend your professional association’s upcoming meeting? Perhaps a long to-do list at the office or a tight budget is making you question your participation? Don’t make excuses. Go. You won’t regret it.
I recently joined the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) and attended their Convening Leaders meeting in Chicago earlier this month. I found this to be an incredible experience on so many levels and here’s why.
It was top notch. In fact, there were so many great sessions to choose from that it was hard to pick! The opportunity to learn from my peers was priceless. I walked away with countless key takeaways and simply felt inspired overall. What a great feeling!
There was a perfect mix of both educational and networking opportunities. Becoming aware of the importance of building a professional network of fellow meeting industry gurus was quite possibly my most valuable takeaway. The educational sessions themselves are crucial, but developing relationships to eventually have a “go to” group of peers to bounce ideas off of and learn from on a day-to-day basis is just as vital as attending the educational sessions.
It was very interesting to experience an event from the attendee perspective rather the planner side. For example, seeing how other groups utilize the latest technology or manage the overall logistics increased my motivation to positively impact attendees in the meetings I organize. Obtaining CEUs that will count toward my aspirations of earning the CMP designation was an extra bonus, too!
It goes without saying that attending a 4,000+ person meeting can be intimidating, but as you can see it was a very worthwhile “push” out of my comfort zone.