Planner’s Notebook

Learning, Convening Leaders–Style

Here’s how our 2014 PCMA annual meeting program is shaping up.

We’re poring over our concurrent-session submissions, paring down our list of general-session topics and speakers, and cultivating all the different ideas that have come from members of our meetings community and staff. In other words, we are in the throes of planning the education program for Convening Leaders, Jan. 12-15, 2014, in Boston.

If we’re not careful, we’ll end up with way too much content, or content that’s irrelevant, or not at the appropriate level for our senior-level audience — or all of the above. Which is why we have a sound content strategy to guide us.

The most important aspect of PCMA’s Convening Leaders is to deliver the highest level of education in the most innovative and thought-provoking ways. We’re approaching our content at Convening Leaders as curators, carefully crafting each educational touch point to allow attendees to create their own journey and experience. We’re looking at all the different ways we engage our attendees with our education, poking holes in topics and identifying what might be lacking from our subject-matter experts. And, we’re thinking of ways to provide value long after our participants leave Boston.

Here’s a glimpse of our 2014 Convening Leaders content strategy.

General sessions — Our showcase production, featuring the most thought-provoking and illuminating speakers inside and outside the meetings industry. These large sessions are all about inspiring while educating attendees.

Masters Series — Lectures focusing on a single “big thinker” topic that can be directly applied to our industry, now or in the near future.

Concurrent sessions — Delivered in a variety of formats and room sets, with topics that directly relate to our jobs and offer applicable takeaways.

Business School — Featuring several sessions led by top business school faculty on topics such as branding, finance, strategy, leadership, and more, the Business School embodies our belief that business acumen is critical to our success as meeting professionals. In Boston, we have the unique ability to tap into several renowned institutions of higher learning.

Outside-the-classroom learning — Our goal is to create engaging environments for collaborative discussion, problem solving, information exchange, research, and self-directed learning in innovative and informal formats.

As we take the next step in this process and bring our education to life, there are many questions to answer. How will we create interesting and inviting environments? How will we employ technology throughout the experience? How will we engage attendees before and after Convening Leaders? And in what ways will we continue to carry on crucial conversations that happen in Boston? We have a lot of work ahead of us — fortunately, we’ve got a great framework in place.

Kelly Peacy, CAE, CMP

Kelly Peacy, CAE, is CAE, CMP, is senior vice president of education and events at PCMA.