To the Point

Meeting Planning Is Intense

It's our job to reduce some of your stress.

Did you see in the news a few weeks ago that event planning was named one of the top 10 most stressful jobs? That probably comes as no surprise to you. But since that ranking puts your stress level in a similar range as military personnel, police officers, and firefighters, the recognition is both gratifying and unsettling.

Here at PCMA, one of our goals is to help reduce some of your stress. We can’t change the economy, guarantee there won’t be an extreme weather event during your meeting, or eliminate all of your challenges in planning and staging meetings. But we can help you build a network of support to help you navigate through tough times. We can help you build your personal and professional skills so you’re prepared to meet challenges head-on. And we can experiment with new formats, room sets, meal events, and networking options at our own face-to-face meetings so you don’t have to.

A prime opportunity to do many of those things is at our annual meeting, Convening Leaders, which just wrapped in Boston. It was a terrific three days of gathering new ideas, sharing experiences, and connecting. What’s more, this year’s meeting featured many new elements to expand your repertoire of innovative approaches to your events.

Throughout the meeting, attendees could engage with their peers in imaginative learning environments and move freely between small deep-dive sessions, rolling up their sleeves to tackle some of the industry’s toughest challenges. I saw many spirited conversations sprouting up and spilling out of scheduled events.

PCMA Tech Central was another new element designed to help attendees figure out what’s right for their own meetings. Participants could sit in on tech-education sessions, but the best part — in my opinion — was being able to get hands-on training and demonstrations from top technology providers.

We also brought the best of business school education to the meeting with PCMA Business School @ Convening Leaders. Participants got to join faculty from renowned business schools — including Harvard, Wharton, Yale, Stanford, and Northwestern — for 90-minute presentations designed to build their business acumen, and at no extra charge.

In addition, storytelling, role-playing, roundtable discussions, brain-storming, fun pop quizzes, open forums for key constituent groups, and even a reality-TV-style cooking competition were just some of the non-traditional ways attendees could learn and connect.

Our Boston hosts went above and beyond to help stage this incredible experience. Thank you to each and every one of them. I’d also like to thank our esteemed presenters, production partners, and every professional who helped make Convening Leaders 2014 the cornerstone event that it was. If you couldn’t make it last month, I hope you’ll plan on connecting with us throughout the coming year.

Deborah Sexton

Deborah Sexton is president and CEO of PCMA.