If you haven't been attending the Meetings Industry Council of Colorado Educational Conference and Trade Show since its inception as I have or couldn’t be present at least once, it’s time you do! Not only is MIC the best regional conference of its kind, it is a chance for everyone from all aspects of our industry to come together.
Looking back on the 18th annual, I have taken some time to reflect on what it is that we love about and shouldn’t miss at MIC.
1. Just do it! We plan for everyone else. Take the time to attend something scheduled just for you!
2. Visit the trade show. You may not have an immediate need for a hotel, restaurant, speaker, etc. However, the time you spend on the trade show floor is crucial to making contacts and building relationships. When the time comes, it’s much easier to reach out to that person you already know.
3. Personal growth is important, too! We all have to show the ROI of attending or try to get as many CEUs as possible, but don’t forget about you! Take the time to learn how to be better organized and fully present. It will benefit you and your team in the long run.
4. Divide and conquer. A majority of us attends with our colleagues and keeps with the “safety in numbers” adage. Distribute yourselves and go to separate breakout sessions. Share your findings after the fact, so they will have a larger impact.
5. Step outside your comfort zone. Naturally, we stick with what we know. When reviewing the program, look at those topics in which you have less experience. If you’re not a tech guru, check out a session on what’s hot in technology. If you’re a planner, step into a supplier-heavy program to see how the other half lives and thinks.
6. Take advantage of the local hotels. Make it a “stay-conference.” Doing so allows you to spend the extra time with colleagues and gives ample opportunity for No. 7.
7. Make arrangements to meet outside of the conference. Even though most of us live and work within a few minutes or hours of each other, we don’t always get to see one another. Take a look at the “who’s attending” list and make plans to grab a drink, bite, walk or something before or after the show each day. It’s a fantastic opportunity to reconnect.
8. Don’t skip the networking events. Hello, cocktails! Besides that, don’t miss the opportunity to mix and mingle with industry partners on a more casual level.
9. Commit to the full three days. From the Colorado Meeting + Events Best of event on Monday night to the final reception at MIC on Wednesday, fully immerse yourself to get the maximum benefit of attending what has become Colorado’s Meetings Week.
10. Don’t wear your name badges outside of the convention center. For those of you that were in the opening general session in March, you get this and understand the inside joke. We all agree that as meeting professionals, our biggest pet peeves are those our attendees commit. In the same sense, we can be our own worst offenders!
These tips can certainly be applied to any conference you have the opportunity to attend. As we live and thrive in one of the most stressful careers, it’s always a bonus to slow down and improve ourselves. I hope to see you for the Colorado Meeting + Events Best of 2019 readers’ choice awards on March 11 and 19th annual MIC conference on March 12-13, 2019.
Wendy Klein is a 20-plus-year veteran of the meetings and events industry. Having held positions as both a planner and supplier, she has spent the past 15 years honing her craft in Denver's finest restaurant and is a past president of MPIRMC.