5. “When we meet, we change the world” was the title that resonated throughout the entire week of the Meeting Professionals International’s annual conference in Vancouver, Canada. Meetings and events are powerful channels for driving business and spreading key strategic messages, and this July corporate, association, and independent meeting planners from all over the world gathered together to learn, meet and institute change together.

4. Education sessions gave attendees the opportunity to cater their schedule to their needs and interests. In addition to all the networking opportunities, the week was filled with an array of knowledge sessions relevant to meeting professionals. Attendees could attend CMP Bootcamp to prepare for Saturday morning’s CMP exam or learn about competency with everything from ROI and Excel to cultivating leadership and customer service. WEC had iPhone and Blackberry apps for attendees to create their schedule, and Pathable profiles that let you share which sessions you were attending with other conference attendees.

3. Hosted Buyer sessions proved more fruitful than the trade show.

Next year’s WEC will be held in Orlando, Florida and is the first year they are doing away with the trade show floor. Instead, suppliers and planners are encouraged to connect via the Hosted Buyer program where attendees set up meetings in advance. This makes so much sense because instead of people just roaming around and maybe stopping by your booth (like the swag hounds!) you can use your time effectively by pairing up with people interested in meeting for business.

2. General Sessions had powerful speakers that united attendees around conference themes. John Furlong, the CEO of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, made the biggest splash with the opening ceremony, sharing the story of the winter games and the impact they had on bringing the nation together. The main takeaway from closing General Session speaker Jeremy Gutsche was to “become irresistible to a specific group of people,” which resonated with quite a few attendees via the #WEC10 Twitter feed.

1. Networking abounded at the opening and closing parties… and everything in between. Building a social schedule was almost as important as building the session schedule because these parties played a huge role in networking throughout the week. The WEC opening ceremony took place outdoors on the patio of the convention center overlooking the Vancouver water and amidst the Olympic torches. For the closing ceremony, Vancouver’s famous Granville Street was closed off for a block party of closing celebrations with the best of Vancouver’s food, drink and entertainment. Other event highlights throughout the week included individual chapter receptions, The RISE Awards, The Big Deal sponsored by Hilton, and charity concert Rendevouz held at the Commodore Ballroom.

All in all it was a great weekend of learning, connecting, and coming together with the common goal of instigating change. Orlando is already gearing up for WEC 2011 and we are looking forward to what’s to come!

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