Over 1000 hosted buyers, attendees and suppliers enjoyed a packed day of education and networking as part of Smart Monday – powered by MPI – which took place on the eve of IMEX America today (Oct. 14). The event followed the spectacular CIC Hall of Leaders Gala (Sunday, Oct. 13) which kicked off the IMEX America week in style.

The popular Smart Monday event enabled 1200 meetings industry professionals to enjoy a day of free professional education sessions with industry experts covering a wide range of topics such as communication, social media, meeting and event design and incentives.

Smart Monday opened with the first of four daily MPI keynote addresses. ‘Speak to be Heard’, by communications guru, Stacey Hanke, delivered valuable advice on business communication – how to influence listeners and increase the impact and value of interactions with peers, clients and associates. This lively opening address equipped participants with practical skills and techniques to take back and apply to their daily working lives.

A series of cutting-edge educational seminars followed throughout the day, delivered by respected experts and consultants. Education was delivered by MPI, ISES, HSMAI, Site and GMIC.

First up was ‘A Roadmap for Designing Hybrid Meetings and Events’, an emerging category of meetings that is creating new opportunities for meeting professionals. The highly interactive session combined theory and best practices, enabling attendees to practice designing hybrids that fit with their goals and objectives.

With recent studies showing that as many as 75% of meeting planners use social media to support their professional goals, the seminar ‘Developing a Successful Social Strategy for Meetings and Events’ proved to be a hit with attendees. Presenter Gerrit Heijkoop of How Can I Be Social worked with participants to explore how to create activities before, during and after a meeting or event that attendees and audience members would be eager to share via social media.

Scott Friedman, Chief Celebration Officer at Friedman & Associates, later shared ‘Lessons learned from the world’s most admired organizations’ in his afternoon seminar. The techniques discussed enabled attendees to create a culture of authenticity and innovation where productivity, performance and profit potential are allowed to soar.

Another session, ‘View from the Top: Hotel Sales Giants Talk About What Keeps Them Up at Night’, gave useful insight into current hot topics in the hospitality industry and their potential impact on meetings and events planning.

Participants enjoyed the day’s sessions and left with practical solutions to apply to their work, as Henry Josephs, Director of Operations at Panama Excursions, explained: “Smart Monday has been great – really interesting. Many of the sessions I attended were interactive, allowing me to meet and network with different people in the business such as suppliers or buyers. I really feel as if I’ve learned something new today and now have plenty of tips to take back to the office.”

Alongside the afternoon seminars ran a series of more detailed and interactive ‘Deep Dives’, allowing visitors to explore a few topics in depth and in a more intimate, workshop-style environment. These included ‘Using Personality DNA’ to Influence, Sell and Communicate More Effectively.’ Participants shared their real-life dilemmas and challenges, resulting in a range of specific, pragmatic actions to implement immediately.

In ‘Leadership Starts from Within’, presenter Paul Bridle, CEO of Bridle Group, shared his experiences based on nearly 25 years of studying effective organizations and the people who lead them. He shared a fresh look at leadership and the different expectations now facing leaders. Attendees learned the different qualities of great leaders and discussed what it means to be a leader in today’s world of work.

Aurice Guyton, Event Planner and Smart Monday attendee, commented on her Smart Monday experience: “Smart Monday is a great way to find out plenty of information and advice in one place. This is my first time at IMEX America and I’m looking forward to returning tomorrow and exploring further.”

Participants also had the opportunity to make new contacts and catch up with existing ones during networking breaks at intervals throughout the day.

Three networking events rounded off the day – the MPI Buyer Welcome Reception, the IMEX Association Evening, which was sponsored by Sands Meetings, and Site Nite North America which welcomed more than 1000 Site members and industry professionals at The Palms, Las Vegas.

Also running as part of Smart Monday was Association Focus that provided a keynote, tracked education and round-table discussions especially for association executives. Association Focus education was co-delivered by ICCA, PCMA and ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership.