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MPI TechCon 2015 – Save the Date!

Meeting Professionals International Chicago Area Chapter invites YOU to join TechCon 2015 Thursday, February 19th at Holiday Inn Merchandize Mart New digital technologies permeate every crevasse of work and non-work environment. Whether you subscribe to a cyber optimists or cyber pessimist perspective we need your assistance in building the best content for the MPITechCon 2015. Let us know your ideas for topics and speakers by clicking the following link: http://bit.ly/1CjsSoW  

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Thank you!

Thank you!

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Curing the Tech that Ails you

Midori ConnollyHave you been diagnosed with the TechSick bug? This viral condition is akin to a hangover. The means of catching the bug is unfortunately far too easy and widespread. Wooed by the excitement and promised solutions of a new technology, meeting planners spend a significant portion of their budget on the tech. Upon implementing and using the new technology, their condition rapidly deteriorates and the bug takes hold. Most common symptoms include headache, frustration, and occasionally a total abandonment of their investment. So, to avoid contracting the ailment, I have a simple AVGirl remedy and it revolves around one idea: strategy.

All jokes aside, if there’s one thing I hear most often from meeting planners, it’s that dealing with the AV and technology is the worst part of their job. They often feel intimidated to ask questions and/or frustrated with the headache of managing the technology. I have a few friendly AVGirl tips to help protect against the TechSick bug.

Strategy
Start with an understanding of why you want to use (or are using) a designated technological tool. Are you trying to enhance an attendee’s experience? Is it to make your workflow smoother? Always, always keep in mind that unless technology serves a purpose, it’s just a toy.

Education and Research
Once you’ve identified why you want to use a technology, begin your discovery process. Ask every question you can of manufacturers and distributors, don’t be afraid to pressure them to provide simplified explanations of how their technology functions (right down to the digital 0’s and 1’s). Read industry publications, attend educational sessions, have conversations with peers. I’ve observed that many planners seem to operate in their own organizational bubbles; too often forgetting that they have thousands of peers who share the same pain points, goals and creative vision. Join LinkedIn discussion groups, sign up for Meco and MiForum Google groups, follow the #eventprofs on Twitter. There is a dynamic and supportive community out there waiting to help you!

Selecting Solutions
One of my favorite topics is how to help planners end up with the right solution. I have a few concrete suggestions. First, you’ve learned a bit about the technology through research. Now is the time to marry your goals and new education with your creative ideas. Put an RFP together that is like a job description. What skills and outcomes must the technology possess? What would you love for the technology to do? Focus on providing a descriptive RFP on the vision for your event/attendee experience, rather than a checklist driven list of features or needs.

Goals
Based on your reasons for using the technology, set some associated goals. Keep them simple for your first attempt. If you need to wow international delegates, perhaps you measure their level of satisfaction or ask them if they would be willing to send you testimonials (maybe even video) of what they thought about the experience and evaluate if that correlates to the new technology. Perhaps it’s branding you seek, and you have a goal to have photos of your event appear in trade publications. Measure and report your results and include in your event debriefing what did and did not work for you.

Above all, remember that if you know why you’ve engaged a certain piece of technology, have educated yourself on the basic functionality, and have associated goals for using it, you should feel every bit of confidence in managing it. Just because it plugs into a wall and has electronic components does not mean it’s unlike any other part of your team.

You can catch Midori Connolly at MPITechCon February 20th 2014 at the UIC Forum in Chicago.

About the author: Midori Connolly is the Principal at AVGirl Productions and former co-owner of an AudioVisual company. She is best known for producing the first set of best practices for Sustainable AV Staging. Now Midori produces and consults on meetings and events around the world, with specialties in her turnkey hybrid meeting solutions and green(er) AV production. Recently appearing in Wired Magazine, she is also recognized as a Platinum Speaker by Meeting Professionals International and a Best-in-Class Speaker for Professional Convention Managers Association.

Learn more about Midori at http://mpitechcon.com/breakout-speakers/

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Must Have Apps for Meeting and Event Professionals

Barbara Rozgonyi

With so many apps out there – and only so much room on your mobile device – you might be wondering: what are the must-have apps for meeting and event planners in 2014?

To get you started, here’s a list of apps that will help you grow your career and build your business.

We’d love to know what apps make your must-have list.

Thanks for sharing yours in the comment section.

Looking for a more comprehensive app list for meeting planners, including side-by-side comparisons? Check out the Event App Bible from EventManagerBlog.com.

On the road a lot? Take a look at this list of 35 travel apps for meeting planners and event pros from PlannerWire.com.

How big is the app market?

According to Gartner, mobile app stores annual downloads were projected to reach 102 billion in 2013, up from 64 billion in 2012. Total revenue in 2013 was projected to reach $26 billion, up from $18 billion in 2012. Free apps were to account for 91 percent of total downloads in 2013. In-app purchases (IAPs) will account for 48 percent of app store revenue by 2017, up from 11 percent in 2012.

Must-Have Apps for Meeting Planners

Everyone is different. You’ll want to select apps that save you time, consolidate efforts, manage events, report on key metrics and keep you in top condition. Here are a few apps to consider.

But, before we get to the apps. . . keep in mind that video is key, as is a responsive website, to the mobile experience. Consider these video stats from the Cisco Visual Networking Index.

Globally, consumer internet video traffic will be 69 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in 2017, up from 57 percent in 2012. The sum of all forms of video (TV, video on demand [VoD], Internet, and P2P) will be in the range of 80 to 90 percent of global consumer traffic by 2017. 

What’s better? A responsive web design or a native mobile app?  Whichever you choose, optimizing your site for mobile is a good idea; 67 percent of consumers say they are more likely to purchase from a mobile-friendly website than they are from a website not optimized for devices other than desktop.

Networking Apps

As an MPI-CAC member you’ll meet lots of people at events. Did you know there’s an easy way to get the contact information into your phone and the people you meet into your LinkedIn network?

LinkedIn CardMunch App scans business cards into your contact database and sends out LinkedIn invitations.

Because CardMunch is only available for iPhone, check out these business card scanner apps.

Healthy Living Apps

Let’s face it: you are busy. Your job demands that you be on, and in top shape, all day for sometimes as much as 16 hours straight. These apps will keep you running.

Lumosity Train your brain to focus and manage details by playing a few fun games everyday.

Meditation Apps For Inner Peace (On The Go) – stay calm and carry on.

Top 10 2014 Fitness Apps keep your fitness goals with pocket personal trainers.

Imagery – Best Photo and Video Apps

We all know that we need to shoot more video. And, it’s common knowledge that pictures engage more than words. Check out these apps to get the most out of your photo and video galleries.

Over lets you add beautiful text to your photos. That’s how I made this image of the EdCon team.

Vine lets you create and share beautiful looping six-second videos on Twitter.

Instagram shares your pictures and up to 15 second videos to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and of course, Instagram.

iMovie App‘s tagline is “a major production without a major production.”

 

About the Author:  Barbara Rozgonyi leads CoryWest Media, a strategic marketing consultancy that attracts attention, builds brands and connects communities around events, places, people and technology. For more ideas and resources, visit Barbara’s top 50 marketing and PR blog, http://wiredPRworks.com. At TechCon 2014, Barbara will be presenting two LinkedIn workshops.

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7 Ways to Optimize Your LinkedIn

Sima-Dahl_new-200x300Author: Sima Dahl, Parlay Communications

You can like it, you can love it, but you can’t ignore LinkedIn. Arguably the most professional of all the social networks, having a polished and keyword-optimized LinkedIn profile is no longer optional, but critical in this hyper-networked world in which first impressions often happen online. LinkedIn is the perfect place to promote your personal brand, which is simply how you want to be known. If you are ready to be your own Chief Marketing Officer, here are seven steps to polish your profile today.

1. Optimize Your Headline
Your LinkedIn headline is like a Banner Ad. It need not be your job title, but rather quickly remind people who you are, what you do, and what makes you special. Consider using keywords or phrases that describe the value you offer to those who employ your services. For example, instead of simply Meeting Planner, you might instead say: Meeting Design & Event Production | Staging, Theme Selection, AV | Corporate & Association | Audience Engagement Expert.

2. Add Skills
The Skills & Endorsements section of LinkedIn is still relatively new, and is the perfect place to add keywords that highlight your unique expertise. When prospective clients, employers, or even co-workers do a keyword search to quickly find talent… perhaps searching for “meetings and incentives” for example… they can easily uncover the professionals who can get the job done, including you! Be selective though; you don’t have to include everything you know and do. For example, many of us know MS Office, but unless you want to be known for that around town, there’s no need to include it.

3. Add Flair
Just like the bling your TGI Fridays server wears on his apron, there are lots of ways to enhance your profile to better tell your personal brand story. You can add rich media such as a YouTube video, or documents like your resume or a sales brochure. You might add Honors & Awards, because let’s face it, no one can see that Employee of the Year plaque hanging in your office but you. You can add Publications, Volunteer Experience, Certifications, and Patents too! Just be mindful not to overdo it – select a few key “extras” to tell your story to avoid overcrowding your profile, or overwhelming your viewer.

4. Customize Your LinkedIn URL
Did you know that your LinkedIn profile is indexed by Google? That’s right – every profile has a unique URL, and it’s not pretty, but you can easily customize it to underscore your personal brand. Consider using a combination of your first and last name or your initials like www.linkedin.com/in/ronspringer. If you’re name is taken, have a little fun as did www.linkedin.com/in/johnkavanaghlsav, who added his employer’s name (LSAV) to his custom URL. Next, drop the link into your email signature. It’s a subtle way to encourage people to check out your profile and connect with you. You can easily see who’s been spying on you by clicking Who’s Viewed Your Profile from the main navigation bar.

5. Customize Your Web URLs
LinkedIn allows you to include up to three website URLs in your profile. The default listings are My Company, My Blog, etc. By selecting “Other” you can type the actual destination name, thereby creating intuitive hyperlinks to your YouTube assets, company website, newsletter sign-up, or other online resources you recommend.

6. Reorder Concurrent Experience
Many professionals wear more than one hat, and now LinkedIn allows you to determine the order in which all of your “jobs” appear. For example, if you are the President of your local MPI chapter and wish to showcase that on your profile, you can add it to your experience and then drag and drop it so it appears after the position you want to pop up first. For example on my profile (http://www.linkedin.com/in/simasays) you’ll note that my adjunct faculty experience is the most recent, but appears after my role in my company, Parlay.

7. Update Your Status
Use your status to remind people who you are, what you do, and why you’re special. I recommend updating your status at least once a week, maybe more depending on your networking goals. It’s an easy way to stay top of mind by keeping your name visible in what I call the “social stream” – the steady flow of alerts and updates that appear on the home page. Use this space to share opinion pieces, links to events, and other news that underscores your personal brand. For example, you might say “Headed to Phoenix this week to do a site selection for our annual customer conference – only the best for Acme clients!” Not only do you remind your network what you do, but you give a little plug for your employer too.

Finally, remember that social networking is an action verb. As such, you must log in and take action for the greatest return. I suggest carving time out on your calendar. Whether you spend five minutes each day or a half-hour over coffee Sunday morning, making time to log in is half the battle.

Additional Links : Additional Inspiration
– Do you need a premium LinkedIn account? The answer might surprise you! Read this
– Should I put a LinkedIn logo in my email signature? Don’t do anything until you read this
– Who should I connect with on LinkedIn? Read my two cents.

About the Author: Sima Dahl is America’s personal branding champion and social networking coach. Through her keynotes and training, she’s helped thousands of sales teams, corporate staffs, business owners, and job seekers take control of their digital footprint to drive professional success. Connect with her here.

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