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December 16, 2014

On Location: IAEE's Expo! Expo! in Los Angeles

Last week, IAEE (the International Association of Exhibitions and Events) held its annual meeting in Los Angeles. IMR blogger Stephanie Selesnick was on location and shared her takeaways from the event.

IAEE did all the things an organization should do during its annual meeting, walking the walk of exhibitions and events – trying new things, updating others and embraced change and innovation. One of the rewards, even before the start of the week, was a 23 percent increase in registration. 

New exhibition floor plan: I'm not sure how I feel about the diagonal aisles. I managed to get myself lost and rearranged several times, but it did make for some fun discoveries. 

Campfire Sessions: Grouped around in a big circle with comfy chairs and some audio/visual, these half-hour sessions on the show floor were a hit. Great idea: having the microphone and sound system as the exhibit floor can be a loud place.

Solutions Center: Held in the center of the exhibit hall floor, it was a place for exhibitors to hold infomercials, but they were required to be more “info” than “mercial”.

SwimUp TECHbar: With sessions and, in the lounge area, help on all things technology, this partnership between IAEE and The Meeting Pool was fun and innovative. Bonus for not making non-tech folks feel like idiots.

Go & Be Renewed, Refreshed & Rejuvenated Area: Located near all of the educational session rooms, the furniture here was hip but comfortable (not the usual case), and was a great place to grab a morning coffee or afternoon snack. It was a terrific informal gathering place. 

Keynote speakers: I caught Robert Safian, editor and managing director of Fast Company and Baltimore Orioles Manager Buck Showalter, who were terrific and on-point. Safian talked about managing change in chaotic times (calling it “Generation Flux”). Let’s face it, rapid change is the new normal. To think it’s going to change anytime soon is old-school thinking. 

Showalter, the third-most winning coach in MLB history, was charming in touting Baltimore (location of next year’s IAEE annual meeting) and telling stories of leadership and management. He also welcomed questions from the audience. 

Opening Night Party: After freezing in Houston last year, L.A. shined. The event was held outside, sans heat lamps and included food by Wolfgang Puck Catering. The music was not too loud (hate shouting over music at networking events), and there was plenty of lighting so people could see one another. 

LA Convention Center Food: Pretty good. (Since most convention center food is not so appetizing, this was most welcome.) The change to Levy Restaurants was a smart move.

Mega-Rooms: Having dedicated rooms for educational tracks was terrific and made it easier to figure out where you are going. The Going Global Mega-Room (where I spent most of my time) included a big map of the world, flags lining the walls and comfortable seating in the back. 

Photos courtesy of IAEE's Facebook page.

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About the Author: Stephanie Selesnick

Stephanie Selesnick





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