IAEE’s Expo! Expo! will Focus on the Experiential and Collaborative

TSE STAFF
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Dallas, TX – When industry professionals from across the trade show spectrum gather at Expo! Expo! in Houston next month, education, networking and collaboration will be at the forefront of the week’s activities for the 2,000 delegates expected to attend. As of late October, 2013 registration was running about 5% ahead of where it was at the same time last year, according to IAEE vice president of partnership relations Rick Jennings.  On the exhibition side, 231 exhibitors have contracted space to date; last year’s exhibit featured 255 exhibitors.

The focus for the show’s educational sessions will be decidedly experiential, following a model that was well received at Expo! Expo! last year. It’s designed to appeal to everyone from entry-level attendees to seasoned executives.

A new feature this year is the Activation Lab, which offers participants the chance to collaborate on event design using creative, funky ideas that can potentially add excitement to the events. Along the same line, the Education Jumpstart Session with Biz Bash President Richard Aaron will offer breakthrough ideas and trends for event design that attendees can put to use immediately in 2014.

Also new this year:  a two-day format for exhibit hours which IAEE says allows attendees more time and more flexibility in scheduling participation in educational sessions and visiting the exhibits.

Another approach will be taken by Power Panels, which will offer fast-paced interactive sessions with panelists who can offer different perspectives on issues directly affecting the trade show industry.

Some attendees just want an answer to one big question from someone who has “been there, done that.” This year’s On the Floor FlyBy Sessions hope to address that need with five-minute, infomercial-style quick encounters covering a wide variety of industry topics. Designed for small, on-the-go groups, these sessions will allow attendees to pause, ask a question, learn more about IAEE, catch their breath and move on. Topics will range from advice about professional training programs to a Town Hall with the CEO featuring IAEE president and CEO David DuBois.

IAEE and SISO will jointly offer a session addressing one of today’s hot topics in the trade show industry:  the impact of social media. The session, dubbed “The Social Community:  Friends or Foes for Exhibition and Event Producers and Organizers?,” is an invitation-only session at which industry leaders will discuss the overall impact of social media on events, moderated by Galen Poss, chief operating officer of dmg::events.

Those new to the industry also will find special sessions geared to fast-tracking newcomers, offering core skills needed to make an impact in the industry. Dubbed Industry Essentials, these sessions are the nuts and bolts classes that can help jumpstart creative ideas for future shows.

New exhibitors aren’t left out in the dark either. Exhibit Like an Expert, open only to exhibitors with a booth at the event, aims to provide added value for exhibitors looking for new, creative ideas to drive traffic to their exhibits, presented by Susan Ratliff, The Exhibit Expert.

Long-time industry professionals always can use a boost of energy and new ideas too. At Expo! Expo!, executives will have several opportunities to explore different leadership styles and new ways to attract and engage attendees. The Executive Encounter will help executives explore how to prepare for what’s new, how to recruit and retain employees, and how to deal with an ever-changing environment.

The VUCA Leadership Lounge will provide a forum for industry leaders of all levels to discuss emerging ideas in strategic leadership and help those in leadership positions grow as professionals. VUCA is a military acronym to describe volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity in a variety of situations.

Of course, networking and meeting people with different perspectives is a big part of events like Expo! Expo!,  and attendees in Houston will have plenty of opportunities to do just that. The event is expected to draw a sizable international attendance including delegates from Germany, Korea, Mexico, Argentina, Canada, Australasia, South Africa, Scandinavia, The Netherlands, Hong Kong, Israel and Singapore.

Expo! Expo! is scheduled for December 10-12 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.

Reach Rick Jennings at (972) 687-9211 or rjennings@iaee.com.