Variety Spices Up Sessions at ASAE Annual Meeting

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Salt Lake City, UT – August is back-to-school month and the thousands of attendees at the 2016 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition were eager to hit the classroom.

Nearly 4,800 association leaders and their industry partners enjoyed the hospitality of Salt Lake City August 13-16 while also feasting on a full menu of educational offerings that will help their organizations and events thrive.

“Our attendees loved the greater variety of learning opportunities this year,” said ASAE President & CEO John Graham. “Everyone left inspired and ready to implement new strategies and ideas.”

Formats for Everyone

Since the ASAE event attracts a crowd with a myriad of skill levels, experience and agendas, conference organizers put together a schedule of educational sessions of all sizes and formats. The agenda included more than 120 sessions as well as more exotic sounding interactive gatherings, such as the OpenSpace pop-up meetings and sponsored Game Changer sessions. New this year were the Story Slams, which lasted all of 5 minutes each, and the popular 20-minute Express Learning Labs that provided crash courses on focused topics.

The arrangement gave ASAE attendees a high level of flexibility as well as some ideas attendees could bring to the educational formats of their own events. “We know that learning is social, and both formal and informal experiences are a critical part of a successful, self-directed program,” said ASAE Chief Learning Officer Rhonda Payne.

Learning also took place before the conference even opened. Five half-day and five full-day programs covered topics such as contract negotiations, workforce diversity, and preparing rising association stars to step into the CEO role.

Booth Bazaar

The pre-show sessions enabled attendees to keep their decks cleared during the show hours, which freed up more time to visit the exhibit floor. The high concentration of destinations among the 679 booths turned the show floor into a walkable coast-to-coast tour of the top meeting and trade show venues in the US and overseas. Along with sellers of technology and other products, there were 424 companies and venues represented on the show floor with a favorable ratio of 60% buyers to 40% sellers.

One notable vendor was TurnOut Now, which provided wearable Bluetooth beacons for attendees. The 21st Century tracking technology provided ASAE an effective data-capture tool that gave exhibitors a look at the traffic at their booths and the leads that were captured. Attendees were provided with a handy recap of which booths they visited and which sessions they attended in a format that could be shared with the supervisors and colleagues who weren’t fortunate enough to enjoy the trip to Salt Lake City.

The next ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition is August 12-15 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Reach John Graham at (202) 626-2741 or jgraham@asaecenter.org; Rhonda Payne at 202 326-9545 or rpayne@asaecenter.org